I used to like expensive, heavy, analog steel chronographs. I liked the way they felt on my wrist. I liked their analog sweep-second stopwatch feature. I don’t own or wear any jewelry, so nice watches were my one indulgence. The fact that I have worked under contract to various expensive analog watchmakers (TAG Heuer, Tissot, Rolex, to name a few) meant I could wangle an occasional freebie.
The problem with those types of watches, even when you get them free, is twofold. Analog Swiss watches break. A lot. And every few years, such watches must be sent in for a cleaning / repressurizing. Maintenance often ran well over $300. Repairs sometimes twice that. The hefty repair bills pissed me off.
About 7 or 8 years ago, my interest in backcountry skiing led me to ditch expensive steel analog watches in favor of lightweight plastic watches featuring big numerals, an altimeter, and an electronic compass. I tried a bunch (at $50-$200 a pop, experimentation is cheap) and found my favorite models were mostly TIMEX. I’ve owned about a dozen TIMEX watches over the years. At $50-$100 per, when they get beat up, or they break, or the batteries die, or I get tired of it….I usually just chuck them in a trash can and buy a new one.
TIMEX also has a very, very good nationwide factory repair service. Send them your watch via post , along with a note as to what’s wrong with it, and they will fix it quickly and inexpensively. Repairs usually cost around $10 – $20. And they pay the postage both ways. If the watch is under their liberal warranty policy, they will fix it for free.
Recently I sent them two of my TIMEX Expedition watches, both of which were years out of warranty. One had a fading battery, the other was banged up and ratty, and needed a new band. After requesting a repair RMA, I was sent a label for free USPS shipping. I slipped them in the mail.
About a week later, I got an email:
“The watchband you requested is no longer offered in the color of your watch (yellow). We can install a black or a camo band. Please let us know your choice”.
I asked for a black band.
After another two weeks, a box arrived.
They’d replaced the battery in the first (gray/orange) watch and repressurized it. With the yellow watch, they removed the still-functioning innards, installed them in an entirely new case & band along with a new battery. In aircraft parlance, they zero-houred my three-year-old TIMEX WS4 Expedition watch. The crystal on the new case even had a sticker on it. The black watch is now essentially new.
The tab: $20. Total.
Great watches, easily sourced, easily and cheaply repaired, service way beyond expectations. Lots of reasons to love TIMEX.
Wander over to Walmart or click yourself to Amazon.com and treat yourself to a new TIMEX. You will not be disappointed.