If one could set a dollar amount to looks and style alone, the Timex Expedition Military Field T498759J would be worth a heck of a lot of money. Not because it uses faux materials to appear as though it were a luxury watch, nor gadgets and gizmos to feign tech. It doesn’t even really reinvent or depart from the typical field watch symbol and layout vocabulary. What is does it much more simple and elegant…it just gets everything right with subtle twists. The case is classic, the dial is basic yet finessed enough to be interesting, the hands are standard shapes made unique and the strap pulls everything together to make a great watch out of the box…and, more to the point of the post, it costs a mere $45 dollars. If you have the watch bug, and I know you do if you are reading this, you’ll likely grab one just cause; I know I did.
At the core of the Timex Military Field’s (we need to invent a good nickname for this watch…) look is a monochromatic matte steel case and matching dial. The all steel coloring is quite striking though not ostentatious, as it is a steel grey, rather than silver. It’s just one of those cool things that makes you wonder why you don’t see it more often. How many new watches, especially ones of military origin, have the same black and white dial combination? Now, the dial itself is not made of steel, but rather plastics that perfectly match the blasted case. In fact, as is more-or-less standard on Timexes, the dial is still Indiglo enabled. On the main area of the dial are white numerals, marking minutes in 5-minute increments, as well as a white triangle at 60, and white rectangles per hour. All in all, quite a standard dial layout, but well executed.
The internal non-rotating bezel then gets a bit more interesting. This relatively thick ring slopes strongly towards the inner dial. Once again, it matches the matte steel color and has an index of white markings for the minutes/seconds. The most unique aesthetic feature of the bezel, and likely the watch as a whole, is that at the hour the bezel is cut straight through, revealing the marker on the dial underneath. This does a couple of interesting things: 1. It adds depth and texture to the otherwise flat surfaces. 2. It allows for the Indiglo to show through the slots, creating a dramatic and interesting look in the dark. Add to that the skeleton minute and hours hands, which are legible in light and awesome silhouettes in the dark. Not to forget the seconds hand, that oh-so-often boring stick clanking around dial, which is black with red tip and two small wings protruding off of it. Though it doesn’t come close to lining up to the seconds markers (the bane of the quartz) it looks great as it travels around.
The 42 x 11mm case hits that ideal size for the wrist. It’s light, since it’s quartz, and easy to wear all day. The watch comes on a 20mm green synthetic-canvas (nylon) 2-piece strap with leather backing and dark green stitching. This is the nicest strap I have seen on a watch that is under $50…and nicer still than many that cost more. The style is perfect for the Military Field, it adds a rugged vibe and supports the grey dial. It’s also decently comfortable, though the edges are a bit scratchy. Now, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t pop a NATO on it, so I threw on my cork leather strap from Panatime, which costs more than the watch itself, but, oh my, did that make this watch sing. The medium brown, which has a nice patina from my wearing it a lot, matches perfectly with the matte grey case, and the overall look just elevates it from a good cheap watch, to an eye-catching timepiece.
Clearly, I like this watch. I have a feeling it will be one of Timex’s cult hits, like the Camper That being said, mine arrived with a few issues. There is dirt on the dial at the 6th minute marker, and the date quick-set seems to be finicky…sometimes working, sometimes not. My experience with Timex leads to believe this is a fluke, but it is worth noting. Given the price, this is almost a no brainer as a spare watch, a hot weather watch or as a great gift for dudes young and old. And if the all steel look doesn’t work for you there is a brown version on a leather strap For my tastes, the grey is the clear winner, but the brown is not without its merits. I look forward to seeing what Timex comes out with in the next few years, clearly they have a design team that is paying close attention to what’s trending in fashion and on blogs.
by Zach Weiss