First Look: Timex Marlin Automatic

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Just out, the Timex Marlin Automatic continues the brand’s venture back into mechanical watches that started with the true-to-original Marlin released in the fall of 2017. Where last year’s 34-millimeter Marlin almost exactly imitated a back-catalog watch, the new 40-millimeter Marlin Automatic we have on hand is a whole new design that draws its inspiration from the same era.

The new Marlin Automatic next to the smaller 2017 Marlin.

The Marlin Automatic’s dial is about as straightforward as it gets, with simple applied baton markers, minimalist lume-filled hour and minute index hands, and a stick seconds hand. An unadorned outer minute track holds down the perimeter, and the dial’s text is kept to merely “Timex” and “Automatic.” Legibility is excellent, and the dial ends up being handsomely functional and decidedly conservative.

The set of four.

The date window at 3 o’clock is unoffensive enough, though the Marlin Automatic would likely look better without it. The date disc is white with black lettering on all four colorways, and though color-matched date discs are generally preferred, the Marlin Automatic’s work well on the black dial, pretty well on the gold tone and burgundy models, and not so well on the silver one where the white date disc outshines the dial itself. The lack of an aperture frame appears a little unfinished, but it also streamlines the dial.


While the Marlin Automatic isn’t huge, it is 13 millimeters thick, largely due to the tall mineral glass crystal. In profile, the way the case slopes up at the same angle as the crystal gives the watch a retro-futuristic, Space Age look. Lugs are small, understated, and slope down to lay level with the case back for a comfy fit. The unsigned crown is similarly unremarkable; that’s not a complaint in this context, however, as the crown is well proportioned while its anonymity is a nod to vintage Timex designs.

Each of the four colorways ship with a uniquely matched leather strap. The gold toned version gets a black strap for a rather dressy look, while the silver dial with lighter brown strap and the black dial with dark brown are more casual. Timex has paired the burgundy dial with a dark brown strap with ruddy stitching that completes this unique colorway (my personal favorite of the bunch).

The Miyota 8215 movement is reliable and—importantly for this $250-watch—affordable. The 8215 offers up 38-hours of power reserve, beats at 21,600 bph, employs 21 jewels, and, of course, winds automatically. The rear case window provides a view of the solid rotor, and while the movement isn’t exactly a wonder to behold, it plays nicely with the understated vibe here, just as the unsigned crown and classic lugs do.

The 8215 isn’t much of a looker, and a closed case back might have been a better option here.

As a vintage-inspired, affordable, dress-casual watch, the Marlin Automatic is going to vie with the Orient Bambino (with a 30% discount code) as a less expensive option, and with the slightly flashier Seiko Cocktail Time series as a more expensive option. The Marlin Automatic might beat out these other two watches if one is seeking a more conservative, quiet watch, or if one is simply drawn to the Timex brand—not uncommon as Timex has embedded itself deep into the hearts and minds of countless people over the decades.

On a 6.75-inch wrist . . .
. . . and on a 7.5-inch wrist.

And that nostalgic draw is, ultimately, the card Timex has been playing since last year’s 34-millimeter Marlin caused a mass swooning among watch-heads who love a great deal. For many of us, however, 34 millimeters was too small, even at such a low price. The Marlin Automatic is here to deliver similar goods with a more modern size, less specific aesthetics, and a price ($249) that’s likely going to help put more than a few of these Marlin’s inside wrapping paper this holiday season. Timex

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At age 7 Allen fell in love with a Timex boy's dive watch his parents gave him, and he's taken comfort in wearing a watch ever since. Allen is especially curious about digital technology having inspired a revival of analog technology, long-lasting handmade goods, and classic fashion. He lives in a one-room schoolhouse in The Hudson Valley with his partner and two orange cats.
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