J.Crew just released their newest collaboration with Timex, the Andros. This classically styled diver is rocking a blue shaded face and bezel, quartz movement with day and date and a blue NATO strap. It is quite nicely styled, though its looks probably wont keep you up at night with watch fever. Actually, the best thing about it is that the lugs are sized, I am assuming, to fit the J.Crew straps. The J. Crew NATOs are some of the more interestingly styled NATOs on the market; unfortunately they only come in .75″ or about 18mm.
The most interesting thing about this creation, however, is that in my eyes it confirms the rise of the heritage diver. Many brands have created watches inspired by the original diver watches of the 50’s and 60’s, such as the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (one of the most gorgeous watches in existence, IMHO), the Rolex Submariner and the Longines Legend Diver to name a few. Brands such as RGM, Corvus, Breitling, Helson, Precista, Mk2 and Ocean7 all have their own version of the heritage diver, and that list keeps growing. When a company like J. Crew does it, which certainly is supported by extensive marketing research and focus groups, you can be sure that it is a real thing and that is either happening now, or about to take off.
That being said, the real audience for this watch is not a watch enthusiast, as is the case with all of the J. Crew x Timex’s, but rather a normal J. Crew shopper. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of their line and the wares they sell and I would prefer to see this watch on the wrist of a gentleman or lady leaving their shop in a new gingham and pair of Alden wingtips than some oversized Invicta monstrosity, but I don’t believe this is a great value. Timex’s are cheap watches, and I love them for that fact. I have a few and none cost over 35 bucks.
They look better than they should, are built moderately well, and if I break one doing something stupid, I wont feel too bad about it. Dropping $175 on a quartz Timex is like dropping 100 grand on a Kia…it just doesn’t click with me (not that I have a car, but you know what I am saying).
And to that end I have a recommendation for both the real watch nuts out there and those looking for something more substantial: the Seiko 5 SNZH53 (or any in that series). I personally own one of these and am planning a review in the weeks to come, but I can confidently say now that I give this watch my full support. At $165, give or take, this beautifully built and designed diver has a similar blue palette, a domed hardlex crystal, day/date function and is a 23 jewel automatic. Its styling has a certain intentional similarity to the Fifty Fathoms and as such has lent it a cult status amongst watch modders as the Seiko “FiftyFive Fathoms”. The other colors it comes in are gorgeous as well, namely the black and gold SNZH57 and the all black SNZH59. Wearing this watch is a true pleasure. It looks and feels like a much more expensive watch, is clearly very fashionable and is just unique enough to stand apart from the crowd. Plus, see what Monochrome has to say about the Seiko 5. The only problem with them is that they are a bit tricky to find. I got mine from Skywatches, a store based in Singapore.
Anyway, perhaps the Timex Andros is exactly what you were looking for, and if so I wish you well with your new diver. If you want to look deeper into the heritage diver genre, see above and keep your eyes open for what I am sure is going to be the new prolific trend (yes, this is really cocky, but I have a hunch so I am going with it). Regardless, I am sure that J. Crew and Timex are going to do very well with their new watch.
ps: stay tuned for that SNZH53 review