Spring of 2019 feels like a lifetime ago. A more optimistic time, in many respects, and one that saw the release of the Timex Q make waves wherever watch media and collectors congregated. Back in those days you could still physically congregate, if memory serves me. The Q was loaded with the same old world charm as its namesake from 1979. Additional colorways were inevitable, as was the eventual inclusion of an automatic movement. More than a year’s worth of expansion later, and here we are with an all black version of the Timex Q with an automatic movement, the Timex M79. It’s come a long way, but has it lost the panache of the original in the process?
Hands On With the Timex M79 Black
The M79 has 2 variants to its name, the black model seen here, and one featuring a split tone bezel with black on top and blue on the bottom (insert Batman reference here). Collectively the two automatic variants represent a far more sober take on the lighthearted Q designs we’ve seen released. The black example feels like a watch that’s meant to be worn day in day out with something like a suit, or whatever it is people get dressed up in these days. But, this isn’t really a dress watch. The large bezel, circular hour markers, and Sub style hands make this watch read more like a dive watch. Timex is careful to steer clear of any language that would suggest this as a dive watch, however – and the 50m water resistance and pull out crown don’t help its case. But there is clear dive watch inspiration at work here, for better or worse.
The steel case of the M79 measures 40mm in diameter by 14.4mm thick with a 46mm tip to tip measurement. The case thickness is the only hurdle there, and it certainly feels thicker on the wrist than it should be, but the domed crystal takes up a portion of that measurement, and the midsection of the case does an adequate job of hiding the bump out underneath holding the movement. There are no lugs present on the M79, rather, there is a steeply banked surface that hides two lug-like elements underneath, to which the bracelet is affixed. The surface of the lug wall is brushed horizontally, and becomes a focal point of the case as whole, not to mention lends a good bit of personality to the “funky” vibe of the whole watch. In the Q models, this style is accentuated with more playful color schemes, which are toned way down in this packaging making it potentially a more palatable day to day wearer.
It’s worth noting here that the Q models, thanks to their quartz movements, measure 38mm in diameter, and just over 11mm in case thickness, shaving off a full 2mm and 3mm respectively from the overall heft. The M79 is still quite wearable, but the slim fit of the Q lends itself to the fun and approachable personality of the watches overall. The M79, in that regard, takes itself a bit more seriously. The colors are toned down, and you get a prominent “automatic” written at the bottom of the dial, giving a serious tone for what is clearly meant to be a more serious watch.
That automatic movement is a Miyota 8205, which is visible through the case back. It’s not the prettiest movement you’ll ever lay eyes on, but at this price point, showing the movement is something of a badge of honor. It offers ~40 hours of reserve and should keep you within 20 seconds or so a day. One benefit it does provide is a day and date complication, which is placed at 3 o’clock on the dial. These are adjusted at the first stop of the crown, which adjusts the date in one direction, and the day in the other.
Time is read via a pencil minute hand and “T” shaped hour hand reminiscent of the Mercedes hand you’d see on a Rolex. Each is filled with yellow lume that pairs with the circular hour plots around the dial also filled with yellow lume. These elements sit atop a matte black dial, and together are meant to evoke an aged dial experience. Just how successful they are is up for debate, but there is one point of contrast and that is the red seconds hand. With no other red to be found on the dial it feels a little out of place, but it’s a welcome note against an otherwise straightforward design.
The bracelet is steel and fits comfortably around the wrist thanks to the many narrow links that evoke the ‘70s design inspiration. A small clasp keeps it on the wrist, which can require a bit of fiddling to secure, but overall this is a great bracelet that rounds out the personality of the watch as a whole.
The M79 is still a very fun watch that remains accessible. The automatic movement presents a $100 leap in price from the quartz powered Q watches, which still keeps it under $300 at $279. This puts it squarely in the realm of the Dan Henry’s and Spinnaker’s of the world, and the Timex branding may help or hurt its image to potential buyers, but with the watches they’ve been rolling out lately we’d land on the positive side of that. More from Timex.