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
looks really good, especially for a 45dollar watch! the brown looks good as well.
im not that familiar with timex, how does the indiglo work? do you push in the crown?
also, what’s the lug to lug measurement? ive got a 6.5 inch wrist, so id prefer not to the have the lugs too long.
The indiglo is activated by pushing in the crown. I’ll measure the watch later, unfortunately I am not near it right now, but the lug-to-lug is likely 50-52mm. It fits my 7″ wrist just fine.
I want to know lug to lug length, too.
Ok, you have won me. Very nice beater for the price and everyone should have at least one Timex in the collection. The Panatime strap makes it sooo much better.
At that price, w/ Indiglo? That’s a win! I’d wear that.
As an abbreviation – how about TiMiFi?
I like it!
What a tease when you show it with the brown Leather NATO. Good combo Zach!
I finally bought one of these. They are not “everywhere” at a reasonable price. They are not everywhere “period”… When they first came out, I bought one at Target. I took it back a few days after because I couldn’t justify yet “another time piece”… After reading this article I was convinced I needed it after all! I travel for a living and over the last few weeks have been to 4 different Targets. These bad boys were no where to be found anywhere. I bought one online, but there are not many places that sell them. I paid more for it that I did at Target, but not a huge difference. Worth it and lesson learned. This was a keeper! Glad to have it back!
I love this watch however my indiglo didn’t work from day1. I tested I store and by the time I got home it will not turn on again it does not feel like there is any spring or movement in the crown when I push it in all the way
I have the brown version of this watch. 2 things I noticed – it’s a loud ticker (typical of Timex, I know), and the crystal scratches easily. And I mean, accidentally rubbed it with my fingernail easy… I’m not sure if you guys have noticed that. In Canada these launched at a bit more than $75, but not they’ve settled into the $50 dollar range. A decent watch. Thankfully it has a 10-year battery.
I like this watch. Bought one on Amazon but it wasn’t keeping accurate time. Decided to send it back. But it sure is pretty and wicked light, the latter important as I wanted to use it as a beater for my work as a field ecologist, as well as for ski patrol (where we have to have analog watches with sweep second hands). Maybe it was just the one I had, but there were some reviews on Amazon stating the same issue with accuracy. Nice, aesthetic watch, nonetheless.
I didn’t think a quartz watch could have a sweep second hand.
They actually can, as is the case with the Bulova Precionist series. The tell-tale-tick of a quartz is a matter of conserving energy, apparently.
I owned one of these, and I found the lug length to be too long, longer than any of my other watches. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn’t fit and look right.
Is this a paid review? To gloss over a date change that only works intermittently and dirt on the dial (one wonders what else is inside) as “a fluke” is highly suspicious. I would argue that a watch with quality control so bad that it only works properly some of the time and has debris inside is not worth 45 cents, let alone $45.
saw your article and decided that i should have one of these. Then I saw one on sale at a nearby mall so I just had to grab it after buying three other watches this month. Now to find a cheaper alternative to the Panatime strap…
Thought of a better nickname.. The timex MilF.
I don’t own this model of citizen, but i have another Eco Drive titanium diver model from 1998. I can attest to its absolute indestructibility (well, the case and movement – bracelet pins are another issue). Eco Drive doesn’t get enough credit, in my opinion. 180 day power reserve for 10 minutes in any light source – what?
Check it out if you want a nice Mil-spec type comp! 2x more than the Timex, but still under a Benjamin. And I am willing to bet that no one will find any QC issues.
Also comes in a murdered out black on black on black version.
No I don’t work for Citizen – yes, I would love for them to read this and hook a $-strapped WIS up!
Just grabbed one of these on Amazon a couple days ago for $28.77. Arrived today. So far I like its look and feel. Strap is surprisingly nice with its “leather lining”.
One thing I immediately noticed is it is LOUD. Its ticking in a dead silent room is very noticeable. Like the wall clock in grade school pounding away during a test. But for $28 and a decent knock around watch for times I’m out in the woods for days on end, or other activity that could easily lead to damaging or losing a watch, this will be a nice one to wear.
hey zavk/w&w – which model panatime 20mm NATO strap did you use? they have a few similar ones
Hi Zach, I just bought one of these Timex Military Field watches. As of this writing, March of 2016, this version is discontinued from Timex. Some vendors still have new stock, albeit selling for $95. Do you still have yours? From a design and durability standpoint, has it stood the test of time?
This has been my go-to coaching/hiking/rough-housing weekend watch for years. Recently I looked down and the crown was completely missing. I assume it got caught on something and ripped clean off. I mailed the watch to TImex asking to have it fixed (this is a $40 watch remember), and they sent it back saying it can’t be fixed — along with a new watch and strap. They only requested I send $8 back to cover the shipping. Timex just made a customer for life.
I have the brown version, T49874. I absolutely love the rugged, retro appearance of this watch. As noted in a previous comment, this style appears to be out of production, but it can still be found new from eBay sellers for around thirty dollars (USD) as of January 2017.