Timex’s Giorgio Galli on the New, Smaller, S1

Giorgio Galli has spent a lifetime in the watch industry, but he’s only now beginning to gain some name recognition among value driven watch collectors and enthusiasts. As the Chief Creative Director for Timex Group, Galli’s imprint is all over the company, and has been for many years, so the introduction of a watch bearing his name in late 2019 wasn’t exactly an enormous surprise. The Giorgio Galli S1 was an immediate hit, and challenged the very idea of what “Timex” means for the average watch consumer. 

Now available in a smaller 38mm size, the S1 is a full fledged product line under the expansive Timex umbrella. It’s unusual case construction is unique in the Timex family – the watch, at a glance, has more in common aesthetically with some haute horlogerie pieces that sell for many multiple times the sub $500 list price of the S1. And yet, it comes from the same designer who oversees the Weekender, and the Q, and the Standard, and many more Timex products that are perhaps more familiar, and less challenging. 


The 38mm version of the S1 wears like a dream, and as you can see in these photos, has a complexity to the design that becomes more rewarding with closer attention. That in itself is rare in watches under $1,000 – usually imperfections are easy to spot with the naked eye. But the industrial style finishing on the S1’s injection molded case has been well thought through, and there’s a specificity and deliberate quality to the entire package that is immediately apparent.

We had a chance to ask Giorgio Galli some questions about this watch shortly after its release at the end of last year, and his responses reveal that that attention to detail was core to the vision of the watch itself, and that there’s more to come in the S1 range in the future.

Can you tell me a little about the design inspiration for the S1? 

The challenge was born from day one, when the Timex CEO asked me to create “the most Timex,  Timex ever made.”

So I created  the first S1 in 2019, a watch that combines my vision for the brand: timeless, lasting over the time and trends.

The S1 is a result of many experiences accumulated over 35 years of watch design. After a lifelong experience in creating small details, inventing new features and living in the watch industry, I concentrated on characteristics that I Iike most in watch design, and those that define me most as a designer: simplicity, clear and sober design, great details.

The new S1 is in a smaller size than previous versions – were there any design challenges inherent in reducing the case size and maintaining the look, feel, and proportions of the original? 

The main challenge was to maintain the proportions and to keep all the nice little details intact. Any millimeter difference is a huge difference in our watch world. So because of the new size, I’ve had to make some changes to the dial area, in addition to a different construction including a double domed sapphire crystal. 

The crystal has anti reflective coating on both sides, which provides the best performance in every light condition. I think the new S138  is faithful to the first generation of S1 and carries through the same important values. 

The S138 comes in three new great colors (Atlantic Blue, Iceland Stone Gray, Inverness Green), and the color choices follow the spirit of the watch’s characteristics. They are sober and chic, yet they add a touch of color to the collection which I really like. 

Where do you see the S1 going in the future? Do you see an opportunity for new materials, movements, and case shapes? 

The S1 is going to represent a new segment in the Timex product assortment. It is independent from any rule of marketing and market needs. I am free to explore. That gives me many amazing and exciting opportunities. But to answer your question, I am looking into new movements and materials. The S1 will evolve – we want our customers, current and new, to be surprised and spoiled. 

The injection molded case is very uncommon at this affordable price point – what were some of the challenges you faced in using this technique while achieving a level of quality that you were satisfied with? 

One of the main features of the case is the cut-out side profile, but given the detail it was very difficult to replicate it with CNC machinery accurately. Therefore we decided to use injection molding to produce the case and then refine it with brushed finishing in separate areas.

As the Creative Director at Timex, your portfolio is large with a lot of variety. Do you think about each Timex watch as part of a larger collection that needs to cohere somehow with everything else in the catalog, or do you want individual Timex designs to stand on their own? Do you see Timex as having its own house design language, and if so, how would you describe it?

We do have a large portfolio of watches in different price points and segments that are quite distinctive on their own, and well known for that.

The Waterbury collection, for example, was created to enhance the tradition and heritage of watchmaking at Timex. Then we have the extremely successful Q family of products, but also The Standard, and many more. We just added a new family of outdoor watches under the name of Expedition North, which will be the new pinnacle in terms of quality and execution, using the best quality materials and case construction, such as 316L stainless steel, sapphire glass crystals, screw down crowns, and details typically found on higher end watches.

Still, with such a big line of products and product families, I think we still have a distinct identity to preserve and evolve. That is the challenge that I am facing the most as creative director. Timex

*Answers have been edited for length and clarity

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.