Second Looks are opportunities to revisit watches that have been available for a while – many years, even – and give them fresh consideration after the novelty and marketing hype have passed.
Diameter: 38 mm
Thickness: 11.5 mm
Movement: PC33 Quartz
Water Resistance: 5 Bar
Case Material: Stainless Steel
“Say it ain’t so. What is happening?” This was going on in my head as I searched eBay in May of 2019 for a Timex Q Reissue. Timex had just released the Q Reissue and social media was flooded with wrist shots and flatlays of Timex’s latest dive into their back catalog.
What I saw shocked me. I was reminded of the hype around the Timex Marlin reissue after its initial release in 2017. This Q hype was different. This was a feeding frenzy. The Q Timex reissue was selling on the secondary market for 2-3x the MSRP price of $179 USD. What’s the big deal?
Timex claims that the Q is “almost” a 1:1 reboot of the original. Almost being the keyword because a claim of being a true “1:1” is a hot spot for the horologically inclined. What you do get is a very flat 38mm stainless steel case. Key features are the hooded lugs and high polish. The exception to the polishing can be found on the horizontally-brushed lugs.
A lug-to-lug measurement of 43.3mm makes the Q Timex wearable for tweens, teens, men, women, and just any other identity you care to box in. It’s easy to stuff the Q under a sleeve or glove thanks to the 11.5mm height. The acrylic crystal has just enough dome to distort the indices at a sub-45º angle. There is a cheap-looking back plastic ring between the bezel and the case. It’s fine, no one will notice.
I found the caseback to be very interesting for the ability to change a battery using a coin as a tool. Besides being functional, it’s a slick design. The caseback of a watch is traditionally one of the few places that artistic liberties can be expressed. What was expressed here to the consumer was, “Assembled in China” with a sticker. It echoed what we all know. Sometimes we just want to stay ignorant of China’s role, if only because of the mostly unfounded stereotypes of unfair labor practices that are often associated with Asian manufacturing. The realization made me respect Timex’s unpopular “American Documents” line all the more. I can’t help but think; what if the Q had been the American Docu…?
It’s hard to beat the Q Timex’s function. It’s an accurate and reliable Seiko quartz movement. The PC33 movement has both a date and day function and is nothing special. When I travel it’s usually a two-time zone difference. A twelve-hour multi-directional bezel works just fine for those instances. Just be careful as its a pressure-bezel and can rotate by accident on a tight shirt cuff. Luckily, it’s not a dive watch and the extra bit of unwanted rotation won’t kill you.
What will kill the Q Timex Reissue, however, is water. Don’t plan on traveling with it as your only watch if you plan on taking it into the pool or to the beach. The Q’s water resistance rating of 50m doesn’t give me confidence.
The big splash at the initial release was the “Pepsi” (blue and red bezel insert). Another “Pepsi” watch. The top half of the bezel (9 through 3) is blue and the bottom half is red. The model that I reviewed was black and red and is commonly referred to as “Coke”. There is a third Rolex GMT Master with a black bezel.
Both the Pepsi and Coke nicknames originated with the Rolex GMT Master featuring a twenty-four-hour multi-colored bezel, and the color difference functions as an AM/PM indicator. On a 12-hour bezel like the Q’s, the colors serve no purpose, and may even be confusing. A single-colored bezel insert would have been more appropriate. The bi-colored bezel on the Q thus prizes form over function.
Despite the split bezel colors being functionally inept, Timex offers the Q Reissue in more than ten colorways and configurations. The Q Reissue family includes a gold-colored expansion bracelet, a diver’s automatic (M79), and a limited edition Q from HODINKEE. The sheer variety of iterations speaks to the popularity and success of the Q as well as the scale of Timex’s manufacturing capabilities.
Although I’m reviewing the reference W2U61300ZV (Steel/Black/Red), the Q that I would choose would be the Steel/White/Red/Blue (ref. TW2U61200ZV). It seems the most fun of the lot and Timex made a great decision to outline the fauxtina plots with a sharp black outline. HODINKEE’s choice of off-white plots on a white dial left the worst to our imaginations. Thanks to Allen, I can’t unsee it.
It’s a love/hate relationship for me in terms of the Timex Q’s steel bracelet. I remember people gushing over the Q’s bracelet about how cool and retro it is. My expectation from mass-produced watch bracelets at this price point is nothing better than soldered paperclips. While that still rings true for the Q, it’s secure enough for what it is.
I let a few people borrow the Q and many of them indicated that the bracelet pinched their arm hair. I didn’t have the arm hair issues, but I was annoyed by the sharp edges of each link. It’s easy to see why so many have ditched the seven-link woven steel bracelet for the 1:1 fitting three-link bracelet from the Casio A158WA-1. Don’t expect Rolex Oyster quality post bracelet swap, but nevertheless, there are options out there.
I love long and skinny presentation boxes, especially with watches in the nostalgic homage territory. Those boxes seem less wasteful, even though they aren’t. In the case of the Q Timex Reissue, the box reminded me of a dark ebony coffin with soft white pillows. As I paid my respects, Timex summed up the Q reissue nicely on the inside of the lid.
First released in the 1970s, our original Q Timex gave a new generation a modern watch with quartz technology. A natural evolution of our much-loved Q Timex 1979 Reissue, this adds bright pops of color to the iconic features of the original – a rotating bezel, woven stainless steel bracelet, functional battery hatch, and domed acrylic crystal.
It would be remiss not to call the Q Timex Reissue an overwhelming success. I don’t think that would describe my personal impression, but I do think that the Q is a good fit for many others. Timex has only recently started to make a strong push into the enthusiast space. I’ve seen the Q discounted by retailers to $115 putting the accessibility to style ratio off the charts. Now in plentiful supply, I’d expect the Q Timex Reissue to make its way onto the wrists of just about every demographic you can imagine.
What a power play. How Timex of Timex.