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Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

Get ready for another well-priced watch that Timex will not be able to keep in stock. Riding on the success of the Q Timex watches (aBlogtoWatch review here), the Timex M79 Automatic ref. TW2U29500 takes the popular retro sports watch case and the dial of the retro-redo quartz watch, and makes something new that includes a mechanical movement. Did you catch that irony? A new mechanical watch design, based on a vintage quartz watch. The times we live in…

Price is also a factor that Timex can boast about. While not the cheapest mechanical watch around, for the money there is a huge appeal in this under $300 drive-style watch that imagines itself as the Rolex GMT-Master II Batman of yesterday (not that there was one). The Timex M79 Automatic is a product borne of today’s watch collector culture, for today’s watch collector culture. The combination of features in this timepiece is like an assortment of timepiece enthusiast memes on social media. Vintage dive-style watch? Check. Inexpensive mechanical automatic? Check. Rolex inspired looks? Double-check. Steel case with integrated lugs and tapering bracelet? Check.

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

While the Q Timex case was 38mm-wide, the M79 Automatic goes up to a slightly more today-appropriate 40mm-wide in steel. The case design still looks great and, to be honest, with the thickness of the movement there is no way anyone would have wanted this watch to be narrower, else it look disproportionate.

Love it or hate it, over the dial is an acrylic crystal — which adds to the vintage aesthetic (even though Timex is very clear the M79 Automatic is an original, modern design). The case has just 50 meters of water resistant, but no one was really confusing this for a serious diver’s watch. For daily wear and durability, 50 meters is just fine.

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

The dial design is attractive with good use of colors and textures. The Timex “T” that sits in the hour hand reminds you that Rolex hands are meaningfully distinct. The calendar windows even use matching black discs rather than harshly contrasting white ones. This is a really nice touch at this price point. I would, however, have liked to see the M79 automatic reference TW2U29500 pair a blue-colored (even a lighter shade of blue) seconds hand (versus red) given the blue and black colors on the unidirectional rotating bezel (aluminum bezel insert). With the red hand, I can’t help but feel that Timex unnecessarily added a color to the mix. Watches can struggle when they try to make use of more than three colors on the dial. That said, the four-color design on the M79 Automatic does offer a pleasant sportiness to it which I think enough people will enjoy.

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

Inside the Timex M79 Automatic is a Japanese Miyota day/date automatic movement that operates at 3Hz with about 40 hours of power reserve. The un-decorated, un-regulated movement can be viewed through the rear of the watch, a nice touch (again) at this price point. Timex says that the M79 name means “M” for “mechanical,” and “79” for “1979. That is the inspiration year of the watch according to them, which is the year the re-issue Q Timex originally came out. The logic is a bit wonky because of the mechanical movement used to celebrate a quartz watch collection — but it hardly matters when the resulting product looks this nice and costs so little.

Timex M79 Automatic Watch Hands-On: Retro Looks, Budget Price Hands-On

Timepiece collectors and fans seeking a neat-looking retro-styled yet modern sports watch with a very fair price will, again, flock to Timex. The M79 Automatic reference TW2U29500 is likely the first of several such watches and has a retail price of $279 USD. See more at the Timex website here.

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  • What fresh hell is this?

    How far does it project a 40mm grenade?

    • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

      I am waiting for the updated Timex M203.

      • What fresh hell is this?

        Is that like the Sinn/Apple Watch thing?

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    Really like the watch except for the movement. (no surprise) Love the “T” hour hand.
    “Drive-style” & “The dial design is attractive with good use of colors and textures” I missed the colors and textures?

  • Jerry Davis

    38mm… perfect size for my wife.

    • sebas

      It’s 40mm.

  • Calatrava

    Indiglo… ?

  • JosephWelke

    Nice watch, I appreciate the low price point. My only wish is that Timex would have given it a 12-hour bezel instead of the one it has. Might have caught flak for it, though.

  • Frank n Stein

    Hacking and hand winding?

    • DanW94

      I believe it’s the 8 series Miyota movement so I think it can be hand wound but it doesn’t hack.

  • SuperStrapper


  • kosti narain of the best Timex’s

  • Ugo

    can somebody do me the favour of explaining what is the meaning or the functionality of a batman bezel like that in a watch which is not a gmt?

    • David Williams

      I suggest that it obeys one of the most honorable of design imperatives – it makes people SMILE!

      • Ugo

        and wouldn’t it be possible to smile with something that is actually useful?
        i mean, the skx009 shouldn’t have died in vain…

        (by the way: best characteristic of this timex is by far its bracelet…)

        • WINKS

          …if it doesn’t depilate your wrist.

    • mcmeador

      Yeah, that irks me too. Attractive watch, but I prefer my design to be based in functionality. It’s like having a hood scoop on a car with no hole in the hood.

      • Laterz

        Like the ’98 Subaru Outback I had.

  • Mark B

    “Rolex inspired looks? Double-check.”

    Nope, single check. Bezel is Rolex. Case is AP.

  • Independent_George

    I like the quartz Falcon and Pepsi much better. Partly because of bolder colorways, partly because they were much thinner. This is thicker, and the additional thickness doesn’t flatter the bracelet or overall design. The colorways seem to be purposefully dull, as if to say “This watch is for the man who finds khaki Dockers the extent of their fashion sense.” The Q- series quartz throwbacks revelled in their retro charm. This watch is like the middle-aged couple in ill-fitting trendy thrift-store clothes crashing the dance floor.

  • Larry Holmack

    If I was 12 years old…a 38 mm watch would have looked fine….but I have a 23 cm wrist….no way this looks like anything but a 12 year olds watch on my wrist. I’ll stick to their larger digital watches..

  • AlbieC

    Goofy cool, marking off all the collector checkboxes… mine too… nicely designed dial… day/date window well placed (thank you!!!) and color integrated. Hands look well-proportioned and of the proper length… and a display back! Well done, Timex! ?

  • Tony NW

    It’s cool. But after my Seiko Cocktail, never again an acrylic crystal.

  • Craig A Clark

    Nice, for the cash it’s a decent piece. I’d want 42mm though so not for me, but that’s a personal choice, not an issue with the watch reasonably.

  • Max Attack

    I wonder if the bracelet is a hair puller

  • BobaFuct

    Ditch the exhibition caseback and throw a sapphire crystal on up front instead.

    • NaJo

      And add $100

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    Hot, meet Cookies…

  • Tommer

    This watch is awesome. My daughter wears the Timex Q Pepsi as her daily wearer (she’s a 5th grader)… and sometimes I borrow it from her. Perhaps this will be a future birthday present if I can get my hands on one. Good work, Timex.

  • egznyc

    Nice enough looks but geez, it’s only 50m WR despite the diver looks (well there is the faux-GMT thing too, so what the hell, right?). Good looking on the dial side, but I wouldn’t be happy with the crappy movement. No hacking?!? Oh well, none of that “synchronize your watches …”

  • NaJo

    Watches is one field where pepsi beats coke hands down..haha..You cant get hands on a rolly polly eventhough ypu have 10 grand ro burn, why not just enjoy the pepai bezel feel for $200? This timex will be guaranteed sold out throughout the year…A very good move by timex, still a bit sloppy in showing us the filthy unfinished mvmt when theres no reason doing that!

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    There is some misconception that this is a 38mm watch. It has a 40mm case.

  • eljefe54


  • Steve W

    It’s a 40mm case, but the dial is the same size as the 38mm Pepsi Q. Only the bezel is bigger. I can’t unsee it. Another pass.

  • all74

    Timex needs to fish or cut bait. Either stay in the sub-$200 space, where it’s expected to just be a fashion watch or a digital beater, or get it together and put together a better product. If Tisell can sell a 40-mm, 200m diver with a sapphire crystal and a better movement and still make a profit surely Timex should be able to do that (or better). Orient certainly does.

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