September 16, 2021
The process of gem-encrusting or “icing out” a timepiece has moved from the aftermarket to regular production for many brands over the past several years, but despite its growing popularity, the jewel-studded look has remained firmly at the upper end of the market. The reasons for this are obvious, with the sheer value of the gemstones involved coupled with the delicate and labor-intensive process of setting each stone into a watch’s case, bracelet, or dial leading to a usually hefty price tag. This expectation of cost is what makes Timex’s latest pair of limited edition releases so striking. Developed in conjunction with fashion brand Judith Lieber Couture, these two new models manage to bring the color and flash of rainbow gem-set timepieces down to the entry-level market. Bright, playful, and defiantly dedicated to fun above all else, the limited edition Timex x Judith Lieber Q Timex and Timex x Judith Lieber T80 are openly not for everyone’s tastes but offer some of the boldest and most striking looks ever put forward by the brand.
Right off the bat, the cases of the Timex x Judith Lieber Q Timex and the Timex x Judith Lieber T80 set themselves apart from both their standard production counterparts and the rest of the current gem-set watch market. Of course, given Timex’s position in the market, these models are never going to compete directly with the materials, techniques, and invisible settings of gem-set designs from the likes of Hublot, but Timex’s more down-to-earth approach brings its own playful charm to the subject. Rather than the mix of invisibly set diamonds and precious stones usually seen in ultra-luxe gem-set designs, both models instead use a mix of clear and colored Swarovski crystals, with exposed settings across the flat planes of the case designs. The 38mm stainless steel case of the Timex x Judith Lieber Q Timex takes the cleaner and more visually bold approach of the pair, coating the familiar angular integrated-bracelet form in 182 clear Swarovski crystals. The standard Q Timex’s rotating coin-edge bezel is gone, in favor of a fixed bezel with 57 baguette-cut Swarovski crystals in a full rainbow spectrum. These larger colorful stones frame the dial strongly in initial images, and firmly establish themselves as the focal point of the entire case design. The 35mm rose gold-tone Timex x Judith Lieber T80, by contrast, offers a more muted and complex appearance. Like the Q Timex, the flat areas atop the lugs, over the inner bezel, and along the case sides of the T80 are decorated with 186 clear round-cut Swarovski crystals, but the octagonal polished outer bezel here draws far less attention than its stablemate in images. Most of this comes down to the decision to use a smaller round cut for the 64 rainbow crystals fitted here, which blend into the backdrop more than the larger crystals on the Q Timex. Outside of the cosmetic differences, the cases of both models are functionally identical to their regular production counterparts, with the Q Timex and T80 both offering mediocre water resistance ratings of 50 meters.
While the classic black-on-white LCD digital dial of the Timex x Judith Lieber T80 is identical to the standard model, the Timex x Judith Lieber Q Timex uses its dial space to continue the fully crystal-encrusted look of the case and bracelet. This starts with 193 clear Swarovski crystals in a circular pattern radiating out from the center of the dial, covering everything except the raised logo plates at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock. Timex then tops this with 12 large colored rectangular crystals for hour indices, creating a rainbow spectrum that mimics the pattern of the bezel. However, in initial images, this match-up isn’t quite perfect, as for example the 6 o’clock index in blue lines up with a green crystal on the bezel. In addition, Timex’s decision to use a polished lollipop handset against the polished steel and crystal backdrop may very well lead to difficult legibility. Outside of these potential issues, however, this new dial design should offer a dazzling spectacle for wearers.
Both the Timex x Judith Lieber Q Timex and the Timex x Judith Lieber T80 are powered by in-house quartz movements. While the Q Timex’s movement is a time-only arrangement, the movement inside the T80 offers a comprehensive suite of complications including a daily alarm, Indiglo push-button dial lighting, a 1/100 second chronograph, and a perpetual calendar. Timex finishes both models with wide single-link bracelets featuring hidden butterfly-style clasps. Both models’ bracelets are fully encrusted with Swarovski crystals to complete the gem-set look, and each subsequent bracelet link uses crystals in a different color to create a full rainbow spectrum sequence around the wearer’s wrist. For the Q Timex, this rainbow effect bracelet takes an additional 586 crystals, while the T80’s bracelet uses slightly more at 604. In total, both models shine with over 900 crystals each, with the T80 totaling 904 and the Q Timex displaying even more at 1,030.
While far from the most opulent or refined rainbow gem-set watches on the current market, Timex’s efforts to bring this spectacular style to the more affordable side of the watch market with the limited edition Timex x Judith Lieber Q Timex and Timex x Judith Lieber T80 offer a sparkling and playfully loud charisma all their own. Only 200 examples of each model will be made. The Timex x Judith Lieber Q Timex and Timex x Judith Lieber T80 are available now through select Timex authorized dealers, with MSRPs of $1,200 and $1,000, respectively. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.