When we think of Timex, we usually think of the king of the American bargain bin. Timex is known for inexpensive "drugstore" watches sold in places like Walmart and Target. But they are good inexpensive watches, and because they are such a good value, we like Timex. Besides, any company that has put over a billion watches on wrists over the years deserves and gets our respect.
And now, with their new TX line of premium quartz watches, Timex deserve even more respect. The TX 730 Flyback Chronograph is a watch to stand against the canons of Asian elites like Seiko and Citizen. Like Ford beating Ferrari with the GT40 in the LeMans in 1966, Timex is showing the world that even a good old-fashioned American staple can rise to the occasion.
Features of the TX 730 include:
- PVD coated stainless steel case, and PVD coated bracelet with solid end links (SEL).
- 46mm case.
- German designed 6-hand quartz movement.
- Sapphire crystal.
- Analog time, retrograde GMT, retrograde chronograph, and compass.
- Date between the 2 and 3 o'clock positions.
- 100m water resistance (about 330 feet).
- Retail price of $550.
Case and Hands
Given the price point, the case is very good, and the finish is on par with the Seikos and Citizens that tend to dominate this price range. The crystal is flat and sits over an inky black dial with inlaid markers that are too small to glow brightly in low light. The hands are interesting, unique, and nicely fashioned, however they, too, do not glow as brightly as I would have liked. This is one area where TX has some room for improvement.
Outside of the lume issue, I really like what the TX 730 has to offer. The six-hand system displays standard time, GMT (on the 10 o'clock retrograde dial), a chronograph (which uses the pilot hand, and both retrograde dials), and an electronic compass (with magnetic declination compensation). In my mind, the compass is sort of in interesting bonus, and not something you'd expect on a watch like this, but for a flight oriented watch, it makes sense. The chronograph really stands out because it measures up to 4 hours, and if you've read my review of the Ocean7 G-2 Chronograph, you already know just how much I love chronographs that can measure in large increments.
Using retrograde dials allows for very simple reading of the chronograph as the four o'clock dial measures minutes, and the ten o'clock measures hours in ten minute sets. It's easy to use, and as the name suggests, it has a flyback feature that allows the chronograph to be instantly reset and restarted in a single motion. In other words, if you're measuring the finish times of a series of events, there is no lag in the timing as the chronograph can be instantly reset to zero after which it immediately begins counting again. Flyback chronographs are much more efficient complications than standard chronographs which require three separate button pushes to stop, reset, and start again.
The matching stainless steel PVD finished bracelet is very good, and uses solid end links (SELs) to attach to the case. The double locking deployment ("butterfly") clasp is strong and well made. The quality is comparable to what you might find in a good Tissot, Seiko, or Citizen. It is a thin and comfortable bracelet that is not noisy or distracting in any way, and it compliments the case handsomely. I consider this high praise since, unlike Christian, I tend to prefer watches on a good leather strap. I did test the TX 730 on some black leather, but I later reverted to the bracelet for both its comfort and the way it compliments the case.
The TX 730 Flyback comes in attractive packaging that bears no resemblance the spartan plastic boxes of Timex's more pedestrian products. The TX 730 comes bound in a curved, pillow-packed case that is nicer than any of the cases that I've seen recently from Seiko or Citizen. This is another area where TX has outperformed the competition.
Timex should be very proud of the new TX line. Like Ford and their GT40, TX is showing that there is no substitute for experience, and when push comes to shove, they can build a machine to compete with anything in its price range. If you are looking into a multifunction Citizen or Seiko chronographs, you owe it to yourself to consider the TX 730, as well.
By James Stacey