Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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Here are a few of my favorites!

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Timex Expedition Series

And now for something completely different!

I own a lot of watches, of all sorts, mostly antiques. I love them, but for everyday use around the house, travel and outdoor activities, I really need something else.

Around about 1992 or 3 I wanted to get a wristwatch that I could use for those outdoor activities and trips that I wouldn't have to worry about damaging. I selected a Timex Expedition model, a fairly no-frills quartz, with an alarm and the Indiglo back-light feature.

This watch proved to an extremely good choice!

I used this watch for years as an occasional daily wear, and hiking, camping, and travel. It got muddy, wet, dusty and banged around in all manner of ways. These things are built like tanks! There is hardly a mark on it. Its solid construction is really remarkable, and better in my opinion than other rugged watches costing significantly more money.

The strap completely wore out about 5 years ago. I managed to buy an original Timex replacement from a source that specializes in factory straps for older watches. And I don't think I have changed the battery more than three times. Also as an aside, at that time during my strap search I encountered this very watch listed on a website as vintage and "retro"! Now I know I'm old...

But anyway, the watch is very easy to use. The rotating bezel, for example, is the control for setting the alarm, and also doubles as a way to set the time. This nice design touch keeps the number of buttons down. And the backlight is just right for dark hotel rooms, and when camping.

When I grabbed the watch for a recent trip though, trouble. It was not working. There are problems with the buttons. I suspect the last time I used it, it may have gotten a little salt water in there (it doesn't take much!), and now the buttons randomly short and the battery was near death. Maybe there's even corrosion on the movement, I have not opened it to see.

What a shame...

Could I fix it? Maybe... But Timex Expedition series watches start on Amazon at about $35. So I picked out would seemed to be a rough equivalent in the current line up, and two days later, here it is!

The new version is also clearly very durable. It is mostly a dense plastic, not metal, but it does seem like it can take a beating.

The bezel is real. It rotates, both directions, which is nice too.

The watch is light, easy to read. I like the pale color of the dial. It also has that Timex Indiglo feature I like. The nylon strap is simple, but comfortable. For $35, this watch will definitely do the job when I don't want to wear a watch I'd worry about getting damp, dropped, run over bashed into something.

My only complaint (and it's a small one, remember, we're talking about $35) is that the watch is harder to use. It has four buttons, and a chronograph in addition to the alarm, so functionality is a bit crowded. But that's OK. I like the alarm, but rarely use a timer.

It won't win any style contests, but it is $35 well spent!

Speaking of everyday watches, the one I mostly use is also a bargain. I am of course, given a choice, a fan of automatics over quartz movements. So for a bit more than the Timex, you can pick up any of several styles of the Seiko 5.

These watches are a fantastic bargain! They feature a good quality automatic movement, most have display backs and Seiko's Hardlex crystals. Yet the Seiko 5 line costs a small fraction of what you'd expect to pay for a watch with those features.

Again, I have a small complaint... The crown on the basic models is a bit small making it tricky to use. But that's OK. Overall these are really good, solid, reliable automatics for the money. I even tuned mine up a bit and the accuracy is pretty respectable. And again, you don't have to worry about bashing it into a doorway or something.

Check out the whole Seiko 5 automatic line. There's something in every style, at a remarkable value price. It's easy to buy more than one, guilt free!

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