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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if this should be under Vintage watches or Affordable watches...

I've heard that you can find some decent vintage mechanical Timexs on eBay for a good price. I looked a little myself and I saw they usually go around $20-$50. I'm just getting into watches so I don't know much, but I would love to expand my collection. What intrigues me about these watches is that from what I've heard they're pretty good, they're mechanical, they're very affordable, and I'm intrigued by the vintage aesthetic and history. I also don't have much to spend, so the idea of expanding my collection with another decent piece without spending much is very appealing. My question to you is basically any information you can give and/or lead me to about these, i.e what to look out for when buying one...or if they are even worth buying. Thanks.
 

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There are definitely people on this forum that collect vintage Timex, and I'm sure you'll get some good and specific advice. I think there are some solid Timex models that you can buy for very good prices.

My main concern about collecting "budget" watches like these is the question of servicing, past and future. While I think you can make a good argument that the watches are worth preserving, the economics of maintenance just don't add up, unless you are prepared to service them yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are definitely people on this forum that collect vintage Timex, and I'm sure you'll get some good and specific advice. I think there are some solid Timex models that you can buy for very good prices.

My main concern about collecting "budget" watches like these is the question of servicing, past and future. While I think you can make a good argument that the watches are worth preserving, the economics of maintenance just don't add up, unless you are prepared to service them yourself.
That's definitely something I thought of. Do these watches tend to be unreliable? I've only owned automatic Seikos before but I know those tend to be rather robust.
 

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Hi Joel, I've started out with Timex also since they are affordable, but I think I would just say to treat them like all watches you collect.. do a lot of searching and go after stuff you like. Once you have determined the type of style you want, try to find someone that sells Timex watches they have serviced on some level. Maybe not exactly overhauled, but buy from someone that has cleaned them up a bit, maybe buffed up the crystal or put a new one on, maybe oiled the movement and can state the watch is running good and keeping time. I would stay away from ones that need service. I'm not saying that they are not worth servicing, but there are enough folks out there that sell ones in good shape.

I think I would also stay away from early electric ones unless you really want a certain style like a back-set. Then again you would want to make sure the seller says it's running good.

Timex's appeal is that they made thousands of styles and sold millions of watches, so there are so many interesting ones to chose from. I personally collected the 21 jewel automatics (and manuals), and some of the back-set electrics. I liked the styles and the fonts they used on the dials. For example:

oldbackset2.jpg

21s.jpg

1964timex21.jpg

21manwind.jpg

1968timex21.jpg

These may never have any great value, but I enjoyed wearing them and still think a nice looking, good running watch will retain some value in the future.
Ron
 

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I recently began collecting vintage Timex as well. From my experience so far they are great watches that were built with durability in mind. Vintage models were made in multiple locations including the USA, Great Britian, France, and Germany. Maintainance on these are also extremely easy. Timex is a great beginners watch for those wanting to learn to do their own servicing. I would not hesitate to purchase.

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Except for the lowest quality examples, most mechanical watches are reliable if they have been maintained properly. I'm talking about the need for standard cleaning and lubrication on a regular basis, which is required for every mechanical watch. It just seems unlikely to me that most people are willing to spend 5x the value of the watch for a regular service, so these watches are probably often treated as disposable, and frankly I can understand this. If you're going to invest $100-$150 to service a vintage watch, it probably makes sense to make sure the watch is of sufficient value/quality to justify the investment.
 

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I am one of those Timex fans, maybe because it was one of the watches left to me, and Timex had a factory in the town I grew up in. What Dan said is correct in terms of maintainance and I would add that perhaps this brand will not appreciate much over time if that is a factor in collecting. But they do have some very nice, inexpensive ,durable pieces that I find very enjoyable. At the minimal cost of acquisition, if they fail, you can just get another or there are some cheap cleaning methods for Timex that I have read about but never tried. Sending some photos of mine that I think are most desirable. I might have paid $30 for the linen dialed Electric. This is one of the earliest back set electrics made in West Germany with 11 jewels. Many credit this watch with contributing to the demise of the poorly designed Hamilton Electric 500 movement. I have another of the same watch from a yard sale for $1. All the other watches shown I got from yard or estate sales for under $5. Even on eBay I have seen them go for under $20. If you are not hunting or can't afford the higher end Swiss or American, I think they are a steal.
 

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I am one of those Timex fans, maybe because it was one of the watches left to me, and Timex had a factory in the town I grew up in. What Dan said is correct in terms of maintainance and I would add that perhaps this brand will not appreciate much over time if that is a factor in collecting. But they do have some very nice, inexpensive ,durable pieces that I find very enjoyable. At the minimal cost of acquisition, if they fail, you can just get another or there are some cheap cleaning methods for Timex that I have read about but never tried.
Hi Joel, I've started out with Timex also since they are affordable, but I think I would just say to treat them like all watches you collect.. do a lot of searching and go after stuff you like. Once you have determined the type of style you want, try to find someone that sells Timex watches they have serviced on some level. Maybe not exactly overhauled, but buy from someone that has cleaned them up a bit, maybe buffed up the crystal or put a new one on, maybe oiled the movement and can state the watch is running good and keeping time. I would stay away from ones that need service. I'm not saying that they are not worth servicing, but there are enough folks out there that sell ones in good shape.
One of the things I really love about this Forum is hearing the variety of perspectives from different people engaging in this pastime.
 

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I was given some of these as a kid decades ago and they were very fragile watches and all broke under the use of an active kid.

Be very careful and buy only those you are sure actually work properly.

Also they have absolutely NO water resistance and will fog up on a humid day, nevermind a rainy day. Don't go near a bathroom or kitchen sink while wearing one.
 

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Respectfully, I'm not sure an 1950-1960s Elgin, Hamilton, Bulova would do any better either under use by an active kid or in the rain. Not my experience. In fact I think they take abuse better. And at the cost you can feel more free to take "liberties"
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Joel, I've started out with Timex also since they are affordable, but I think I would just say to treat them like all watches you collect.. do a lot of searching and go after stuff you like. Once you have determined the type of style you want, try to find someone that sells Timex watches they have serviced on some level. Maybe not exactly overhauled, but buy from someone that has cleaned them up a bit, maybe buffed up the crystal or put a new one on, maybe oiled the movement and can state the watch is running good and keeping time. I would stay away from ones that need service. I'm not saying that they are not worth servicing, but there are enough folks out there that sell ones in good shape.

I think I would also stay away from early electric ones unless you really want a certain style like a back-set. Then again you would want to make sure the seller says it's running good.

Timex's appeal is that they made thousands of styles and sold millions of watches, so there are so many interesting ones to chose from. I personally collected the 21 jewel automatics (and manuals), and some of the back-set electrics. I liked the styles and the fonts they used on the dials. For example:

[...]

These may never have any great value, but I enjoyed wearing them and still think a nice looking, good running watch will retain some value in the future.
Ron
I'm interested most in mechanicals and automatics, preferably with a white dial and minimalist appearance, somewhere around 35+mm, which I would love to put on a nice medium brown leather strap (NATO maybe?). The problem with eBay is sellers tend not to provide much information when it comes to owner history and past servicing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I recently began collecting vintage Timex as well. From my experience so far they are great watches that were built with durability in mind. Vintage models were made in multiple locations including the USA, Great Britian, France, and Germany. Maintainance on these are also extremely easy. Timex is a great beginners watch for those wanting to learn to do their own servicing. I would not hesitate to purchase.

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What does servicing usually involve? The complexity and number of moving parts in a mechanical movement scares me to even go near it.

Is there any way to find out where the watch was made? I know a lot of them have serial numbers underneath the 6-hour marker. Is there a minimum date I should look for? I know that Timex eventually moved their manufacturing elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Except for the lowest quality examples, most mechanical watches are reliable if they have been maintained properly. I'm talking about the need for standard cleaning and lubrication on a regular basis, which is required for every mechanical watch. It just seems unlikely to me that most people are willing to spend 5x the value of the watch for a regular service, so these watches are probably often treated as disposable, and frankly I can understand this. If you're going to invest $100-$150 to service a vintage watch, it probably makes sense to make sure the watch is of sufficient value/quality to justify the investment.
Definitely not looking to spend money on servicing. Would you consider it safe if the watch is advertised as well running? Sellers tend not to provide much information on service history, just current condition.
 

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JoelF,

To determine where a particular Timex was made you may need to look under the bad case of the watch. As for servicing, there are multiple guides on the internet as to what to do and how to do it. A good cleaning and lubrication would be a starting point for most vintage Timex. As to determine a the year of the Timex the numbers that appear on the face of the watch below the numeral 6 indicate the year. More specifically the last two numbers on the Timex are the year in which was made. As an example a watch ending in 7 4 would mean that the watch was made in 1974.

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Apologies, I am typing on my phone. I noticed that I said bad case of the watch. I meant to say under the back case of the watch. Hopefully your Timex has a good case and not a bad case.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
To determine where a particular Timex was made you may need to look under the [back] case of the watch. As for servicing, there are multiple guides on the internet as to what to do and how to do it. A good cleaning and lubrication would be a starting point for most vintage Timex.
I'll look into that. Thanks.

As to determine a the year of the Timex the numbers that appear on the face of the watch below the numeral 6 indicate the year. More specifically the last two numbers on the Timex are the year in which was made. As an example a watch ending in 7 4 would mean that the watch was made in 1974.
I did realize this. Is there a maximum date I should look for, to make sure it wasn't produced somewhere like China for example? (e.g. If Timex started outsourcing in '76 I would want to avoid watches past then)
 
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