Timex sells millions of cheap Chinese watches. Of course they do. China’s labor costs are a fraction of America’s. Timex competes on price. Do the math. But don’t buy the watches. China’s Communist dictators have imprisoned over a million people in “re-education” camps. The Party “harvests” organs from political dissidents, pocketing over $2b per year. But do buy the Timex American Documents watch . . .
Set aside the whole “buy American” thing for a bit. The American Documents deserves your dollars by dint of its design. The three-handed timepiece evokes the “just the facts M’am” ethos of Timex’s legendary 1950’s V-Conic – the world’s first high-quality, mass-produced wristwatch. The latter day American Documents goes one better – it’s an everyday timepiece with a dress watch vibe.
Fashioned from high-polished stainless steel, the Documents’ Dauphine-style hour and minute hands point to pin-striped indices. Bi-national typography stacked at the top of the dial balances the second hands sub-dial, slightly sunken into the face, perched above W. 1854 (Timex was born in Waterbury in 1854). A right-sized date window at three o’clock completes an elegant, perfectly proportioned face.
The American Documents’ stainless steel top ring both confines and defines the piece. Circumnavigating a not insubstantial 41mm brushed satin steel case, the ring’s high polished patina matches the hour and minute hands. The two-tone effect – case and ring – is as clean and modern as a Sub-Zero refrigerator. It’s best admired from above, clocking the satin lugs reaching out and down to the strap.
There’s a lot of strap. My 7″ wrist is comfortable with the stitched, two-layer leather strap affixed to the second adjustment hole, leaving two tighter settings and six larger. That’s a shame. My ex expropriated the American Documents for her daily horology, raising the horrifying prospect of trimming S.B. Foot Tanning‘s baby’s bottom-soft handiwork. Made in Minnesota, no less.
Flipping the Timex American Documents over, there’s no mistaking the watch’s patriotic pitch.
A Timex-emblazoned U.S. map proclaims the timepiece’s bloodline. (Alaska and Hawaii get a shout-out on the strap.) The logo’s made of aged Waterbury brass, colored-matched to Timex of yore, hand polished to a golden glow. The typography hammers home the Made in America message, reminding owners of its connection to the Land of the Free in three separate places.
The American Documents’ dial and caseback also promote its Swiss bits. Timex’s website says they chose the quartz Ronda caliber 6004.D because “there are no watch movements made with American parts that meet our standard yet.” That’s sad, and maybe even true. Meanwhile, the Document’s Euro-engine is robust, accurate enough and easily re-energized. And it’s not Chinese.
A fact that makes for a $495 watch. That’s plenty pricey for a quartz Timex. Is the American Documents worth the “made in America” premium? That depends on two things. Do you want to support the return of American watchmaking with your hard-earned money? Do you share my infatuation with the American Documents’ handsome design?
Before you answer, know this: the Document’s bronze crown insert fell off the watch and disappeared. After a 14-minute hold, Timex’s Filipino cutomer service rep promised to email a pre-paid return label. Two weels later, wala (nothing). Does that help or hurt the case for the American Documents’? Not to coin a phrase, we report, you decide.
Timex American Documents
$495 (click here to buy, no commission paid)
Case Width: 41mm
Case Height: 10mm
Case Material: Brushed/polished stainless steel
Dial Color: Ivory White (also available in black, dark grey and dark blue)
Watch Movement: Quartz, Ronda caliber 6004.D
Water Resistance: 30m
Strap: Black, hand sewn with stainless steel buckle
Strap and Lug Width: 20mm
Weight: 2.0 ounces (56.7 grams)
RATINGS (out of five stars)
Design * * * * *
The Timex American Documents is an everyday timekeeper with a dress watch vibe. It’s a classic design perfectly executed.
Legibility * * * *
Simplicity and perfect proportions deliver at-a-glance legibility. Star deducted for lack of lume.
Tactility * * * *
The Document’s satin finish and high polish steel and butter soft leather strap make it a delight to have and to hold, from this day forth.
Comfort * * * * *
The lugs drop precipitously from the case, helping to keep the 41mm quartz watch comfortably positioned on an average wrist.
Overall * * * *
Patriotism isn’t dead – even at an American watchmaker whose survival depends on cheap Chinese labor. A good thing too. The mostly American, part-Swiss American Documents is handsome in all respects. Star deducted for crown insert failure and lousy customer service.