The Timex Easy Reader asks a question: do you remember your first watch? Not the first good one, nor the first one you bought. Your first ever timepiece. I was around seven years old. It was a little silver-colored case analog with a white dial and a black “genuine leather” band. A gift from my grandmother. It wasn’t heirloom quality, and almost certainly bought from a department store . . .
For our younger readers, a department store is a large building selling myriad goods, sectioned into different departments (hence the name). “Anchor stores” terminating the mall’s wings are almost always department stores.
Pre-internet, this was where people bought an affordable entry-to-middling quality watch, especially if they were too practical, intimidated or impoverished to darken the doors of a jewelry store.
If you need a simple affordable watch that takes you back to childhood, if you want to see the timepiece before you buy it, mask-up and head to a J.C. Penney while you still can. [ED: check online for availability first.] Seek out a Timex Easy Reader.
The Timex Easy Reader has only been around since 1977, but they’re so timelessly nondescript it’s hard to imagine a time before they existed. Strikingly similar to a schoolroom clock, the Easy Reader has outlasted its educational cousin (replaced by digital clocks).
Chances are a visually impaired elderly relative wore a Timex Easy Reader. The only essential difference between RF’s legible-by-regulation railroad pocket watches and the 40mm Easy Reader: the lack of a small seconds sub dial. Switzerland’s Railways watch has the edge in the at-a-glance sweepstakes, but the Mondaine is more mundane. Well, in comparison. In comparison to anything else, the Timex Easy Reader is the bland champ.
As such, the Timex Easy Reader is the quintessential watch. To the point where it’s practically invisible. Everyone has seen a Timex Reader. If they haven’t, they think they have when they do. More importantly, nobody cares. The Easy Ready won’t impress anyone or draw attention of any kind. It’s just there – an endlessly practical blank slate suitable for a suit and tie or white T-shirt, flip-flops and shorts. It will never be wrong.
Time-wise, the Timex Easy Reader will be wrong by five seconds a month, thanks to its quartz movement. Frugal buyers will delight in a battery life that extends ten years. OCD buyers will take heart in the Easy Reader’s scratch resistant mineral glass crystal. No doming here; it’s flatter than a Piaget Antiplano and stands a hair proud of the case.
The Easy Reader’s case is made from plated low-lead brass. One might wish they’d bought something made of more expensive material. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life. The plating is going to wear and hairline scratches will appear. The case is one area where the watch looks cheap. That and the flat, black, blunt square-end stick hands, as far from Breguet hands as you can get without using masking tape.
The Timex Easy Reader’s dial comes in a variety of colors, but don’t go there. Most really cheap white watch dials appear to be made of photocopier paper. The Easy Reader is no Grand Seiko Snowflake, but the Timex’s white electroluminescent Indiglo dial has a fine granular texture like etched glass, and a subtle metallic glisten.
Push the crown and the whole dial lights up with an eerie cool cyan blue glow. Nitpicking Amazon reviewers note that sometimes the lighting is not perfectly even and may suffer a dimmer patch. Several commentators are upset that the Easy Reader’s date does not illuminate. I’ve never needed the date at night. (A date but not the date.)
To set the date you pull out the crown to find an elusive middle setting with no feel to it whatsoever. The dainty and unobtrusive crown is a bit small and fiddly. I resorted to spinning the crown while pushing it in and out until the date changed. This stops the second hand, but I’m no hacker.
Our review model was attacked to a metal expansion band, originally invented by Speidel. I’ve heard the flexible band called déclassé (or some such word). Apparently, it implies that the wearer is too lazy or ignorant to use fasteners. That and they move the watch up the forearm to do actual manual labor. (The horror!) I put the Easy Reader on a NATO. ‘Nuff said?
The Timex Easy Reader is the perfect one watch for the non-enthusiast or a small child, at least those capable of reading an analog watch. It’s the Honda Accord of watches, universally recommendable. Which I just did. And yes, it’s a lot easier to buy an Easy Reader online from Timex. By then you’d miss your last chance to enjoy an Auntie Annie’s pretzel.
Model: Timex Easy Reader
Case Width: 40 mm
Case Material: Silver-tone low lead brass
Crystal/Lens: Mineral Glass
Dial: White, Arabic (Full)
Movement: Unspecified [Chinese] quartz
Water Resistance: 50 meters
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
The Easy Reader is so classically styled it’s practical invisible.
Legibility * * * * *
Any watch called Easy Reader better be easy-to-read. It is.
Comfort * * * *
Timex’s version of Speidel’s Twist-O-Flex is like putting on a pair of slippers. The leather strap is from one very tough cow.
Overall * * * *
Does what it says on the tin. The case will eventually deteriorate, but who doesn’t?
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