Timex Rolex Revealed!

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Timex Rolex - Waterbury Legacy Boyfriend

Rolex doesn’t hold a patent on the design of their Datejust 36 Oystersteel and yellow gold. Obviously. Otherwise, Timex would be up to its eyeballs in litigation. ‘Cause their new Waterbury Legacy Boyfriend 36 is a Timex Rolex Datejust 36 Oystersteel and yellow gold. In fact, if this watch was made in China – hang on. It is. Let’s try that again . . .

Rolex Datejust 36 Oystersteel and gold

If this Timex Rolex was branded Rolex and U.S. Customs and Excise got a hold of a shipment there’s be an immediate call for a steamroller. Gold fluted bezel? Check. Five link gold and steel “Jubilee” bracelet? Check. Gold baton hands? Check. Rectangular indices marking the minutes? Check. It’s a fake Rolex!

Timex Rolex Waterbury Legacy Boyfriend caseback

Or is the Timex Rolex an homage? I reckon that designation applies to the Timex Q and Navi, but not this. Then again . . .

No one’s going to mistake the quartz and faux gold watch for one of Geneva’s finest, right? It says Timex right there at the top (and on the caseback). The pretender’s dial offers a day/date window, as opposed to the Rolex’s date-only complication. And the real Rolex doesn’t announce its Chromalight, whereas the Timex Rolex proudly proclaims its Indiglo illumination.

Aside from a long list of technical specifications, price is the obvious difference between the two timepieces. The Rolex Datejust 36 costs $11,700. The Timex goes for a relatively insignificant $139. That’s less than the sales tax on the Rollie. Oh, and you can actually buy the Timex. A Rolex – any Rolex – is harder to get than a date with an Israeli supermodel (don’t ask me how I know).

Timex Rolex closeup

All that’s left: Timex’s marketing mishegoss. Why call the watch the Boyfriend and then cross out the word “boyfriend” in the email come-on?

Is Timex sending us an ironic nod-and-a-wink, hinting that they know they shouldn’t use the term in our brave new world of gender fluidity and anything-goes sexual identification? This is, after all, the same Timex that sells watches on the basis of LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

“Perfect for any female in your life” the email subject bar promises. Here’s how Timex pitches their Rolex-a-like on its product page:

We’re honoring our 1854 roots as the Waterbury Clock Company and the strong women who created our earliest timepieces. A testament to their strength and our commitment to craftsmanship, this bold 36mm watch is built for everyday wear. The two-tone stainless-steel case and bracelet, gold-tone dial and a fluted gold-tone stainless-steel bezel, prove you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for strength.

Timex American Documents on wrist

Wait. What? The Timex Rolex is a feminist watch? That’s the dictionary definition of putting lipstick on a pig (is that piggist?). A transparent attempt to pander to – and avoid the wrath of – the PC gender police. An insult the intelligence of men and women alike.

And if any watch in Timex’s current catalogue honors the company’s history of simple, durable, affordable timepieces it’s their superb, American-made American Documents. Or the plain Jane Marlin Automatic. How about the Easy Reader? Whatever it is, it ain’t this.

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You don’t need me to tell you there’s a world of qualitative difference between the Timex Rolex and an actual Rolex. So I’ll just offer this unsolicited advise to Timex: STAY IN YOUR LANE!

Timex remained in business for 167 years by sticking to its basic formula of mass market simplicity, durability and affordability. Maintaining a cohesive brand identity.

Invicta Men's Pro Diver 40mm Stainless Steel Automatic Watch (right)

Well, not really. Timex barely survived the Quartz crisis, losing its shirt several times, spending years wandering in the wilderness. (Sinclair computer anyone?)

If Timex execs don’t think that straying from their core design principles to ape Rolex is a bad idea, a quick question: do you really want to share your legacy with Invicta?

17 COMMENTS

  1. Isn’t that what Timex does though? The Timex Q and Navi both owe a lot to the Rolex sub, so much so that I thought that buying a submariner homage with snowflake hands and an NH35 movement was a cheaper and much for attractive option than what Timex or Orient had to offer.

    • For some reason, for me, the Timex Q (more of a Tudor thing) and Navi fall into the homage category more than this. This is a straight out rip off.

      • It is a fair assessment, and this does look like an especially egregious example of when a company ends up in rip off territory.

  2. Rimex? Tolex?

    This is a women’s watch, right? The name, “Boyfriend” is an odd choice, even if it’s a women’s watch. If it’s a men’s watch, well… not that there’s anything wrong with it. 😉

    • If two tone Rolex Presidents were my thing (they aren’t) I’d consider buying it. The main problem is the price (I just know I could find something with a wart and an automatic movement for much less on eBay) and sizing. The bracelets on Timex tend to run small, so I’d have to put this on a Nato, which would kind of defeat the purpose of buying the watch, as the bracelet is definitely part of the look.

    • Apparently your wives aren’t showing you their online shopping choices, because the term is used for women’s jeans and button-down shirts and probably other stuff. It is a term for women’s clothing that mimics the style/fit of men’s items, as if they had borrowed it from their boyfriend. For clothing, it basically means boxy and plain. Here, I guess it means masculine, or at least not dainty and feminine.

      I have totally considered this exact watch and seeing that it presumably has a real white dial and not that sickly lemon chiffon hue from their stock photo, I’m reconsidering the budget Patrick Bateman look.

      • Nothing is more manly than MILSUB!!! MILSUB crush puny President!

        It’s hard not empathize with the the “boyfriend” style. It’s comfortable, practical and durable.

      • Aha…. Learned something. Fortunately, my wife isn’t a shop-a-holic, and she definitely does not favor a style that mimics my male-oriented “fashion” choices. I had not heard that term. But, admittedly, I don’t follow fashion trends.

  3. Nothing worse than fake gold. I’m sure Hodinkee will have an article on why this a great alternitive to a Rolex because they sell this in their shop like the last time.

  4. That Rolex gold-fluted bezel has to be among the most ripped off designs in watch history. Going back to the 1970s, I can’t tell you how many Benruses, Walthams, et al featured it.

    I don’t know how it works outside the U.S., but in the U.S. companies must actively defend copyrighted designs in order to hold onto the rights. This is why you saw Fiat-Chrysler going after Mahindra over the Indian company’s Jeep lookalike – even though few people would confuse that and a Wrangler.

    Is that Rolex bezel design even copyrighted? Or is it old enough to have entered the public domain? And was Rolex even the first to use it?

  5. There is a lot of confusion around intellectual property.

    Copyrights do not protect the design of functional objects, and even these days a basic three hand/day/date watch is still a functional object.

    Design patents can protect the design of a functional object, but require going through the patent application process and only last 15 years. Any design patent on the Datejust would have expired a long time ago.

    What most watch companies do to protect their designs is use/abuse a part of Trademark law that activist judges have created called “trade dress”, which is basically the idea that copying a design unique to a brand can create customer confusion.

    The problem for Rolex is that companies have been knocking off their designs since before “trade dress” became a thing, and at this point none of the historic Rolex designs are unique to Rolex.

    This article takes the right point of view. Timex should not stop making this watch out of respect for Rolex. Timex should stop making this watch out of respect for Timex.

    • Timex should not stop making this watch out of respect for Rolex. Timex should stop making this watch out of respect for Timex.

      ^^^This.^^^

    • There are many cool things about Seiko, and one them is that they’ve found a way to genuflect to Rolex as a stylistic influence, but they put a spin on the design that makes it uniquely their own.

    • I like this watch but must admit it’s appeal is the similarity to the Datejust. I’ve chided them before for products lacking enough Timex DNA. My appreciation is mostly ironic as this is clearly a Rolex knock off bearing the Timex name.

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