Q Timex 1978 Reissue Review - Cashing In On Nostalgia
Oxford Languages defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past”.
This innate urge for what has come before is as unusual as it is profitable. Indeed, many businesses and individuals have successfully capitalised on this phenomena; effectively blurring the lines between nostalgic lust and their products or services.
Is it any wonder that Coca-Cola has been reusing the same style of Christmas ad since 1995? I think not.
Well, over the years, many wristwatch brands have taken a similar approach, in an attempt to take that little bit more from your wallet. While there are numerous examples of this, one of the more recent and successful implementers is the low-cost brand Timex.
Their throwback efforts truly commenced in 2019, with the resurrection of the original diver-inspired Q-Timex sports watch. Following its success, they’ve released a string of other retro models, including the experimental Falcon Eye (review to that watch here) and some more subtle models like the one I’ve been trying for the last couple of weeks.
Q Timex 1978
This is the 1978 Day-Date Reissue, which appears to be a follow up to the similarly styled ‘1975 Reissue’ from a few months back, with some minor alterations. I completely missed out on the latter option, so when this newer 37mm model popped up on their site it was too tempting to ignore. Something I didn’t ignore though was the price.
You see, this watch isn’t exactly cheap. Sure, compared to a Rolex, £155 doesn’t seem like much. However, when you look at the specifications and the basic design, that figure starts to look pretty steep.
As your resident wristwatch test dummy, I thought I’d be the perfect candidate to see whether this one is hiding something special or if you’re actually paying a huge premium for that drop of nostalgia.
Holy moly. Perhaps this tiny Timex is compensating for something, as it arrived in one of the largest boxes I’ve ever seen. I remember being underwhelmed by the boring packaging that the Falcon Eye reissue shipped in but this is completely at the other end of the spectrum. Despite being stylish and protective, which is great, I was left slightly concerned. Has too much cash gone into this, rather than the watch itself? That’s always a concern with low-cost watches and it’s no exception here.
Straight out of the box, this undeniably looks like a vintage watch that has been teleported to the modern age. Everything from the case shape to the curved dial and domed crystal oozes late 70’s style.
The advantage and ‘point’ of these reissue watches are that you can obtain that retro look with the benefits of modern materials; as true vintage watches are more of a risky option that could require some maintenance. This ‘78 has a full 316L stainless steel case, with a high-polish finish exhibited across all surfaces except for the rear. The brushed and screwed case-back houses the familiar battery hatch, which can be easily unlocked using something like a coin.
While the 5 bar water resistance is a nice boon for a watch using a hatch, the overall finishing of the case is rather underwhelming. In all honesty, I think this softer style is probably accurate to the manufacturing methods of the period, however, given this has been built in the 2020s, I’d certainly have appreciated some sharper lines to give an air of quality and precision.
A good point of comparison would be the Nixon Time Teller I reviewed last year, which also had a retro aesthetic, but with neater and sharper edges around the case. I think something similar could have been done with this Timex, to keep it looking fresh.
The crown is unsigned, though is well-proportioned and functions as expected.
Housed atop the case is the heavily domed acrylic crystal. While not scratchproof in the slightest, it does perfectly suit the piece, providing substantial vintage-style warping when viewed from an angle.
The dial beneath has a vertically brushed linen texture, akin to many older watches, with a predominantly silver finish that exudes a subtle champagne hue in direct sunlight. Around the perimeter, you get a selection of applied markers, including one that is shortened to reveal the day-date window.
I’ve managed to dig up a few pictures of the original watch and as a whole, the execution is very, very similar. The windows are larger and more divided on the original, with the indices also bearing distinct machined ridges, rather than the brushed surface present on the reissue. The crown is also slightly smaller on the vintage watch, but aside from that, you’d be hard-pressed to notice any differences between the two.
The baton handset is identical and the text size and placement is true to the original as well. It’s undeniable that Timex has done a great job of fully capturing the essence of the period – something that the Invicta I recently covered failed to accomplish.
When on the wrist, not only is the day-date comfortable, but it’s almost indistinguishable from a true vintage watch. As such, it is on the small side for most wrists, at 37.5mm wide and with a lug to lug of just 43mm. It fits my small wrist very well and the chunky 12.5mm depth is a non-issue, as half of it is comprised of the domed crystal and battery hatch alone. As such, it sits much better than you might expect from reading the spec sheet.
Unfortunately, something that I didn’t expect is the rubbish strap. While this black genuine leather two-piece may look nice, unfortunately, it is unequivocally a piece of garbage. Within a couple of weeks, it has already started to show heavy warping and creasing, to the extent where I anticipate the layers will start to fragment in the not too distant future. The buckle isn’t even signed and for a £155 watch, it feels like they have completely cheapened out. The only thing the quick-release spring bars are useful for here is removing the strap and binning it. Almost any alternative 20mm option would be a better fit here.
There’s something I don’t quite understand. Why this model? Why revive this random 1978 Day-Date in particular? You see, I can appreciate why they brought back the sweet-looking sports models and especially the vibrant, wave-dialled Falcon Eye. In contrast, though, this watch just doesn’t seem quite so ‘special’ or unique. I’m sure some of you out there are going to love it, yet I can’t help but feel like it’s a little vanilla.
It does offer up that true vintage look with some benefits like the quieter tick and fresh components, leading to a longer lifespan. However, £155? Really? While the watch may deliver what it promises, I couldn’t justify such a bloated asking price for this very basic watch. After all, the specifications are rather basic, it doesn’t look as good as the other Q Timex models and the strap is even worse than those hair-ripping bracelets too. Not to mention, you can grab an array of actual vintage watches offering a very similar look for a fraction of that price.
If you like the premise of this one, I’d wait until this is on a heavy discount before buying. At the moment, they have a 25% off code on the Timex website, bringing this down to a more reasonable £116. Nevertheless, I know they can do better, as they already offer the similarly-cased Milano XL 38mm for £50 less, which comes with a more scratch-resistant crystal and a decent solid link bracelet to boot.
Sure, the dial is simpler and overall it doesn’t look quite so retro, though I think it still highlights how a big chunk of your cash is (as I suspected) going into nostalgia marketing with this ’78 reissue; rather than into the watch itself. If this were priced similarly to that Milano, it would have gotten a nod from me, but for this much money, I can’t give it my seal of approval.