If you are new to the world of horology, or have been living under a stone since 2019, you may have missed the reissue of the Q Timex. In which case, you may also have missed the dozens of subsequent iterations and spin offs, like last year’s Q Timex GMT (which appeared in our Best Watches of 2022), or the brand’s Q Chronograph. Anyhoo…it’s a watch that has certainly made waves.
The Q Timex, originally appeared in 1979–seven years after the brand made a switch toward the production of quartz watches. In 2019, Timex reissued the watch in a lovely (shall we say, Rolex-inspired) Pepsi bezel, and, well…a star was born. Sales boomed. New colourways followed.
The Q was not a perfect watch. Its bracelet was sharp and prone to unwanted hair removal. Its water resistance was passable, but not great. This hardly mattered. Timex had locked into a preexisting vintage craze with an unbeatable value proposition–and damn, if it didn’t look good! Well, along the way, the brand also listened to enthusiasts who were clamouring for an automatic iteration–which, of course, had never existed in the past–but spoke to devotees. Thus the M79 Automatic came to pass.
The first M79 colourway (“M,” for mechanical; “79,” for the year the Q first appeared) to roll out was the very cool Batman bezel. Again, another riff on the GMT-Master II. While it would be absurd to consider the two watches as competitors, the referential design was not lost on aficionados and newcomers, alike. What both the Q and the M79 offered was an attractive entry-point into collecting, for some; and for those with an already carefully curated collection, an inexpensive bit of fun.
While there are currently four colourways in the M79 lineup, this newest issue of the Batman (featured here) has an upgraded bracelet collectors will no doubt appreciate. The H-Link style is certainly a step up in comfort, but it also has a stamped deployant clasp with a symmetrical, push-button release.
The M79 case is a little larger than the Q, at 40mm. And it is also a little thicker, at 14.5mm, due to the Miyota 8025 ticking away underneath. However, stylistically it is a mirror image of its quartz cousin. It has the same 70s-styled silhouette with its squared-off, 20mm hidden lugs. The watch is brushed with a single line of polished chamfer about the the top of the mid-case. However the M79 comes with a unidirectional, aluminum dive bezel, rather than a 12-hour GMT-styled insert. Like the Q, the M79 is water resistant to 50m.
The watch has a lovely acrylic dome, through which you can see the nicely brushed blue sunray dial and iconic plot markers, which are applied and ringed in stainless steel on the M79. Both the indices and the customized Mercedes handset (you’ll find a “T” in there if you look) are also lumed. While bright enough initially, the lume does not last long, however.
Although the movement is largely undecorated, but for the signed rotor, Timex have chosen to equip the M79 with a display case back. It is held in place by four screws.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
18mm Lug Width
Display Case Back and Push Crown
50m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Acrylic Dome|
Day/Date @ Three
Lumed Markers & Hands
40-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Upgraded H-Link Style Bracelet |
/w Deployant Clasp
Timex M79 Batman Bezel
On wrist, the M79 is actually a delight. It sits a little tall, but the short lug to lug distance in the squared-off case design belies its 40mm specs. I like the new bracelet. Even though it does not articulate fully, it wears comfortably, and despite the lack of micro-adjust, the slender links allow for the establishment of a pretty snug fit. The metallic–perhaps “electric”?–blue is also very handsome.
Despite certain shortcomings (read below), it’s very difficult not to like the M79. The bezel action is solid, the case is nicely finished. And the vintage aesthetics–which made the Q Timex such a hit–are still here in spades. Some things just have to be taken at face value. The M79 is one of those. It’s simply a fun watch.
Some people love the symmetry that comes with a date free dial, so I am sure the bold day/date will bother them. I’m not that particular. In fact, I think the traditional aperture really suits the M79. However, I would love to see a larger crown here. I think something in the neighbourhood of 7mm would really complete the skin diver aesthetic.
But we should really address the elephant in the room–50mm of water resistance does not a dive watch make. You can take the M79 swimming with relative confidence, but I wouldn’t venture further. The look and the vibe is there, but the functionality is not. I wonder how much more it would cost to fit the M79 with a screw down crown and the necessary elements to squeeze out another 50m? What about a solid caseback? The identically priced Navi XL Series boasts 100m. So does the Waterbury Diver. The M79 would be a killer value proposition at 10BAR.
Alternatively, throw a 12/24-Hour bezel on it instead, á la Q. Make it a sharp dual-time. Maybe it doesn’t need to be a diver.
The Timex M79 Automatic is a seriously good-looking watch. This Batman version, in particular, with its lovely sunray dial and metallic bezel is really eye-catching. The upgraded bracelet is a great addition in terms of comfort, albeit outfitted with a stamped clasp. And the movement is a solid one at this price point, promising yeoman’s labour. The case shape, for its part, is quintessential 70s and all kinds of attractive. Frankly, the M79 has a lot going for it. And at $279, you can forgive the fact that it isn’t actually a GMT Master II. If you keep an eye on the website, you can probably catch it at a 20% rebate, to boot. And that’s just crazy.
For more information, please visit the brand website.
About the author
Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.
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