#TBT Timex Waterproof 200 Feet Watch
There are many watches that mimick the popular Oris Sixty Five divers‘ watch style. Many of them are exactly what you would expect of a pure copycat watch. A mess. The Timex Waterproof 200 Feet is different. Although it drops into the low budget watch category, it’s surprisingly solid and consistent.
Timex holds a special place in a vintage collector‘s heart. So special, that there is often almost no space for it. Indeed, you either need quite a hard-core fan or huge budget restraints to stay focused on Timex. Blame the cheap movements and chromed cases. Today however I will challenge both of these points and prove that even Timex has pieces worth looking into. Timex Waterproof 200 Feet today.
Timex Waterproof 200 Feet
I found my piece at an auction site during a midnight toilet break (the hidden advantages of a fast metabolism…). There are a few sites I visit from time to time and scroll through the junk watches listed on them. Honestly, most of the time I find nothing and I stop scrolling after five minutes. But there are some rewarding moments when you suddenly spot something interesting. Like the moment I spotted this Timex “Waterproof” 200 Feet. The Plexiglass has taken one heck of a beating over the years, but the case was surprisingly preserved. Without any deep scars on the chromed case, with bare metal hidden. And most importantly, it cost almost nothing.
Collectors don’t like chrome because it just some bare metal with a mirror-like coat pretending to be steel. As my vintage watch collection grows, I realize it doesn‘t bother me at all. It would be a bummer if a chromed watch was supposed to be my daily beater. We all saw what a few summers of constant wear could do to the shiny chrome. The cheese-like structure remaining makes it hard to believe any metal was present before. But honestly, if you are a collector that rotates 20 to 50 watches, you have nothing to be worried about.
“The Case” with Timex Waterproof
As I mentioned before, the case is almost intact. With 35mm in diameter, it’s not a “serious“ divers’ watch according to today’s standards, but it’s also no joke. It’s just one millimeter smaller than the original Oris Sixty Five and with quite the modern “skin diver“ style case it wears perfectly. No crown protection, no extra case mass. Just a sleek case with a sturdy bezel. Oh, the countdown bezel, let’s just stop right there for a moment.
All-black steel bezels are fine, you can just lose a bit of printing around edges. Nothing you can’t live with. The super-thin bakelite inserts are pure stunners and their liquid-like rounded shape always gets me. The enthusiasm wanes a little when I realize how fragile they are, how easily they can break, and how impossible it is to find a replacement for them. Just to give you an idea, the restoration job on an Omega Seamaster bezel insert easily costs €1,000. Crazy. And the waiting time on it is as long as that for new Submariners.
The original Plexiglass
I like how thick and robust the bezel is. The numbers are a bit recessed and printed in white that has turned creamy over the years. There are no clicks when you rotate it and you need to apply a bit of pressure to glide it into either direction. The fact that my Timex Waterproof 200 Feet came with an original Plexi is important. Not only does it give a perfect view of the edges of the dial, but it gives the bezel more charm. Note to self: original Plexiglasses are very underrated. Many vintage watches come with good or better replacements, but they struggle to beat the original ones for character. Note to all: let’s be more focused on the Plexi when it comes to our next purchase.
This is one of my favorite diver’s watch dial styles. It’s rich, it’s playful, and mostly, it’s functional. Each hour index is lumed and there is also a lume dot next to it. They look like a set of exclamation marks. 12, 6, and 9 are printed in black on the “king-size bed“ lume indexes. As a date lover, I was not outraged to see a window at three. Quite opposite. The date in tiny and thin numbers gives it quite the contemporary edge. I would say the same about the decent TIMEX branding that is balanced with the Waterproof 200 Feet inscription above 6 o’clock.
Detail to be crazy about
There are even some famous watches known for how differently the lume on their hands and indexes age. We can take the Breitling SuperOcean ref. 2005 as a leading example. What strikes me about the Timex Waterproof 200 Feet is that there is not a big difference between the indexes and the hands, but you can clearly see the different lume tone on the hour and minute hand. That is despite being almost the same shape and width. The UV lume proves they both fade out equally, in line with the indexes. I saw maybe twelve examples over the last two years, almost every single one had the same “issue“. By the way, the sandy yellow lume tone is divine.
The 18mm lug width allows you to strap it on any one of your favorite straps. I opted for a thin black rubber strap that came with some other vintage watch I had bought before. My watchmaker is not very excited about servicing any Timex watch, but this time he was surprised by the accuracy it reported after the full spa. The original crown is not signed and wide enough for a comfortable grip.
Last thoughts on Timex Waterproof
If you plan to play some low budget wild cards, I would put Timex on your radar. Its current production is pretty hot and so was its past. Just remember the unusual Timex Southampton or the crazy Timex Heinz Ketchup. Today’s hero, the Timex Waterproof 200 Feet only confirms that there are many more long-forgotten pieces still available at auctions. So keep your eyes open and grab one too. I assume the vintage Timex fan base will only grow with time. Happy hunting.