Although many watch enthusiasts are die-hard fans of mechanical movements, two affordable quartz chronographs were released in 2022 that have become quite popular with the collecting crowd.
So popular, in fact, that both of them became fairly difficult to purchase. We are, of course, talking about the Swatch x Omega Moonswatch, and the Q Timex Chronograph.
The Moonswatch is not sold online. Buying one requires traveling to a Swatch store in just a handful of cities and hoping that they have one of the 11 available colors that you like left when you get there.
The Q can be purchased on the Timex website (and other online and physical retailers) but is frequently sold out. Diligence is required to obtain one.
I tend quickly sour on watches when I feel that they are being overhyped, but both of these watches piqued and maintained my interest. I ended up tracking down a few colors of each for review (and my enjoyment), and to use with some different straps including StrapHabit's new TQ18 straps.
Because they are so similar in price and specifications, I thought a comparison was in order. This article will focus on the differences, but if you like to know more about each watch, please visit the links above.
While both watches take their inspiration from vintage racing chronographs, the Q Timex looks more authentically vintage. This is due to the colors and materials chosen. Polished and brushed stainless steel with angular finishing, along with polished dial hardware give it a distinctly 60s look.
Despite its clear Speedmaster inspiration, the Moonswatch looks much more modern. This is, of course, due to its use of plastic (err...Bioceramic), and bright colors. Depending on which version you choose, the Moonswatch can look downright wild.
Otherwise, each watch features all of the classic styling elements. Pump pushers, large subdials, and muscular-looking cases provide the look. Being vintage racing-style chronographs, both watches also feature external tachymeter bezels.
Wearing The Q Timex Chronograph and Swatch x Omega Moonswatch Mission to Mars
The Moonswatch takes the nod in comfort due to its low weight, and flatter design. The thickness measurements are similar, but the Timex looks thicker due to its shape. The Q still wears well, and has a smaller diameter too.
Both watches used vintage-style boxed crystals that create pleasing distortions., the Timex being more extreme. Timex says its is mineral, while Swatch uses acrylic. More prone to scratches, but also easier to polish.
The legibility nod goes to the Moonswatch, especially for the Mars version. The black hands stand out against he white dial better than the fully polished Q hands.
The same is true at night. The lume on the Moonswatch is much brighter and longer lasting.
Other Q Timex models are a bit lacking in the strap department, but the Chronograph has the nicest OE straps of any of the Q Timex watches I've evaluated. The leather looks and feels much nicer than the (likely) silicone rubber straps, or hair-pulling bracelets of the Q Reissue 38mm, M79 Automatic, and Three Time Zone Chronograph.
I did not have access to a bracelet version of the chronograph, but that is another option for the black dial version. They appear to be of good quality.
The Moonswatch, on the other hand, has a lackluster Velcro strap. It is lightweight and comfortable but feels cheap, and is bulky. The Timex takes the win in this category.
Of course, I've been wearing the Q on StrapHabit TQ18 Q Timex straps. They offer a higher quality aftermarket option in a variety of colors.
Additionally, the Moonswatch, with its 20mm lugs can be easily upgraded in the strap department. Many straps look great on it, and the different Mission models offer fun color pairing options. Because they are so light, it makes any strap very comfortable too.
Scroll down to the end of the article to see more photos of both watches on different straps
While both watches have triple register chronographs, the functionality is different. The Swatch displays tenths of a second in its upper right register, while the Timex has a 24-hour hand that is linked to the main hour hand and acts as an AM/PM indicator.
The Q Chronograph has the simpler chronograph movement but adds a sweeping chronograph second hand. Some might also find its 3-6-9 layout more visually appealing than the Swatch, which has two of its subdials shifted toward the top of the dial.
The Timex also packs a date display, hidden at 4:30. Some collectors don't prefer this layout, but it adds a useful feature, and it blends in well.
Both watches have a handy port on the back to allow for quick and easy battery changes. Some also might also find it important to note that the Swatch is Swiss made, while the Timex has a Japanese movement.
If we're comparing these two watches on paper only, the Q Timex gets the clear nod. It looks and feels more expensive than the plastic Moonswatch. The metal case, polished markers, and sweeping second hand give it a more upscale appearance, not unlike wearing an expensive vintage mechanical chronograph. It is also $61 less expensive, has a nicer strap, date, and is easier to purchase outside of a large city.
The Moonswatch however, is a more significant watch, and will likely be remembered in the future. The Q, while helping to revive Timex, did not have the cultural impact of the Moonswatch, which seems to have spread watch enthusiasm to new people. Plus, with its variety of available colors, it's super fun to wear.
Both of them provide a lot of character and fun for the price. They are also practical, providing "grab and go" functionality, and quick battery changes when needed. I plan to keep at least one of each in my watch collection for a while, as I wear them at different times, and find different kinds of fun in each.
|Q Timex Chronograph 40mm||Swatch x Omega Moonswatch Mission to Mars|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel||Bioceramic|
|Height (mm)||46||47. 2|
|Movement||Japanese Quartz Chronograph||Swiss Quartz Chronograph|
|Features||Minutes (60), seconds (sweep hand), 24-hour indicator, lap timer, running seconds||Minutes (60), seconds (1s tick), 1/10s, lap timer, running seconds|
|Water Resistance (m)||50||30|
|Weight w/ Strap (g)||76g||29g|
See different looks and purchase StrapHabit straps for these watches:
Premium Sailcloth Colorway Collection Watch Straps for Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Premium Sailcloth Watch Straps for Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Distressed Canvas and Leather Watch Straps For Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Vented FKM Rubber Watch Straps for Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Ridge RKM Rubber Watch Straps for Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Smooth FKM Rubber Watch Straps for Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Hybrid Sailcloth and FKM Rubber Watch Straps for Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Slim Ridge FKM Rubber Watch Straps for Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Elastic Watch Straps for Moonswatch Mission to Mars
Premium Sailcloth Colorway:
Locking Keeper FKM Rubber:
Tropical FKM Rubber
Vented FKM Rubber:
Slim Ridge FKM Rubber:
Tropical FKM Rubber:
Hybrid Sailcloth and FKM Rubber