As I continue reviewing watches that I've purchased to use for testing the new StrapHabit TQ18 Q Timex straps, the next series is the Timex M79 Automatic.
Although technically not part of the Q line, the Timex M79 Automatic shares the desirable design DNA with the Q Timex. On paper, it is a strong competitor to the Seiko 5KX. Is this a watch that enthusiasts should consider more seriously as an alternative to the more popular 5 Sports?
Timex can't call these Q watches, as they don't feature a quartz movement. Still, these have all of the charm of the Q Timex 38mm Reissue, just with slightly larger dimensions, and a few upgrades. I have a comparison review of those two watches that you can read here, so be sure to check that out if you'd like to know how they compare.
These feature all of the things that enthusiasts love about the Q Timex models, including the iconic case shape, and fun domed acrylic crystal. I did find it strange that the uni-directional dive bezel features the color on the bottom half rather than in the first quarter. I assume that Timex thought this looks cooler, and it isn't a true dive watch anyway.
Timex M79 Automatic Details:
As with Q Timex watches, the case finishing is not extremely sharp or precise but is nice for the price of the watch. It uses the same brushed top surfaces and polished sides.
The hands (other than red second hands) are polished, as well as the applied markers.
The hour hand has an Easter egg in the shape of a T for Timex at the center. A cheeky homage to the Rolex "Mercedes" hour hand?
Both models have matte black dials with minimal text. Days can be displayed in English or Spanish, with Sundays in red.
Wearing the Timex M79 Automatic:
The 40mm case diameter will be just right for most people, and the lug-to-lug is fairly compact at 45mm. At 14.5mm, it's a bit on the thick side, but a lot of that dimension is taken up by the highly domed crystal, and thicker caseback. The sides of the case are quite thin, with no slab sides. I don't think that many people will mind the thickness.
Legibility is quite good, and as with the Q watches these watches wear quite comfortably.
The 60-minute unidirectional bezels have a nice click feeling, better than a Seiko at this price. Both of my models also were well-aligned. The bezels are fairly easy to grip too, unlike the small crowns (a bigger concern on automatic versions than on quartz). The black area under the bezel grip is a nice touch, and visually thins the watch.
The lume is not as bright as something like a Seiko but is better than many budget watches. Applied markers seem to allow for a thicker application. Note that the red/black variant features cream-colored "fauxtina" lume, while the lume on the blue/black version is pure white. Both glow green at night, with the pure white lume being slightly brighter.
Timex M79 Automatic Bracelet and TQ18 Replacement Straps:
Many Q Timex watches as well as all of the current M79 models come with the stainless steel bracelet shown in the photos. It gives it a classy, retro look, and is also quite thin. The flip clasp feels a bit flimsy but is very compact. They would be quite comfortable if they didn't frequently pull my arm hair. Other than that, a nice option, if a bit inexpensive feeling. The bracelet on the new Q Timex Three Time Zone Chronograph is quite a bit nicer, however.
One of the key aspects of all of the Q Timex original straps is their shape. The Q Timex watches all have 18mm lug widths, but fairly thick lugs and square cases. Thus, you can fit a standard 18mm strap to one, but it won't look quite right. This is where StrapHabit TQ18 Q Timex straps come in! They offer a higher quality aftermarket option in a variety of colors! Scroll down to the end of the article to see more photos.
Of course, I'm highly biased, but I feel that they make the Q feel like a more high-end watch, and make it much more enjoyable to wear!
The Timex M79 is powered by a Miyota automatic caliber. Timex doesn't specify the version, but I believe that it is an 8205.
This Japanese-made movement features 21 jewels, a 42-hour power reserve, and a frequency of 21,600bph. It features hand-winding, but not hacking. Also, the rotor winding is uni-directional and free-spins in the other direction. Unlike its quartz cousin, the day can also be quickset.
I consider the Timex M79 to be a strong competitor to the Seiko 5 Sports Series, such as the SRPJ45 Sonar that I reviewed previously, as well as standard versions. Neither is a true dive watch, but both look like one. The Seiko has higher water resistance, at 100m, but the Timex has a lume pip on the bezel, as well as better bezel operation.
Both feature a transparent caseback showing a workhorse automatic. Seiko's bracelets (and straps) are much nicer, but either of those can be replaced. The Timex also wears better due to its smaller size.
I'm surprised that I don't see more enthusiasts wearing the M79. Perhaps it's because they are harder to find than the Seiko, and more often sold out? The M79's price is slightly lower, although Seikos are easier to find on sale.
How do you think that the two compare? I'd love to hear it in the comments!
Name: Timex M79 Automatic 40mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch
Reference Number: TW2U83400ZV (Red/Black ), TW2U29500ZV (Blue/Black)
Lug Width: 18mm
Movement: Miyota Automatic
Water Resistance: 50m
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Bracelet: Stainless Steel (StrapHabit TQ18 straps also shown)
See different looks and purchase StrapHabit TQ18 Q Timex Replacement Watch Straps: