Timex is probably America’s most famous watch brand, established in 1854. However, Timex also makes great watches that cost four figures. This raises the question: is Timex a luxury watch brand?
Timex is not a luxury watch brand but a value-for-money brand. Timex uses outside movements and does not use premium materials such as gold alloy or diamonds, common with luxury brands. Most of the watch models also do not go over $1,000.
This article will discuss what makes luxury watches different from common watches and then compare Timex against the criteria.
What Makes A Luxury Watch Luxury?
In general, a watch brand is recognized as a luxury watch brand because they outdo regular watch brands in these areas:
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
We explored each of these categories deeper in a separate article.
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Materials: People who make high-end watches usually use good materials in some, if not all, of their watches. Regular brands usually use 316L stainless steel or mineral crystals for their watches.
However, you can see that some high-end watch brands use 904L steel, titanium, and gold alloys to make their watches. You might also see diamonds or leather straps with top-grain leather, mother of pearl, and sapphire crystal.
Assembly: Luxury watch brands like to make their own watches, keeping the assembly process in-house. Some brands even make all of the parts of their watches themselves, like Rolex.
In addition to having their watches made in-house, some brands also take great pride in hand-assembling their watches to control their quality and performance.
Regular watch brands usually use machines to make watches and use very little handwork to cut costs. They outsource all of the assembly and production work most of the time, so they can only work on their designs.
In-House Movements and Technology: Most high-end watch brands make and use their own watch movements and technology. This allows them to be able to fully control and change how their watches work and how accurate and fast they are. They also like to use their own technology to make their watches better.
Regular watch brands usually don’t make their own movements and technology because they prefer to use movements made by other people. These movements are usually made by companies like ETA, Ronda, Miyota, or Seiko, but they also come from other companies.
Adopting these movements also helps regular watch brands use the good name of the people who make these movements.
Design: People who make high-end watches usually have their own style or “design language.”
This makes their watches look different. Richard Mille would be a good example. You can look at the watch from far away and immediately tell that it is a Richard Mille.
Some high-end luxury watch models have become the standard for design in their category. This makes them the benchmark for the watch type they are in.
For example, many people think of the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Planet Ocean when they see a watch for dive watches.
ALSO READ: Best Dive Watches Under $100
Homages: High-end watch brands often have homages made of watches that look like them. Homages talk about the fact that many people can’t afford to buy a luxury watch because they can’t afford it. People who like homages because they’re cheap and look like the real thing get them instead.
To avoid this, only very well-known and popular watch models like the Movado Museum watch get homages, which are rare for non-luxury models.
ALSO READ: What Are Homage Watches?
Clones & Fakes: There are also fakes and fake watches made by high-end watch brands because people want to buy them for less money. Copycats don’t try to be different from the original by using their own brands, but they make exact copies of the watch and sell them for less.
Fakes are illegal, and they usually come in different grades. People make cheap copies, but now “super-clone” watches are starting to show up. Some look so close to the original watch that it takes the original watchmakers to tell if they are real or fake.
Brand Image: A luxury watch brand also has an image of exclusivity, class, prestige, and performance.
Often, this is done by advertising or sponsoring events, people, or media outlets that have a similar image. This is why Rolex sponsors many tennis and golf tournaments, for example.
Prices: Luxury watch brands tend to be pricey, so it may not be possible for most people who move here to buy one. The idea is to make their watches into things people can work hard for and strive for.
These watches become “success symbols” to show off to other people when they’re bought. This is another way that these watch brands build their brand image, as well.
Is Timex Considered Luxury?
Timex is not considered a luxury watch brand. It is more of an affordable, value-for-money brand. The watches do not use in-house movement, nor does it use premium materials such as gold or diamonds, which luxury watch brands use. Most Timex watches also do not cross over $1,000.
|Characteristics||Luxury Watch Brands||Timex||Pass?|
|Materials||May use 904L steel, titanium, precious metals, gemstones||Only 316L steel and common materials||❌|
|Assembly||Mostly hand assembled||No such claims||❌|
|Movement||Almost all have in-house movement||Has In-house movement, but also uses third-party movement||✅|
|Proprietary Technology||Almost all have proprietary technology||Indiglo backlighting technology||✅|
|Design||Often iconic, and sets trends.||No really iconic design||❌|
|Homages||Have homages made after their models||No homages, makes homages for other watches instead||❌|
|Fakes & Imitation||Suffers from fakes and imitation||Not known to be widely counterfeited||❌|
|Brand Image||Prestige, exclusivity, class||Affordability, toughness, simplicity||❌|
|Prices||At least four-figure.||Has models as low at $17||❌|
Timex’s watches use the materials common in watches. The cases are usually made with stainless steel, while most crystals are mineral. There are no models that use premium materials such as gold, diamond, or titanium.
This made sense since Timex’s watches are not expensive, so their watches cannot use these materials. If Timex uses these materials, they will need to increase their price to watch their profit margin.
Timex does not indicate that they hand-assemble their watches in full. This makes sense as, looking at the prices on their watches, they cannot afford to have hand assembly.
In fact, many luxury watchmakers only have a high degree of hand assembly when the watches are sold at a much higher price. Even entry-level luxury brands such as Longines do not fully hand-assemble their watches.
In-House Movements and Technology
Timex does have its own in-house movement, but they also rely on movements from multiple manufacturers.
Timex’s lower-priced quartz movements are usually taken from Japan or China. Timex’s higher-priced watches could be running Swiss quartz models from Ronda.
If the Timex watch runs a Swiss movement, Timex would print the label ‘Swiss Movt’ on the watch dial.
Timex’s automatic watches are also using movements from multiple companies. There have been reports of movements such as Miyota and ETA being used.
Timex’s own quartz movement, for example, the M905, produces a loud ticking sound. They also have their own solar movement, the M01K.
Timex is famous for its Indiglo technology when it comes to proprietary technology. Instead of relying on lumes, you can turn on a backlight for the watch by pressing on the watch crown.
Timex makes a wide array of watches. You can see dress, dive, chronograph, and digital watches in their catalog.
These watches are also offered in multiple design styles. Timeless and no-frills, classic or modern.
However, these designs do not stand out, not to the point they become iconic and ‘de facto’ watches within their category.
For example, Timex’s most popular watch is undoubtedly the Easy Reader. Simple, affordable, and perfect for daily wear. You can categorize this watch as a casual dress watch in the way it’s designed.
Within casual dress watches, many would immediately think of watches such as Rolex Oyster Perpetual, Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, or Grand Seiko SBGA211 ‘ Snowflake’ rather than the Easy Reader.
There are no proper homage models made for Timex watches. This is understood as Timex watches, in general, do not fulfill the characteristics that made them worthy of having homages.
Homage watches usually are made to look like iconic watches. The idea is to allow those that cannot afford the original to purchase something that looks similar at a lower price.
Homages are not clones, as they use their own brands. They also try to differentiate themselves from the original slightly in design.
That means the original watch has to have an iconic design and be sold at a high price that makes it unaffordable to many. Only then can homages come in and fill the market need.
Timex watches do not fulfill these criteria, which explains the lack of homages.
Timex watches are not widely counterfeited. This is expected as Timex watches are not expensive.
Counterfeiting a watch takes a lot of effort, time, and investment in machinery. This means counterfeiters prefer to spend time counterfeiting expensive, luxury models. Plus, since luxury watches are unaffordable to many, people would be more attracted to purchase fakes.
However, this does not mean you should assume all Timex watches are genuine. Always be careful and check before purchasing one, lest you support criminal enterprises with your money.
Timex carries a brand image of toughness, simplicity, no-frills, and functionality with their watches. Timex watches do not carry the feel of luxury, exquisiteness, class, and prestige as much as proper luxury brands such as Rolex or IWC.
Timex also has incredibly affordable models, with a number of their watches under $100. This means Timex is often viewed as beater watches that you wear, abuse, discard, and get a new one.
There is nothing wrong with such a brand image, but Timex might not be seen as luxury watches anytime soon.
When looking at Timex’s website, there are 222 models on offer for men’s watches, not including variations.
Of these models, only one is priced above $1,000 – a Timex X Madeworn collaboration special edition watch. The cheapest is the Timex Easy Reader at $70.
You can get a Timex for as low as $17 only on Amazon.
Timex watches can be considered affordable and entry-level.