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The 2008 Timex for J. Crew Military Watch

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I was in one of my regular charity shop haunts the other day and the lady who prices the watches and jewellery for the shop put a newly priced watch into the locked sanctum of the watch cabinet. My eyes went to it immediately and I was rather taken with what I saw - a neat looking military watch that seemed to have some age. I decided to have a closer look, and handle this timepiece, so it was removed from the cabinet for my perusal. I then saw that it was a Timex quartz watch in military style with a steel case and mineral glass crystal - surely modern yet still confusing me with its aged appearance. The stamped writing on the back of the watch included the legend, “CIRCA 2008,” which made me smile and tweaked my interest, though at £15, I first decided to pass on it before fortunately having second thoughts.





(Pic from j.crew.com)




I must confess to rather liking this watch, a fondness that still holds true even though my further research on it should perhaps have made me more cynical. Let me explain. The watch in question was produced as a collaboration between Timex and the American retailer J. Crew, in 2008*. The description of the watch by J. Crew states that the watch was “Inspired by military watches from the 1940s,” whereby “Timex reached deep into their archives to create this handsome timepiece just for us - a fusion of traditional elements and modern materials. The face is strategically distressed to appear worn with time and features a contrasting bright red second hand. Stainless steel watch case with luminescent hands that glow in the dark so you’ll always know what time it is. Nylon strap. 50M water-resistant. Diameter of watch case: 36mm. Five-year battery life.”


Even from this brief description, we have the potential problem that among many watch collectors, the idea of artificially ageing a watch to match a previous period in history is anathema. But worse is yet to come. It turns out that the design of the watch in historic terms is a figment of its own imagination, having nothing to do with the 1940s and more resembling US military  watches from several decades later with an additional dose of design cues taken from civilian Timex models marketed in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, the closest “match” to the J. Crew 2008 Timex would seem to be the plastic Timex 46374B made for the US military in about 1982; Timex watches for the military being very rare generally and with no military issue Timex watches made in the 1940s.








(Pic from Poshmark at dtpmhvbsmffsz.cloudfront.net)






If the watch itself is inauthentic in design, the strap provided with it is even more of an anachronism. The strap is of NATO type, in nylon, and based on the old British G10 pattern. However, the G10 strap type is completely erroneous as a choice for a watch purporting to be based on genuine US military timepieces from the 1940s; the G10 was to be associated with British issue military watches, and interestingly, the surge in popularity of the NATO strap has only occurred since the internet watch collecting community has disseminated the use of this functional strap form. 


Having outlined the problems of artificial ageing and inauthentic design, there is a third problem with this Timex J. Crew watch and that is the price. At way over the expected price for a Timex watch of this specification, the J. Crew military Timex was/is clearly overpriced. I obviously did not have to deal with the price problem as I bought mine pre-owned but in fine condition for £15. I suppose, any justification of the price of this watch depends on how desirable the watch is to customers of J. Crew and other watch fans who are prepared to overlook the other problems I have discussed above.








(Pic from i.pinimg.com/originals)






(Pic from ialreadyhaveawatch.com)





As I have said already, I still have a sneaking likeness for this watch, partly because of where it stands in the history of watch fashion and partly because it is a rather nice item in itself - well made with a pleasantly subtle steel case and traditional lume instead of Timex Indiglo. I also like the dial, and the red sweep hand - even if these are not strictly authentic. I find it fascinating that a simple military style watch can arouse such controversy and create so much writing online. Something inside me tells me that I shouldn’t approve of the J. Crew “military” Timex, and I bought it innocent of the hullabaloo about it online. Nevertheless, it will stay in my collection as yet another interesting, and potentially collectible, Timex.


In terms of current availability, although J. Crew sold this model for a number of years, it seems to have sold out at J. Crew, and has been discontinued. I can also tell you that J. Crew launched a white dial colourway of this model, calling it the "Timex for J. Crew vintage field army watch" (inaccurately using the word “vintage”), as opposed to the title, "Timex for J. Crew military watch," which refers specifically to the black dial version discussed in this topic. Since the 2008 Timex for J. Crew military watch, Timex and J. Crew have collaborated on a few other watch models.



NOTE * J. Crew Group, Inc. are described by Wikipedia as being “an American multi-brand, multi-channel, specialty retailer The company offers an assortment of women’s, men’s, and children’s apparel and accessories, including swimwear, outerwear, lounge-wear, bags, sweaters, denim, suiting, jewelry, and shoes.” The company was founded by Mitchell Cinader and Saul Charles in 1947, at which time it was titled, Popular merchandise Inc. The name became J. Crew in 1983 and the firm is headquartered in New York City. In addition to catalogues, online sales, and other selling methods, J. Crew, Inc. has over 450 retail stores throughout  the United States.








(Pic from forums.watchuseek.com at i228.photobucket.com)










See text for the white dial version of the J. Crew military watch




(Above two pics from forums.watchuseek.com at uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com)


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That's an interesting watch, I wonder if the case is also pre-worn from the factory?  I picked up the Timex remake of the Timex/Ingersol Midget last month, which has an artificially aged case and orange paint to look like aged lume.  I thought the Midget was a one off for Timex, but apparently not!

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