70s Timex watch

Timex manual watch, 1973

I recently bought this watch, left, from an antique market in Oxford. It was made in 1973 by Timex in Dundee, Scotland.

Timex made huge quantities of watches for the UK in the 70s, but competition from the Far East lead to its closure in 1993 after a bitter dispute with unions.

This watch is typical of a mid-range watch from the 70s. Finished in a gold plate, it is in the fashionable chunky style. It has a round face, but an oval shaped case, with no numbers on the dial, but with large square markers for the hours instead. The date and time function was a fashionable addition to watches in the mid 70s.

The style suits the look of the early 70s. Imagine the wearer with a kipper tie and a nylon shirt with a wide collar and big cuffs fastened with heavy gold look cufflinks.

Although this watch is up to the minute in style, technically it is behind the times. In 1973 you could buy electronic watches; Timex sold a whole range of them and the first digital and quartz watches came on the market in 1971. For most people though they were still beyond their pocket.

In 1973, there was still a strong market, at the right price, for traditional windup and automatic (self winding watches). Mechanical watches would soon have had their day however. By 1975 cheap digital watches had invaded the British high street. The style of the early to mid 70s was short lived too, these modern looking watches were quickly eclipsed by more sober designs in the early 1980s.

Collectors' information

Values

Timex is not considered a desirable brand, but these watches were very popular in the 70s and values are likely to rise. Timex have re-issued some watches from the 70s and this is likely to increase interest.

On eBay expect to pay £10 to £30 for a good example; more for mint examples. Look for watches in good, clean working order. It will probably cost more to fix a broken one than its worth. Also pay attention to good cosmetic condition and style reminiscent of the 70s. More boring designs will be worth less.

How to date at Timex watch

There is a serial number at the bottom of the face of Timex watches made before 1993. The last two digits are the year of manufacture.

How to set the day and date

I wanted this watch to read the correct day and date. This was difficult. On most watches of this type you can pull out the winder a little more and adjust the day by turning it one direction and the date by turning it in the other. Not on this one, and this is probably true of most Timex watches.

To set the day and date:

1. Pull out the winder one stop. You will feel it click into place.

2. Look at the current day setting (Mon, Tue, etc) and wind the watch forward until the day is one before the current day.

3. Wind the time forward until the date adjusts. The date sets before the day.

4. Wind it back past 6 o'clock. [on some watches this happens at 3 o'clock].

5. Wind forward until the date just changes.

6. Repeat 3 and 4 until the date is one before the date you want.

7. Then wind the watch forward to the correct time. Date and day should now be correct.

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