What can you can say about one of the popular watches of all time? We all know the Timex Triathlon as the standard in Walmart watches. It’s familiar black and orange case and large screen has been around for years and has graced the wrist of millions. Timex has gone ahead and spruced up the new generation with a new case style, a more legible screen, solar power, and a robust and tough shock resistant exterior. This is the quintessential entry-level digital watch, and after wearing it around for a little while, its not hard to see why.
The one thing that always stands out with the Timex Ironman is that, after so many generations, it somehow always feels fresh. You might think (as I did) that a cheap digital watch that has been in production since 1986 would be stale or boring. You would be wrong (as I was). My first watch was a black and orange Timex Ironman Triathlon, I got it in 1992 for my 6th birthday. I wanted it for one reason: Indiglo. When you’re six years old, there’s a lot to be said for things that glow in the dark. These days, there are many reasons beyond Indiglo that make this watch a very good choice for an affordable everyday watch. Let’s review the features:
•Plastic case with a stainless steel bezel.
•200m/660ft water resistance.
•Indiglo back lighting technology.
•Solar charging ability with on screen charge indicator.
•Shock resistant to ISO standards.
•100 hour chronograph.
It is obvious that Timex knows this watch is their bread and butter, their focus is in the details. The Timex Ironman Solar Shock is a purebred sports watch that may not have the pedigree of some offerings from Casio or the prestige and class of an automatic, but where it counts, it delivers in spades. The high contrast screen gives you the ability to read the time at a glance and big numbers make awkward angles or copious movement (think: running) a non-issue. The date, including a two-letter day, is shown high on the display and gives you access to the info you need without pressing a button, or worse, filling the screen with tiny symbols. This Timex is a great step forward because of its inclusion of a solar powered movement. The charge symbol is a battery that is displayed in the center of the screen between the date and the time. Solar power is an absolute necessity in a quartz watch as battery changes are annoying and back lights, like Indiglo, can drain conventional power sources quickly. The solar system also puts the watch to sleep when it is not in use or facing a light source to save the reserve, pressing any button or returning the watch to the light will wake it. I do wish that Timex had included the ability for the watch to be calibrated by an atomic signal. Many Casio watches feature this technology and while the Timex is not difficult to set, atomic calibration is great and I can’t help but feel that it is missing from the otherwise full feature set of this watch. Timex has included the standard feature set available in most of their digital watches including a chronograph, timer, and multiple alarms. All of the features are controlled by a set of five buttons including one dedicated Indiglo button and one button located below the screen.
Along with the well designed screen and ample feature set this watch is very well designed for its main purpose, to be worn on a wrist. The case is integrated with the resin strap and carries a fixed shape that sits perfectly on your wrist, sized to fit with a tang buckle and a single holder. Timex shows the innovation that 20+ years of refining the same design brings, for example, the keeper that holds the leftover strap against your wrist has a small plastic tab on the underside that keeps it in place. I hate it when the keeper on my strap wanders up towards the case and the left over strap just hangs free. Timex picked up on this small nuisance and devised a remedy, this type of attention to detail exemplifies a level of polish seldom seen on an entry level watch. It is the winning combination of a critical understanding of how watches are worn, a highly competitive price point, and a strong feature set that differentiates this watch from other cheap digitals. The Timex Ironman Solar Shock is an example of why Timex is still around and why their watches are worn on millions of wrists world wide.
The Timex Ironman Solar Shock is a simple and easy to use digital watch with a wide feature set including a solar powered quartz movement, shock resistant case and Indiglo back light; all for $100. If you are on the hunt for a cheap watch that can handle the day to day stress of the average wrist, look no further.