How do they compare?
One of things in a recent article that seemed to resonate with a lot of you is how a watch makes you feel is more important than the price tag. So, in the spirit of that, let’s put two watches head to head which look very similar, but sit at significantly different price points: the Rolex GMT Master II ‘Pepsi’ and the Timex Q Reissue.
A quick table of contents: first, we’ll take a close look at the Rolex. Then the Timex. I’ll review some similarities and differences between the two, and then we’ll put them head to head in a variety of categories, including quality, reliability, functionality, comfort, style, and price. Let’s get into it!
Rolex GMT Master II ‘Pepsi’
This is the Rolex GMT Master II, ref. 16710. It’s a 40mm steel case on an oyster bracelet. This model has articulated lugs. It’s an automatic movement and the caseback is not see-through.
Moving onto the dial, we’ve got a black dial with hour indices all the way around with the exception of three o’clock where you can see the date window magnified by the cyclops. Hour, minute, and running seconds hands and then, of course, the red GMT hand.
The most distinguishing characteristic of this watch is the bezel and, specifically, the insert. This is the classic red and blue “Pepsi” bezel-blue indicating nighttime and red indicating daytime.
The bezel rotates both ways and is ringed with 24 hours, which is how you would set it to be able to tell time in two different time zones by reading a GMT watch.
On the wrist, this watch wears and feels great. The bracelet is very comfortable. It’s got some heritage as well, introduced in 1954 for Pan Am pilots making intercontinental flights. All in all, it’s a sports watch with an iconic look.
Timex Q Reissue
Next, we have a watch that looks very similar to the GMT, the Timex Q Reissue. This is a modern version of a watch first introduced in 1979 during the so-called ‘quartz crisis’- where a flood of cheap, battery-powered quartz movements saturated the market and forced the mechanical watch industry to reevaluate itself.
This watch has a 38mm stainless steel case and a woven stainless steel bracelet, both 100% true to the original. The case has a brushed appearance on top and a polished finish on the sides.
It is indeed powered by a quartz movement; you can see on the caseback where the battery is housed. The dial is blue and the ‘Q’ above the Timex signature does stand for quartz. Hour indices all the way around except at three o’clock where we’ve got apertures showing both the day and date. There’s an hour hand, a minute hand, and a red seconds hand.
The bezel on the Timex Q Reissue also rotates both ways and is ringed with 12-hour time. We do have the blue and red; however, without a GMT hand, I’m not sure how useful the complication is.
At 38mm, this watch sits really well on the wrist. It’s really a sweet spot, size-wise. It’s comfortable to wear, though the bracelet does seem to catch and pull a bit on my arm hair. It feels substantial, which is unexpected- but certainly pleasant.
Similarities and Differences
After an overview of both watches, let’s take a look at some of the similarities and differences between the two of them.
Both have a stainless steel case and bracelet. Of course, both have hour, minute, and seconds hands. Both have luminescent hour indices. And, both have a multidirectional rotating bezel with the distinctive blue and red colorway.
The Rolex case is 40mm and the Timex 38mm. Rolex’s movement is mechanical, automatic, and the Timex’s is quartz. The Rolex shows the cyclops date window while the Timex has both day and date. Not insignificantly, the Rolex has a GMT hand and the Timex does not.
The bezel on the Rolex displays 24 hours, Timex, 12 hours. Rolex offers their GMT oyster bracelet and the Timex Q Reissue having a woven bracelet.
However, there’s a modification you can do with the Timex Q bracelet a few of you picked up on in the Casio A158W video I did. And that is, if you take the bracelet from the Casio A158W and put it on the Timex, it actually gives it a much closer resemblance to the Rolex.
Head to Head
Now we’re going to see how these watches stack up head to head. We’ve broken it out into six categories.
Quality: It’s kind of hard to objectively compare quality when you’re dealing with watches at such disparate price points. Obviously, if you’re paying a premium, you expect a certain level of quality. But, a piece at a lower price point watch can also be quality. The Timex is certainly quality for what it is, however, the bracelet, in my opinion, cheapens it more than it should. So, a point to Rolex.
Reliability: Although Rolex makes world-class, superlative chronometer movements, a quartz movement will simply be more accurate and reliable. A point to Timex.
Functionality: Both watches have their own set of tools-the Timex Q Reissue has both the day and the date displayed, the Rolex just the date. However, the Rolex’s GMT hand is more unique and useful. So, I’ll give a point to Rolex in the functionality category.
Comfort: Both watches do feel great on the wrist. But, the bracelet on the Timex pulls on my hair. Definitely a point to Rolex for comfort.
Style: From a distance, and especially with the bracelet modification on the Timex, these watches look quite similar. The Rolex is, of course, the original, but the Timex has some fantastic retro styling. So, no clear winner here-we’ll give a point to both.
Price: The Rolex GMT Master II that I have here–the 16710–you can currently find at 12 to $15,000. The Timex retails for 179. No contest on price–a point to Timex.
While Rolex did edge out here, that in no way diminishes the incredible value the Timex Q Reissue offers. So, if a Rolex GMT Master II really isn’t in your price range but you do like the look, I think the Timex is a great alternative.
Which would you choose?
Thanks for reading.