We recently wrote about Timex in a more historical and vintage context when we took a look at the 1973 Timex Electronic and we reviewed the Timex Weekender a couple of years ago. Timex always represented value for the money and has in recent years attempted to extend itself beyond a discount and drugstore brand to a price-conscious mix-and-match fashion watch company. The Weekender was a huge success for the brand, a positive step in their new direction, and the most stylish and elegant watch that $30 of your watch money can buy. Today, we’re going to look at another contemporary and affordable Timex model with some real character to it, the Ameritus Chronograph.
I enjoy a good name for a watch and the Ameritus fits the bill. It plays on the Latin “emeritus,” which means “having served one’s time,” and the trading of an “e” for an “a” enables the name to simultaneously echo the military appeal of the watch and celebrate the brand’s American roots.
As soon as I saw this watch, I immediately reached out to Timex to request a sample. On first sight, I knew this piece was going to share the versatility of the Weekender with a more masculine appearance, and I imagined this chronograph riding on any variety of NATO designs and materials. The orange start/stop pusher on the side of the case begs to be coordinated with your strap selection. The Ameritus Chronograph is without a doubt on the lower end of the types of watches you read about on GMT Minus Five, but I couldn’t resist sharing a write-up. Watch collecting is, to me, first and foremost about the fun of the hobby, and the Ameritus is an enjoyable and easy-to-wear watch. In fact, it’s the perfect weekend warrior or beater.
Case & Dial
The Ameritus features an ion-plated brass case that measures 42mm x 51mm with a flat mineral crystal lens protecting the dial. Because the plating is smooth and reflective, expect the case to be a fingerprint magnet. Despite its robust appearance, there isn’t much heft to the watch at less than 150 grams. At its price point, I wouldn’t expect a weight telling of its craftsmanship and, in fact, given that I see this as an ideal watch for a lazy Sunday around the house, I appreciate the light weight because I don’t want to be constantly reminded of its presence. It should be there when I need it and disappear when I don’t, and that’s exactly what the Ameritus does.
I’m sure the first thing that catches your eye, as it did mine, was the orange chronograph pusher. It’s both a playfully stylish touch on an otherwise serious category of watch and a signal that this watch is fit to be used as an instrument. Your attention–and your finger–should be drawn to the plastic pusher. Both the start/stop and reset pushers require hardly any pressure at all to activate, which means once or twice I found the chronograph running when I didn’t mean for it to.
Legibility is the name of the game on this dial. Its aviation-inspired design executes rather flawlessly and even with a bit of flair I wouldn’t normally expect from a Timex. For example, the way the chronograph subdials partially obscure the 2, 6 and 10 hour markers is visually interesting, and the 4 o’clock date position obscures the 4 while the date wheel features a black background that blends with the black dial.
While I love the way the orange hand on the subseconds dial contrasts with the black and matches the orange pusher, I find the coordination between this hand and the pusher to be a bit misleading as the stopwatch and the subseconds dial have no relationship to one another. Leaving the subseconds hand white and extending the orange to the entire stopwatch seconds hand would have been a more logical choice, if not a bit more bold.
Inside the Ameritus you’ll find a quartz chronograph movement. The most remarkable aspect of the movement is that it allows for you to adjust the hour hand independently. That’s not only super convenient, but unfortunately a bit necessary in this model for two reasons: 1) from what I can tell, moving the hour hand fully around the dial twice is the only way to advance the date, and 2) adjusting the time normally is very slow; full twists of the crown seem to barely move the minute hand at all. However, it’s a quartz watch, and it’s not going to require a lot of time adjustment, so I would hardly let these issues stand in the way of your purchase.
I’m a sucker for Indiglo, and the Ameritus unleashes its bright lights with a simple press of the crown. A gentle press and the dial glows blue for a few seconds, making this watch visible in any lighting condition. The hour and minute hands do have luminous paint on them, too, but they’re like having the porch lights on when it’s noon and sunny outside–you just don’t need them.
Style & Comfort
As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, this watch will shine on any aftermarket strap you can throw at it, but you may not be disappointed by the stock silicon strap. I personally enjoyed its textured design, softness and wearability. Putting it on and taking it off was easy and the loose end of the strap fit snugly and securely in the keepers. If you have any brand new NATOs that you’re dying to wear, the Ameritus is the perfect excuse. Bonus points if you can find ones that take advantage of the orange accents. The orange accents, general dial and case aesthetics and silicon strap relegate this one to more casual wear.
The Final Word
Although the Ameritus retails for $85, I wanted to give this piece as thorough of a review as I would give to a piece that goes for twenty times that. It’s a watch that you can hold next to your Omegas and your Seikos and, despite the areas where it inevitably pales in comparison in mechanical prowess and fit and finish, still wholeheartedly appreciate. It’s an affordable chronograph whose price will never warrant regret. Once you wear it, you cannot deny that it looks and feels good on the wrist. In a world where sophisticated mechanical innovations like triple-axis tourbillons and co-axial escapements are coveted by seasoned collectors, the Timex Ameritus is the ultimate weekend watch that reminds us we don’t have to take the hobby so seriously all the time. We can have some fun with it.
- Model: Timex Ameritus Chronograph #T2P043KW
- Case: 42mm ion-plated brass
- Dimensions: 42mm x 51mm x 12mm
- Dial: Black
- Crystal: Mineral crystal, flat
- Case back: Solid
- Lug Width: 20mm
- Strap: Black silicon
- Movement: Quartz Chronograph w/date
- Water Resistance: 50m
- Retail Price: $85