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Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm Watch – $269

So… this new automatic Mod-inspired Marlin feels neither here nor there. Here’s what that means:

  • It’s nice! It’s interesting! It’s got an automatic movement!
  • But it also has a surprising and not ideal amount of “chunk.” It wears larger than the classic 40.5mm Bambino.
  • It has an in-house competitor that beats it at being a cushioned case dress watch (Q Timex 1978), while there are cheaper and better wearing alternatives when it comes to classic, versatile, automatic-driven daily wearers (Orient Bambino).

The Timex Marlin "Mod" with its competitors

The Marlin “Mod” with its competitors.
Left: 37mm Q Timex 1978 – $179 (cheaper and classier, review here)
Right: 40.5mm Orient Bambino Auto Bauhaus – $150 – $200 (just as versatile, wears easier, review here)

It’s not a sports watch. It’s also not going to excel extraordinarily dressed up. It’s sort of neither. And while it’s just fine at what it does, that means by definition it’s great at… being neither.

Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm Watch

Cushioned shape case. 39mm, but wears larger.

The choice of a cushion shaped case instead of the usual round case is a nice stylistic point of differentiation. As is the use of a 24-hour sub-dial at 9 o’clock, although it’s small enough that it doesn’t seem quiet useful (except for being an AM/PM indicator, which is helpful if your watch stops and you want to quickly reset it).

Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm Watch

24-hour sub dial at 9 o’clock because…

But hey, the red seconds hand looks nice! As does the blue hour, minutes, and seconds hands which sweep past the Arabic numerals on the dial. Those hands are powered by a Japanese automatic movement which hacks and hand winds. This might have been just my experience, but I saw and felt some jumpiness with those hands when pulling out the crown to adjust the time. I’m sure the movement itself is rock solid, but there’s something about the operation of it that seems a little uncertain.

Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm Watch

Japanese automatic movement. Mini-window equipped exhibition caseback.

And then there’s the thickness (which is not to be confused with thickfreakness). For a 39mm watch that looks dressy-ish online, it has some unignorable clunk to its overall shape. The specs on the Timex website says it has a 9mm case height, but when compared to an 11.8mm thick Bambino, the Timex is clearly the lumpier one:

Top: 11.8mm thick Bambino.
Bottom: 9mm thick Timex Marlin Mod
Something isn’t adding up here. 

Maybe the case is 9mm if you subtract the tall-domed (acrylic) crystal and thicker mini-exhibition caseback… but that’s like me saying I’ve got a 31″ waist as long as I’ve had nothing but water for the last three days, and haven’t so much as looked at a Chipotle in a month. Sure it may be be true. But it’s not accurate.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm Watch

Domed acrylic crystal.
Case has both brushed and polished surfaces

The leather for the strap is sourced from S.B. Foot Tanning Co. in Red Wing Minneosta, yet the stickers on the rear of the watch indicate said strap was stitched in China. That strap does come with the now almost expected quick change pins, so you can easily swap out to a different (quick-change-pin-equipped) strap, and not have to break out a spring-bar tool to do so.

Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm Watch

Leather is from Minnesota. Quick change spring-bar pins.

This new Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm “Mod” watch is both trying to be a dress watch and a casual watch, yet it’s not really excelling at either. So while it’ll probably find a home on the wrist of someone with a wardrobe and lifestyle that exists in that reality 99% of the time, it’s not gonna find a home in those who might read and like our Double Time “two-watch” series. Because sometimes one gets really dressed up. And other times one is really dressed down. There are also those in-between times.

Would it look great with a suit and dress shoes? Not quite.
What about with jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers? I guess.
And outfits that cover everything in between? Yeah sure.

But there are better (and often cheaper) watches for (all of) that.

If you want a cushion cased dress watch, go across the hall at Timex and get a Q 1978.

If you want something classic and versatile, powered by an automatic movement, get a Bambino.

Both should serve you well while saving you money over the Marlin Mod.

Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic 39mm Watch


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