A vintage-inspired Timex mechanical watch just became an Internet sensation after it debuted on the Waterbury, Connecticut-based watch company’s website. The model, Timex M79, is an automatic movement that rides in the slipstream of its wildly popular sibling from last year, the Timex Q quartz.

The Timex M79 has the Batman bezel

It’s hard to explain the popularity of this watch without the context that the Rolex’s GMT ‘Pepsi’ model provides. Launched in 2018, the Rolex GMT soon became one of the most sought-after watches on the planet. With its iconic bi-color GMT bezel, the watch’s waiting list currently runs into years although it is still available at well-above market rates if you know where to look. So when Timex launched the Q quartz model in May 2019, collectors instantly took a shine to it. Here was an affordable watch that riffed on a popular design but had enough design chops to stand on its own.

A bi-color GMT-inspired bezel, a woven steel bracelet, a domed acrylic crystal and a price tag under AED1,000 (it was about $180) meant this flew off the shelves before you could say ‘waitlist’. And as much as the Rolex GMT and the Q Timex was aimed at two very different audiences, it cut across all sections of the watch collecting community. Everyone wanted one, soon enough retailers were drawing up waiting lists for the Q Timex too.

The watch is powered by the Miyota 8205 movement

You don’t need to be a product marketing genius to figure out that iterations of this model would do well too. And what about a mechanical version? That would fly too. And that’s exactly what they’ve done with the Timex M79 now. The ‘M’ here stands for mechanical while 79 is a reference to the year 1979 when the first Q Timex model was introduced.

The M79 follows the same style codes as the model from last year. The case though is upsized to 40 mm from the 38 of the quartz model. And then there’s the bezel. Just like Rolex followed the red and blue ‘Pepsi’ bezel with the blue and black ‘Batman’ last year, Timex has introduced the blue and black color scheme for the bezel. Strangely enough, the bezel has a 60 minute marking as opposed to the 12 hour bezel of GMT models.

The woven steel bracelet of the M79

Since the original model came out in the 1970s, the M79’s design echoes the lines of steel sports watches that were produced in that era. The case is thicker now that it houses an automatic movement, the profile is a good 14.5 mm thick. Timex has used a Miyota 8205 movement to power the M79.  It has a power reserve of 40 hours and is visible thanks to the exhibition caseback.

Once everyone was aboard the hype train, it was only a matter of time before the initial lot were sold out online from the brand’s website in just a few hours. To be fair, I can see the appeal – even if you were down to buy a Rolex GMT, this is a fun little watch to own (it’s only priced at $279) while you wait for your Rolex dealership to call you.