TIMEX x Todd Snyder Reissue of a Classic & Iconic 1950s Marlin - Japan Exclusive, March 2016.
This is a superb watch resulting from a collaboration between TIMEX Japan and Todd Snyder. It is the re-issue of a 1950s Marlin that was released March 2016 in Japan only. Released at the same time in Japan were two others, the TIMEX x Snyder Mod Watch, and the Military Watch, both of which were later released in the US. This Marlin was never sold outside of Japan. I just managed to obtain a mint copy, April 2018.
The history of Snyder's collaboration with TIMEX is very interesting, dating as far back as the 2008. The history and trajectory of Snyder himself as a designer is also very interesting, and it is worth noting that both the development of the TIMEX x Snyder watches, as well as the history of the Snyder's retail presence, is closely tied to Japan. More on this later.
BTW, this is Alan, and thanks for your interest in these reviews. I can be reached by email. I would like to talk a little bit about the original TIMEX that inspired this re-issue. I'm not sure of the exact date, but for the sake of it, I will say it's "from 1954." The Marlin at that time was a relatively new model of "TIMEX" from the US Time Corporation, and was promoted as a sturdy watch; dustproof, waterproof, shockproof. See further below, a portion from a larger ad, March 1953, suggests that the Marlin would be good for a mechanic. Here is the entire ad from where that was taken.
Two pics above of the original dial. It's got green radium-painted hours, TIMEX and WATERPROOF (in red, I love this) on the dial. There are 60 sec/min hash marks at the periphery of the dial, with numbers every 5. At the far bottom is written MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN. It is hard to show in photos, there are fine vertical striations on the portions of dial central to the hash marks
(The TIMEX x Snyder Marlin comes with a nice, NATO-style leather strap, shown above, with TIMEX signed buckle. Photo is not mine, was found at a sales site that no longer had any stock, and sorry I can't find the site now.)
So, why recreate this TIMEX? What was special about it? Well, short story is that a 1998 "corporate history" book, was commissioned by TIMEX, and written by Kathleen McDermott. "Timex: A Company and its Community 1854-1998," featured this Marlin on its cover. Before I learned of the book, I was interested in vintage watches, but had no interest in TIMEX. I first saw "the Marlin" on the cover of a watch magazine in a Borders bookstore. I think it was WatchTime. It was the same image as on the cover of McDermott's book, and I was immediately drawn to this watch. I soon learned of the book, and delved into TIMEX. At that time, ~1999, there wasn't any organized online interest in TIMEX, and I started the (now long since closed) "Vintage Timex Forum," at the Network54 hosting platform. This gradually attracted a good number of others with interest in Vintage TIMEX who had never really had a place to share information. It was a great place to share info, pics, learn, etc.
This "1954" Marlin, with it's crisp, utilitarian looking design soon became the "iconic' watch of the community of collectors. TIMEX, in November 2001, sold a reissue of this Marlin, which was initially sold through the Target stores in the US, and then later online. Link to my 2001 review of that watch. This quartz Marlin was in many ways quite faithfully reproduced. Some links to that Target x Timex (haha) later in this review.
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(All pics of the Marlin on this page will be of my watch, unless stated.) Have a look at the dial and hands, in the pics above and below, and in large magnified image at the page header. I'll hold off on comments or descriptions for now, but have a good, detailed look at everything. It is really a finely made dial.
This reissue Marlin comes in a great box, that has an outer sleeve, and pictured above an inner box that opens sort of like a book. It is very similar to the boxes used for the series of watches TIMEX Japan made in collaboration with BEAMS BOY and Engineered Garments, although the Snyder TIMEX boxes have a textured fabric or fabric-like surface. Here's an example of the other boxes. I really love these boxes. I know they are just boxes, but they do enhance my overall enjoyment of it all.
The above two watches were mine, the iconic '50s Marlin. You can see the one which is whole has some circular scratches on the dial where the hour hand has chronically rubbed over the decades and made the scratches. It should not do this of course, and was somehow set wrong, too close to the dial. It was the first Marlin I got. Back then, no seller, I mean *no* seller on ebay used the word Marlin in any auction. You just had to sift through hundred, thousands of auctions with generic descriptions until you found it. It did not come up often. I did manage to be lucky enough to find and win a second one with a much better dial. This one had a nonworking movement, though, so I used my amateur skills to take apart what was needed, and swap out the parts to fit the better dial to the working movement.
The thing to remember about all of the TIMEX x Todd Snyder Re-Issue watches is that there never has been a stated goal to reproduce, as closely as possible, the look of the original vintage watch. The November 2001 Marlin reproduction from TIMEX x Target stores did appear to attempt that, down to the case size, and I think they did a pretty good job at it. More recently, in the fall of 2017, TIMEX released a reissue of a 1965 Marlin model, using a mechanical movement was well, and this was superbly done, really quite an exquisite job. Here is my review of that 1965 Marlin reissue.
Rather, the TIMEX x Todd Snyder collaborations use the original model as a starting point, with emphasis on really very good dial reproduction as a centerpiece, and allowing artistic and design latitude in case size, materials, straps, hands, and other features. You could call them a "fresh take," a modern interpretation of a classic. I have reviewed other TIMEX x Todd Snyder watches, and if you're interested, here are some of the links:
Here is the outer sleeve that the inner grey box slides into. Embossed on the front TIMEX RE-ISSUE X TODD SNYDER NEW YORK. Below, the retail sales tag. The first Todd Snyder store in Japan opened in 2014, and this eventually expanded to a total of four stores. You can see the watch retailed for 16,000 yen.
I really don't feel like I've said enough about the dial, so far. As I've mentioned, a hallmark of the TIMEX x Todd Snyder re-issues, in my opinion, is an extremely high quality, superbly done dial. The main color tone is the golden background, with the fine vertical striations. The original had a definite color to this area, distinct from the white outer chapter, and on some pictures it's more apparent than others. But it was more subtle; the background here is more bold, and I really like it. The gold color stops just before the hashmarks, and then the outer aspect is white. The TIMEX signature is in the same font as the original, and WATER RESISTANT in the same font and relative proportion to the rest of the dial, as the original WATERPROOF. And in a brilliant red, like the seconds hand. I love that red. Someone made a decision, back in the 1950s, to make it red. But also, the hour numbers, THE NUMBERS. So wonderfully and faithfully done, with crisply applied green paint, bordered by a very thin but even black border. And TODD SNYDER tastefully signed at the very periphery of the bottom of the dial.
Below, one more look at my 1954 Marlin, final appearance after my homemade restoration / movement & dial swap procedure. After all these years, I still find it a gorgeous looking watch.
The Marlin reissue is larger than the '50s original, but smaller than some other TIMEX x Todd Snyder watches. The horizontal case diameter without the crown is 37 mm. The Mod Watch, shown alongside it here, is 40 mm across. Notice also the Marlin is thinner, in keeping with the small proportions, and the case designs appear very similar. (The original 1950s Marlin case was, I think, about 32 mm.
Notice another thing here. The case of the Marlin is darker in appearance than the "white steel" case of the Mod, Blackjack, Military Watch, and other Snyder collaboration watches. It's not uniformly matte "black" or anything, but a kind of darker steel, sort of antique looking metal, with a very subtle hit of a coppery color. very subtle. The crown (was well as the metal hardware on the strap) keep the same metal tone.
Below two pics show the 37 mm Marlin stacked over a 40 mm Snyder x TIMEX Military Watch (also obtained from Japan, will be reviewed soon!). What a difference 3 mm makes. You can really appreciate the size difference. Also, in the first picture in particular you can probably better detect the more dark appearance to the case.
Auction listing where I obtained this watch, in April 2018. (Japan Yahoo Auctions.)
Twitter promotion from the Fuji Daimaru department store, April 12, 2016. This promo was posted soon after the watches dropped. Fuju D must have been a stockist for the Todd Snyder TIMEX watches.
I plan on exploring this further below, in as great a detail as I have been able to find out. But for now, all three of these watches, the Marlin, along with the larger Mod and Military Watches, were first shown at Paris Fashion Week, and (if I am not mistaken) dropped at the retail level in March or April 2016 as Japan exclusive TIMEX x Snyder products. Whether they were sold through Todd Snyder retail shops (and toddsnyder.jp) and other retailers, is uncertain, but it seems at least Fuji Daimaru was a stockist. It's also unclear how many of the Marlins were produced.
What is clear is that the Mod Watch and the Military Watch, within a few months, were selling in the US through Todd Snyder New York. The Mod Watch dropped on July 7, 2016 and all stocks were bought out in under 24 hours (fortunately for the rest of us, more batches have been reproduced.) What is also clear is the 37 mm Marlin was never sold through Todd Snyder US retail, and as far as I can tell was Japan-only retail. I really wish I knew how many were produced...
The supplied strap is made of leather, and is of the NATO-style. You can see it's a slightly reddish tan color, and the outer surface has a fine texture, not really a suede, but not a totally smooth shiny leather. The buckle is signed TIMEX, and along the back of the "extra part" of the NATO that keeps the watchback from fully contacting your skin, it's embossed TIMEX.
You can see along the edge of the strap, there is applied that kind of "rubber" or maybe "urethane" or whatever that sealing material helping to keep the integrity of the strap. The case is not fixed-lugs, there are springbars, and if you wanted to you could wear a conventional two-piece watchband, but this is comfortable and looks good, so for now I'm keeping it like this.
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS. I was not expecting this. I was at work (I work in a semi-darkened environment) and just on a whim I shined a bright LED light at close range, and then shut off all lights, to see if maybe the hands were luminescent. That was at most what I was expecting. But to my great surprise, and even greater delight, I saw that, in addition to the hands, *the paint for the hours on the dial are made from luminescent material!* Just like the 1950s original, which used paint containing a mixture of radium and a phosphor, the paint for this modern Marlin re-isssue uses light-activated material. That the design for this would include that completeness of the reproduction was really quite satisfying. The above pic was taken with a blue background light on. (Not an ultraviolet or "black light, but literally a blue colored light at low levels that I think is supposed to keep people emotionally regulated in dark environments.) I don't really notice it but it was on when I took the pic. Second pic I manually shut if off. and the only light in the room was from a computer screen.
Caseback, steel. the 27 etched in the back indicates March 2016 production, according to this source. The N after the 27 I think must mean either "new" or "next," to indicate the next round of numbers. As you can see a the top of this chart, 01-96 have been used already in the 1980s and 1990s, so this would be round 2 of those numbers. The caseback is signed TIMEX, but does not have TODD SNYDER NEW YORK, as on my TIMEX x SNYDER Mod Watch, shown here, I'm not sure if all the US retailed Todd Snyders have this signage. I do know that my Blackjack does, and my other Snyder I obtained from Japan, the Military Watch, does not. Here is a pic showing on the left the back of the Military Watch, (production date also March 2016,) next to a second Mod Watch I bought (production, November 2017). Above, UPC code and other product information, on back of outer case. Notice it was categorized as belonging to the EXPEDITION line of watches. I think all watches need a category, for inventory and classification purposes; the November 2017 reissue of the 1965 Marlin was in the category CLASSICS, seen here. Below, the retail tag, flipped over to show a nice semi-glossy, ribbed appearance.
Todd Snyder, TIMEX, and Japan.
The above photo is from: "First Look at the 'Reissue' Collection from Todd Snyder and TIMEX," in this trade publication, Feb 28, 2016. It is a brief report about the three watches pictured, the Mod (called Bullseye in Japan,) the Military Watch, and the Marlin. They went on sale March 18th, 2016 as indicated in this site: HOUYHNHNM, The Magazine for the Hip.
Google machine translation Japanese to English, a sales site, at the time, for the Marlin:
"This model was sold in the 1950's and was designed, it is index of fluorescent paint on the classic gold dial, the second frame is on the white frame, and the contrast with the red of the second hand is classic but a modern impression It is finished. Marlin is made in each age as a standard model, but this design also adopts a rare model even at Timex's vintage market."
(Sorry, before I forget, I just realized that so far I haven't shown any decent pictures of crown, so let me just do that right now. Have a look, below, two pics. It's an unusual type of crown, pretty cool. In addition the usual raised "triangle" grippy bits, there are two grooves or channels cut to create three equal-width tracks of grippy triangles. Being a quartz watch, you won't use the crown much, but I like the detail)
Todd Snyder has a history with TIMEX, with prior watch collaborations. Todd Snyder was raised in Iowa, and then moved to New York to pursue fashion & design. He worked for Ralph Lauren, Gap, and then J. Crew, where he became head of menswear design. While at J. Crew, he opened the "Liquor Store," a one-off J. Crew men's boutique housed in an actual old liquor store in Tribeca (2007 or 2008?). I visited the Liquor Store once, circa 2009, and bought a stainless steel hip flask.
In 2008, or as it says on the caseback "CIRCA 2008," J. Crew released a collaboration wristwatch with TIMEX, a military styled quartz watch that surely had design input from Snyder (who has long been an enthusiast of vintage watches). I bought one of these back then, it's quite nice, and you can see it at this link. I'm pretty sure there were at least two more J. Crew TIMEX, but I only have the first one.
Todd Snyder left J. Crew, and in 2011 launched his own eponymous brand. I'm uncertain what stockists he sold through early on, or if there was online sales, but there was early interest in Japan. In 2012 there was a Todd Snyder pop-up shop in Japan, and as far as I know that was the first stand-alone Todd Snyder retail presence.
Todd Snyder's SoHo "City Gym" shop followed in November 2013, and then in March 2014, in Tokyo, the Todd Snyder "Townhouse" opened up, a proper shop in Tokyo's posh Aoyama neighborhood. The Townhouse was inspired by the all-in-one men's haberdashery, similar to the J. Crew Liquor Store. There were eventually a total of four such Snyder Townhouse shops in Japan, bringing to Japanese men, if not exactly "Ivy League," but the same American style and, really, lifestyle, that the Japanese have been variably seeking for probably seventy years. (Further reading on this: Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style.) After becoming further established in Japan, Snyder's collaboration with TIMEX resumed. With TIMEX Japan, he collaborated in creating a Japan-exclusive black dial TIMEX in the model of the brand's "Weekender" series. Maybe this was 2014 or so? Then, in early 2016 there was collaboration with Snyder, TIMEX and Red Wing shoes to bring out this Waterbury Chronograph. This followed, as mentioned above, in the creation of the three watches that were shown at Paris Fashion Week: the Mod Watch, the Military Watch, and watch being reviewed here, the Marlin. Again, they were released in Japan initially on March or April, 2016.
The same summer, the Mod and Military Watch were released in the US, July 7, 2016. The Mod Watch sold out its initial production run in less than 24 hours.
This Marlin was never released outside of Japan.
Wrapping up the Todd Snyder timeline, the New York Todd Snyder store opened in December 2016. There are now many TIMEX x Todd Snyder watches, and you can see them at toddsnyder.com.
These are all Marlin models, from this 1950s ad. the one on the left, without a seconds hand, sold for $9.95. The one on the far right with a seconds hand and "Radiolite" radium dial and hands, sold for $11.95.
I think I am going to wrap things up here. In summary, this is a TIMEX x Todd Snyder Marlin model manufactured in March 2016. As far as I can determine, this was a Japan exclusive TIMEX, and did not sell as retail anywhere else. I'm grateful to have this, and I have been really enjoying it. In particular, it is nice to have this bolder, modern recreation of "the" classic vintage TIMEX that so many of us fell in love with the moment we saw it, back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It's a great homage watch to a truly iconic TIMEX.
Thank you for your interest in these reviews. I hope you have enjoyed it. Alan