Archive 38s by Sea, Air and Land?: Part 2

Archive Ocean and END. Collabs

Mod Metro Grey, Metro Brown and tumbled Black

Oceans Away

Among all the Timex Archive Navi 38mm subgroups, there is a group called Ocean. While I love all the 38mm styles, these are the ones that really get to me. They have the nice size, the vintage look and are strong in the military field watch vein. With their straight forward dial layouts, they also could be pilot watches.

With pretty much the same case and bezel basics as the Depth and Harbor covered in Part 1, the thing that makes them stand out is the serious tool watch Arabic numbers that give them the look of a dial or gauge. I think the type style and size is so nice. Together with the bezels, there is just enough detail to be captivating. The dials want to tell you the time, now, because something is happening. Maybe the coolest thing about three of these Oceans is the bead blast treatment on case and bezel that gives the a dull warm grey finish — sort of like titanium. Like so many Timex Archive models, they are a mix of retro and modern details that is very appealing.

The Navi Oceans all fall under the Archive banner, I believe. They were further broken down into the subgroups Pioneers and Metropolis. I think they were all released between 2016 and 2018?

The Metropolis collection drew from several styles including the Navi Ocean, the Acadia, and MK1. They feature tinted crystals and bright and/or reversible/reflective straps. Overall, I think the Metropolis treatment was a risky idea because the tinted lenses made the watches hard to read in many examples, which sort of defeats the fundamental purpose of the watch, which is, telling time? These two Oceans, however, are a success with their specific tint treatment. I guess you can give Timex credit for trying to break away form the vintage/military ethic to create a more modern /pop/urban feeling to broaden appeal to a younger group?

Snap fit stainless back
Top tumbled finish, bottom blasted dull finish

Two Navi Oceans I am looking at here are in Pioneers: the navy blue dial/bezel, bead blasted case TW2T13500LG and the black dial/bezel, tumbled stainless TW2T84300. The two Metropolis examples both have the bead blasted case finish. The white dial, black bezel TW2T83500LG has a grey tint crystal. The black dial/bezel TW2R31500WSB has a brown tint.

(author’s note: the model numbers included here are the best that I can determine. Timex model numbers change depending on region of the world that they are sold in and the strap type/color combination)

Blue and Black Oceans

As mentioned before, all the Oceans have the same dial layout with no-nonsense Arabic numbers and a 24-hr inner track. They have a date window at 3 o’clock. Its location may irritate some, since it does not align with the 24-hr track and almost touches the 3! It was probably offset to distinguish it from the 24-hr numbers. On all colors but the navy dial, the date background matches the dial. For some reason they reversed the navy dial version with a white background? It was probably a cost saving move since the movements probably just come in black on white or white on black? The only type on the dial besides the numbers is TIMEX below the 24 hr and WR100M just above the 18. There is a triangle marker on the minute track at 12, 3, 6, and 9.

The hands are simple, straight, medium weight with pencil tips and a narrow strip of lume. The second sweep is clean and straight with no arrow or dot. It has a triangular baton backside. The hands on these watches, again become an important element, for good and bad. On the black and navy dials, they look great: the lower/center part (about 1/3 on the hour and 1/4 on the minute) of the hands are black, so that it makes the outer white rest of the hand appear to be floating and also make the second sweep stand out. They are a disaster on the white dial! Someone decided to make the lower/center part black instead of white and the rest light grey?! They disappear along with the light grey second hand.

Three of the four use a black 12 hour bezel insert with one red dot. The blue dial uses the blue/silver bezel insert , 60 min marked, with triangle, as on the Navi Harbor covered in Part 1. Because these releases were n the Timex Mix phase, you never know what strap you might find these watches on? Different resellers offered them on nylon single-pass, woven reversible, or even leather or denim NATO. My particular navy blue Ocean came in the flat Timex Archive box on a 18mm reversible single-pass faded blue one side, a checkered blue/brown/pattern on the other. It has a faux-aged(love it) buckle. The black one shown here came on the standard 18mm solid black, robust woven nylon with polished/signed hardware.

Navy Ocean, blasted case, reversible
Black on black nylon

Metropolis

Now, the trouble child; The white-dialed Metropolis Ocean. I like a “white” dial on a “diver” style or tool-ish watch. Its just nice to see a negative of the normally black dial with white numbers or markers. Apparently a lot of people do, too. When I was first discovering the Timex Navi spectrum of 38 and 41mm diver styled watches, I immediately was drawn to the ones with a light dial against the dark bezel. I had my sights on a Archive Ocean 38mm a seen on the Timex web site. The first thing I noticed when it arrived is the Metropolis tinted crystal is darker than the web image on the Timex site! From reviews, I noticed several people did not like their new “light” dial watch either…Why, oh why didn’t Timex just make a white or cream dial Archive Ocean, Harbor or Depth with no tint! It would be an instant sell out.

Metropolis Archive Oceans with tinted “lenses”

After further analysis, I realized the problem is not the tint, but the light colored hand set! They are the same as the dial! Its hard to tell the time! Who’s bright idea was this? The whole Metropolis thing is a bold move, and I do think the lighter tints are pretty cool. Again, why? Why put (mostly)light grey hands on a white dial tinted grey when the numbers are black? Were they trying for the hazy effect to make it hard to see? The black dial version with brown tint has white, clearly legible hands and numbers. I suppose, again, that no black hand set in this style existed, so to save money, they threw on the light grey ones!

Factory hands left, modified with Acadia hands right

I tried to love the watch, but it drove me crazy. I sold it and moved on. Then I missed that light dial with grey tinted crystal. I had a plan: get another Ocean then find a Timex that had the same hands in black, and, switch em out! The problem was that there is no other Timex I could find with those hands in black! So I got an Acadia with black hands and had my watch guy switch hands. The Acadia black second sweep would not work on the stem of the Ocean, so I still have the white one. Instantly, its a better watch — I have the light dial, a nice tint and can see the time! I think Timex should allow each owner the option, free of charge, to send in their Ocean to have the white hand set swapped for a black set.

Metropolis brown tint, left, over black and white dial

The brown tint and dull bead-blasted case and bezel of the TW2R31500WSB make for a very interesting watch. The tint gives the white numbers and hands below a brownish-orange appearance as if you are looking through a pair of sunglasses. Its a very unique experience with a watch. Except with these, you can’t take off the sunglasses. Out of the light, the dial numbers look veiled, but it the light, they pop.

END.

Timex is known for it’s many successful collaborations. I thought it would be good to include the one with END. clothing stores in this post. These watches are a nice , more minimalist take on the Harbor/Ocean formula.

END. collaboration 38mm pair

Maybe they could have been included with the Harbor and Depth covered in Part 1 because the have more of a diver feel than field/pilot feel? But, the white one highlights a lot of the points discussed above regarding the white dial Metro Ocean. This is what the white dial Ocean would look like without the tint! The silver and black hands are easier to read on this than the Ocean, but still should have a white center then go mostly black!

Why are they cool? They are cool because they blend details from all the Archive 38s that I already love, yet still manage to add new details for a distinct look to promote END.

They have the tumbled stainless finish of the Navi Depth and Harbor and a similar submariner dial layout. The inner tracks of the others have been eliminated and the bars, dots and triangle slimmed-down to provide lots of space for the END. logo to breathe.

From the Oceans, these collabs borrow the black 12-hr bezel insert and the handset shapes. The difference in the hands is that both black and white dials get a black and silver minute and hour hand and a red second sweep for a pop of color.

These watches came in a wood box with two single-pass straps. One is the dark olive woven nylon with polished hardware while the other was a camouflage pattern.

All the Timex 38mm Navis from this Archive period, the Depth, Harbor and Ocean, have become favorites of mine. Timex managed to draw on multiple influences that I happen to gravitate to; retro diver aspects, military field and /or pilot watch features and an overall tool watch feel. The size is perfect for me too.

Archive Navi Ocean

Case diameter : 38mm

Thickness: 12mm

Lug gap: 18mm

Length Lug to lug: 47mm

Water Resistance : 100m

Movement: Quartz, M901

Crystal: mineral


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