Timex Waterbury United

A step up in Field Fashion?

Black, cream and blue in 38mm

When I first saw a Timex Waterbury United, I did not know what it was, but it hit the sweet spot for me. It had a field watch appearance, was small—things I like — but was different, more refined in some way Scout, Allied and Mk1?

Then again, they are more classic/vintage, can I say civilian, than some Timex military evoking styles? They can be preppy, too, with striped straps. They do retain that Timex pilot/field flavor, but something is different? I think it is the combination of a slightly thick looking, curvy polished case and dial-distorting box crystal that sets them apart.

I was barely familiar with the Timex sub-classification of Waterbury at the time, so as I researched various Timex lines, trying to hunt down specific watches, I realized there were several types of Waterbury watches in various sizes (38-42mm) and colors. As is often the case with Timex, and especially the Waterbury, it is hard to classify/identify watches. Contemporary to these, are other Waterburys with the same case and crystal that look very different because they have what I call the Waterbury dial compared to the Mk1 dial. At the time of this writing there are several generations of Waterbury, so I had to determine the time frame of these United versions that I liked.

A flash of red and dial distortion signals the United

The date codes on these three watches are from 2016 and 2017, so maybe they are considered Second Generation Waterburys? This 38mm by 45mm case shape was also used on other Waterbury Originals and automatics up to 2018-19.

By the time I saw the 38mm United, it was probably 2020, so they had been out for three or four years selling online or from boutiques. When I looked around the web, in the grey market phase there were few to be had. Eventually some popped up at a much reduced price. I found a black dial version in Spain.

Why do I like these and other Waterburys of this time so much? Size is one thing; at 38mm they are great for my wrist size and style. I don’t like big, visually noisy watches (but there are always exceptions), so small field watch style watches are my bread-n-butter. These have the classic Timex tool-like Arabic numbers I like so much and an inner 24 hr scale. These numbers might just be printed slightly lighter in weight than some of the Allied and Mk1 models? There is no Waterbury type on the dial like most other Waterbury styles.

Black dial TW2P94500

All three have the inner 24 hr numbers in red to go with a red seconds hand, so that is one feature that really stands out. To me the hands-down favorite is the cream dial. Also, the red inner track numbers are easier to read than the red against the black or blue dials. The 12, 3, 6 and nine markers are triangles. But the thing with these watches is the box crystal distorts the edges so much that the triangles can appear as diamonds, which is a subtle interesting detail. This doesn’t happen with the Mk1 domed crystals?

Cream dial TW2P94600

They are date only. The standard small rectangular window with no outline. I believe they use the M905 movement which is normally white number on black and black number on white. What is interesting is on the blue dial Timex chose to use the white background date? With the black dial the date background is black, of course, on the cream, the white background is use.

Blue dial TW2R13400

The hand set on these is like the Allied and Archive Aluminum Mk1 models; a standard Timex Obelsique or Tapered(I’m still not sure what to call it) rather than the Sword type of other Waterburys of this time. I think it has a more vintage feel than the Sword type. The blue and black versions have a polished hand with luminant while the Cream dial has hands painted a silver.

This Waterbury case is stainless and polished. This is a better case than you will find on the Allied, Mk1 and Navi models. It looks thicker than it is. Maybe that’s why they are a step up? The lugs, 18mm apart, are short and quickly curve down so the lug-to-lug distance is just under 45mm. The crown is not signed. The snap on case back is where you find the Waterbury Since 1854 mark. There is also the date code, battery type and model number – which seems to be etched. On an outer circle are the words Stainless Steel, Originals, Indiglo along with the water resistance of 5 ATM. The term Originals is notable, but I am not sure what this term refers to? Lots of Timex watches fall into this category. Timex has a lot of overlapping lines and shared components among watches. I find it very difficult to determine the extent of many lines.

Curvy lugs

Waterbury styles usually come on two-piece leather straps. The United 38mm models come on the solid heavy nylon single-pass strap(US market) with polished and signed buckle that many Timex Archive military style watches use. I think they are great. However, with this short lug, it is a bit of a squeeze to get this thick strap between the spring bar and the case body. Makes one wonder why they decided on this strap? It is sort of stuffed in there and can even bend the spring bars! As this watch was part of the Archive/Mix era, others, especially in the UK or Italy might have purchased these watches on other thinner Timex fabric straps. I like the standard strap so much, that I tend not to experiment much with other straps on these watches so far, but it might breath easier on a thinner strap. There are not as many options out there for 18mm straps as there are for 20mm, but still, I have several 18mm NATO and single-pass option that would be good too. Because this trio is a bit less military leaning style than some other Archive era Timex models, some two-piece vintage leather straps might be the ticket?

There is no luminant on the dial, just the minute and hour hands. But then, there is the Indiglo back light.

I just love these watches. They are the crossover between a Archive Mk1 and a Waterbury Classic. The high box crystal seems to magnify and distort the dial so that it looks like a 40mm dial was crammed into a 38mm case! They are basically a Mk1 or Navi Ocean dial in a Waterbury case and crystal.

38mm Waterbury “redwing”, 38mm United, and 40mm Mk1

Case diameter: 38mm

Crystal: box/domed mineral

Water resistance: 50m

Lug-to lug: 45mm

Thickness: 10.5mm



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