Timex Mk1 Collections Part 3

A Unique Set of MK1s: Archive Pioneers

The Timex 40mm Archive Pioneers Mk1s

With this post I want to complete the final part of my attempt to outline the various 40mm and 42mm MK1 types that Timex released from roughly 2017 to 2019. In Part 1, I covered the Aluminum MK1s. In Part 2, the Steel Mk1s. There are some other steel and plastic 36mm watches as well as some newer Todd Snyder collaborations that use the MK1 name, but I think they will be covered better as separate subjects.

I call this group of MK1s the Archive Pioneers Mk1s. They may be my favorite of all the Mk1s? They are all 40mm and have familiar aluminum cases, but the dials and hand sets have been embellished with more details and the 3-hand versions have a different movement with the addition of a date. They all have the Indiglo back light and an acrylic box crystal. These are probably the hardest Mk1s to find because they were not produced in as many numbers. The Brown case version has been, probably, the easiest to find remaining on the grey market. The chronograph is hardest to find.

This sub-group or Mk1s is easier to document because I only know of four basic options. There are not the 20+ versions each outlined for the Aluminum and Steel groupings. These four versions use the same cases and crowns as the other Aluminum Mk1s. There is a Black , a Brown and a Silver case for the 3-hands and a Black for the chronograph. There may be more reference numbers out there indicating different straps, but those are the case options I know of. Of the three, my favorites are the Silver and the Brown since I normally am not drawn to the all-black look.

To me, the Pioneers group is a sub-group of the Archive Collection (disparate on its own) and encompassed not just MK1s, but Allied and Navi and maybe other lines. The watches that fall under this sub-group are some of my most favorite Timex watches. Timex marketing has always seemed vague to me? It can be very hard to categorize watches. Products just float in and out of production with little or no warning. When and where they choose to target marketing efforts is a mystery. Only if something is a standout smash hit are they hyped and then more produced. Then, maybe more versions arise. Take the Q re-release as an example.

The Pioneers esthetic was more retro and emphasized some special straps and some case finishing (Allied) techniques. As for these Mk1s, there were some very nice straps in this group that are not found elsewhere. No unique case finishing. But mostly, it is the dials of this group that stand out.

TW2T41300, Black case, black dial, black woven strap

I really don’t know what reference number to use on these watches! They were mostly sold in the UK and the US, but I’ve seen so many different numbers for these that I can’t decide what to call them. Also, in the UK they are called “Campers” as much as “MK1″s. I’ll start with the one that I will call Black/Black/Black, using TW2T41300. It has the same black aluminum case and polished silver crown as other aluminum Mk1s. Let’s look at all the changes to the dial of this and the others because these Mk1s look least like the “Camper” face. The number set is different, if you look closely-especially the 4. The hand set is different. It is a syringe shape like as used on the Allied Archive models but has a black base then turns white and is filled with green lume. (Only one MK1 I know of, the TW2T68200 3-hand and TW2T68000 Chrono, had hands like this shape.) The second sweep is black and tipped in red with no lollipop. The hour markers are painted lume squares in place of the triangles on most MK1s. I call it a more A17 look, like military spec in the 1950s. Outside of the hour markers is a seconds/minutes track marked in red at intervals of five. The dial itself is matte “black”, but depending on light can look almost a charcoal.

The type on the dial has TIMEX under the 12/24 track then CALIBER M905 where regualr MK1s have INDIGLO printed. At the bottom of the dial we get ARCHIVE and WR 30M. The M905 is significant because Timex is usually does not disclose the movements even in its specs. It also signals this watch has a date complication. No other 3-hand 40 mm MK1s have a date. This date complication may be a curse as well as a blessing? I have experience in the past with preowned Timex movements that have date wheels that don’t advance. I don’t know enough about these movements do discuss the specific date wheel problems. The M921 chronographs, do have a date, too. WR 30M is also a reminder these are not field watches in the true sense. Some of the steel MK1s do indicate a WR of 50M on their backs but some are 30M? The ARCHIVE type appears on all the Pioneers sub-group, but not all Archive watches, I think? Definitely not on the other Mk1s.

Typical Mk1 left, Archive Pioneer Mk1 right

So, when you look at these dials, the hands stand out as do the red details, and the square hour markers. If you have looked at a lot of other regular MK1s, these dials may seem a bit more crowded.

The black woven “chevron” stitch, single-layer style strap of the TW2T41300 is unique to these and is also seen in a Olive version that came with some Silver case versions. It is a loose weave and slightly shiny. This black strap has black PVD hardware and is signed with TIMEX on the buckle. It works for these light weight aluminum cases.

Black woven strap

Next up is the Brown case version I will label as TW2T83800 and call Brown/Green/Green. The case is brown aluminum. The dial is a dark Olive Drab. Other wise the details of the dial are the same as described above for the black version. This reference came with a green twill single-pass strap similar to the fabric used on the two-piece strap of the Todd Snyder MK1s. Trouble is, I’m not sure if I have that strap? These watches have been sold on a variety of Archive straps including denim and leather, and I have used several after market straps on these watches.

TW2T83800 on twill/leather strap

In this image the dial looks black, but I assure you it is not. Below the on the wrist shot shows a truer dial color which I call Olive Drab.

TW2T83800 on canvas 2-piece
Brown case Mk1 on RSM adjustable

Straps are a big part of the Archive MK1 experience for me and I want a military feel to them. With the crowns being polished silver, they work with silver hardware that is common to most after market straps. None of the original Timex straps offered on the Brown case Aluminum Archive had the brown hardware like on the original Brown Aluminum MK1 ,TW2R37600, NATO strap. But, If you have that watch/strap combination, you could use that NATO with this watch. I love a strap with hardware to match the case, but it is practically impossible to find after market straps with hardware to match the various Timex finishes that are not brushed or polished stainless. The above image shows this MK1 on a RSM Vintage Military Green adjustable single pass. This strap is also available with black PVD hardware. It has a nice color and texture to go with this watch dial and case. Even more fun is their 2-piece vintage military with distressed hardware.

Now let’s have a look at the Silver case TW2T13800. Because I love this matte silver case and the dial details and hand set of the Archive Mk1s, this one may be my favorite of all Mk1s.

TW2T13800, Silver case, black dial, grey-green woven strap

This silver case/black dial has come on several straps across various markets and boutiques. There was the mentioned chevron or herring bone weave, like the black or this 20mm grey-green waffle weave NATO with matte silver hardware.

It feels similar to the cotton straps from CNS or the vintage RSM strap above. Seems to be a polyester blend? I think I have seen it in tan from Timex, possibly? It is one of my favorite straps and will probably never leave this watch. This strap was not part of the general Archive/Mix lot of straps. I believe it only came on these Archive Pioneers Mk1s.

I wish Timex would continue to produce and sell many of these and other Archive straps with matching hardware for replacements. I think there is a market out there? It could be that they do not expect the watches to out-live the straps? Timex never stops. They keep churning out hundreds of new designs in this segment of style watches. After two or three years, they won’t even be able to repair most of these references much less have replacement straps available.

TW2T22300 40mm Aluminum Archive Pioneers Chronograph

The black chronograph, TW2T22300, for this group is one of a kind. There were no Brown or Silver cased Archive Pioneers Mk1 chronographs. I guess Timex did not feel the need to add more 40mm aluminum chronographs into the already diverse mix. Understandable, but since these are my favorite Mk1s, I would like a chronograph version of the Silver and Brown, too! This case and movement is the same as the 40mm black Aluminum chronographs like the TW2R81400. Again, the different lume-filled hands and the black/red second sweep hand change the overall look of this Mk1. The type CHRONOGRAPH and CALIBER M921 also distinguish this watch from the regular 40mmMK1 black Aluminum chronographs.

Typical Aluminum Mk1 40mm Chrono left, Archive Pioneers Chrono right

This watch was sold on different straps such as a green woven or a brown leather NATO type. I would like to get one of the green woven NATO I have in photographs and not seen on any other watch. This watch is a Timex classic; a good-looking , compact chronograph. If you are a MK1 collector, this is a unique model to add to your collection, if you can find one.

Barton 20mm canvas 2-piece quick-release straps of any color work great with Timex Mk1s if you don’t like the single-pass or NATO type strap.

This wraps up my three part overview of the many types of Time MK1 40 mm and 42mm watches. They are some of the most popular Timex watches of what I refer to as the Archive Era from 2017 to 2020. They have an iconic presence in the Military Fashion realm as well as street culture of this time. I hope it helps break down the main groups and identify specific models. I know for myself, it has been confusing to sort out so many different MK1s found individually online since often they are mislabeled or have mismatched images and specifications. Preowned MK1s often have had the original straps replaced making it harder to identify models on the fly. To make things worse, Timex does not seem to place importance on offering any historical classification information or data on its official websites. They treat their product lines as passing, ephemeral things that just fade away as they move on to the next popular trend. Fashion does tend to come back around, so maybe we will see a MK2 series. Military/vintage fashion may be fading, but I can’t tell if the general need for retro designs is? Timex seems to be shifting to Environmental Concerns themes such as recycle/reuse products, which is a good thing. Maybe they can put more effort into finding ways to profit from keeping older lines in use and newer models less disposable.


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