Timex vs. Seiko – Watch Brands Compared


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Timex and Seiko are two of the most recognized watch brands globally, even people that don’t wear watches are aware of the two brands.

In this article, we will set Timex and Seiko on opposing sides to find out who has the better selection of watches overall. These comparisons are always subjective and open to debate but we’ll try to narrow down the main advantages of each brand and try to point you in the right direction depending on your budget, the style of watch and movement you are looking for. At the end of the article, we’ll give you our vote on which brand we think is the winner in a few specific categories. 

History of Timex

timex logo

Timex is one of the most established and well-respected American watch brands in the industry. Founded in 1854, Timex started and continued to provide its customers with quality yet affordable timepieces, an option they still offer today. While Timex watches come in a wide variety of prices, they are best known for their collection of reliable and affordable quartz watches. 

Timex started manufacturing wristwatches in 1914; their beautifully crafted and uniquely designed timepieces were an instant hit with the masses. With their signature designs like the V-conic and Mickey Mouse design watches, Timex managed to hold their position as one of the most popular watchmakers in the U.S. and around the world.

Timex is also known for developing the first sports watch called the Timex Ironman. This beast of a watch was designed for triathlon and marathon participants and is one of the market’s most durable and rugged timepieces.

Timex is still recognized for its iconic slogan “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” which it started using in TV commercials in 1956.

Timex is considered by many as one of the top entry-level watch brands. Timex has proven time and time again that their timepieces are not only accurate and accessible but also one of the most robust watches around.

History of Seiko

seiko watch logo

Seiko is another famous watch brand that has managed to transcend the industry and become somewhat of a household name. The Japanese watchmaker began as a jewelry shop located in Tokyo, Japan, in 1881. A decade into its business venture, Seiko started shifting its attention to creating watches with the Seikosha clocks as their flagship entry into this market.

By 1924, Seiko again changed its business model shifting its focus and funding to produce wristwatches. Ever since their foray into the watch industry, Seiko has always had an affinity for innovation.

Seiko has been at the forefront of many milestones in the wristwatch industry. They were the first company to introduce the quartz movement watches in 1969 with their Astron series, and this new movement technology revolutionized the watch industry as to what it is today.

Almost a decade later, in 1977, Seiko once again made a wave in the industry by introducing solar-powered watch technology. The ability to accumulate and recharge the watch’s battery through sunlight cemented Seiko as one of the leaders in innovation of the watchmaking industry.

By the late 90s, Seiko once again broke the mold by unveiling their Spring Drive movement technology. This new-fangled tech was designed by Seiko for use by astronauts, earning it entry into the hallowed halls of watches designed for space travel.

Seiko has always been the face of innovation within the watch industry. Watch aficionados should expect more amazing things in the future as Seiko continues to reinvent the wheel. 

Timex and Seiko (along with Casio) are three of the best-selling and most affordable watch brands on the market. Below you’ll find some of our detailed comparisons.

Timex vs. Seiko Watches

Now that you are acquainted with the achievements made by the two brands, it is time to fetch some of their recent best sellers for comparison. What elements does Timex surpass Seiko and vice versa? Let’s find out.

Sports Watches

Timex Full-Sized Ironman Classic 30

Timex Men's T5E901 Ironman Classic 30 Gray/Black Resin Strap Watch
Timex Ironman Classic 30 (Image: Amazon)

The Timex Full-Sized Ironman Classic 30 is an example of excellence in execution. This watch is packed with features that will help wearers keep track of all the necessary information during their activity. The Ironman Classic 30 is also well-constructed and designed to withstand abuse. A perfect companion for marathon/triathlon athletes.

The Ironman Classic 30 features the signature style of Timex combined with a wealth of functionalities essential in a quality sports watch. This sports watch features 30 lap memory and a countdown timer and alarm.

The watch features an incredibly lightweight build and is sealed tight for optimum water resistance. The Ironman Classic 30 comes with a 330 feet water resistance rating, making it ideal for the occasional splashes, but not designed for scuba diving.

One aspect crucial in sports watch is comfort, and the Ironman Classic 30 delivers this in spades. The watch also comes with the Indiglo Light-Up feature with an easy-to-use control. Click here to see the whole Ironman collection on Timex.com.

There is a reason why the Timex Ironman Classic 30 is still a highly recommended sports watch today. It may not provide all modern features, but it brings everything needed to the table like no other. 

Seiko Solar Black Ion Chronograph Watch

Seiko Men's SSC233 Sport Solar Brushed Stainless Steel Watch
Seiko Men’s Sport Solar. (Image: Amazon)

Seiko incorporates some of their most exceptional technological achievements into this sports watch with remarkable results.

This watch utilizes Seiko’s solar-powered technology, ensuring that it will last indefinitely. Also, being a solar-powered sports watch significantly benefits its targeted customers, primarily athletes and outdoor thrill-seeking enthusiasts.

Seiko’s tried and tested Japanese quartz movement within this compact and rugged wristwatch. This allows for optimum precision in telling time. The 44.5mm case is well-constructed and will offer water resistance of up to 330 feet. It also comes with a Hardlex dial window, which is as sturdy as possible.

It also uses a tight nylon band with buckle closure. The nylon feels comfortable and doesn’t chafe the skin, an essential aspect of sports watches.

Also, this is a chronograph watch, with three sub-dials in the bright display. The black and orange color motif is also quite attractive to look at and exudes that bold spirit its marketing is built upon. The Seiko Solar Black Ion Chronograph is an excellent companion for thrill-seekers who require a comfortable and reliable timepiece during intense outdoor activities.

Best Sports Watch – Truth be told, it is a toss-up as to which is the better choice between the two. Timex Ironman Classic 30 certainly holds the lead inconvenience, but the Seiko Solar Chronograph delivers reliability. Do you prefer the comfort and features of a digital sports watch or the durability and precision of a solar-powered chronograph sports watch? Either way, you won’t be disappointed. 

Tactical Watches

Timex T49612 Expedition Shock Digital Watch

Timex Men's T49612 Expedition Shock Digital Compass Olive/Black Resin Strap Watch
Timex Men’s T49612 Expedition. (Image: Amazon)

Tactical watches are designed mainly for outdoor use, and this means that they must be robust and dependable no matter the environment and weather.

The Timex T49612 Expedition certainly delivers on both accounts. This is packed with heavy-duty features, expect it to be slightly bulky with a 48mm resin case. However, while it looks like it is built like a tank, it does not feel like it. It is, in fact, a surprisingly lightweight yet robust digital watch.

See the whole Timex Expedition collection here on Timex.com

It is also packed with all necessary features for outdoor use, such as a built-in compass (based on 16 cardinal points) and a 100-hour chronograph function.  The dial also utilizes an Indiglo night-light feature for use in the nighttime.

The resin case is also well assembled and can provide water resistance of up to 660 feet. The digital display takes up much of the dial, which is as it should be, providing wearers with optimum time visibility and other essential details.

Seiko Prospex Fieldmaster SBEP005

SEIKO Prospex Fieldmaster LOWERCASE SBEP005
SEIKO Prospex Fieldmaster (Image: Amazon)

One of Seiko’s most popular tactical watches is the Prospex Fieldmaster series. While Seiko’s digital watches are not as well-known as Casio’s, Seiko is still a force to be reckoned with in this category.

The Prospex Fieldmaster SBE005 is designed for heavy use in the outdoors, and this is why it also comes with Seiko’s solar-power technology.

The solar-powered capability of the Fieldmaster can provide wearers of up to 20 months in power-save mode and five months with regular use.  It is also well-equipped for water activities as the Fieldmaster is designed with a water resistance of up to 200m.

While it sports a 49.9mm diameter case, the Fieldmaster still offers a comfortable experience with its well-balanced design and a durable silicone band with buckle. Also, since this is a Seiko watch, it uses the always reliable Japanese quartz movement for high precision time-keeping.

Best Tactical Watch – These tactical outdoor watches provide almost similar functionalities and near-identical features. However, the Timex Expedition appears to get a slight advantage when all available features are considered. 

While not a huge lead, the Timex Expedition manages to get to the finish line first with its more well-rounded functionalities. If there is one thing that the Seiko Prospex Fieldmaster has that surpasses the Timex Expedition, it is with its impeccable solar-powered feature.

Conclusion: Timex vs. Seiko – Who has the Better Watch?

We’ve found ourselves in a pickle here. As I enjoy both Timex and Seiko watches almost equally, it is difficult to determine which one is the definite winner. Both Timex and Seiko provide an excellent choice of timepieces that range from casual tactical watches to dressy automatics.  If you’re looking for an affordable quartz dress watch, for example, it’s tough to declare a clear-cut winner here.

Price = Timex

Timex beats out Seiko on price, especially if your price range is under $100, Timex is one of the dominating brands. You can find a wide range of everyday Timex watches of under a hundred and even in the sub $100 category. The Timex Weekender, Easy Reader, South Street and Waterbury – these are all great quality quartz watches with many in the $50 range. You won’t find any Seiko watches that compete on price. For an entry-level Seiko, you’re looking at at least $100. 

Dive Watches – Seiko

While Timex does have some decent dive watches including their Navi collection, they really don’t compete with Seiko when it comes to pro divers. Seiko has a wide variety of professional dive watches including their PADI dive watches. If you’re looking for a dive watch with 200m water resistance, screw-down crown, and other dive features you’d be better off looking at a Seiko Turtle or Samurai or other Seiko collections rather than Timex which is limited when it comes to divers.

Digital Watches – Timex 

While Seiko does have a few digital and some good ani-digital watches, this is really where Timex outdoes Seiko. Timex has such a long history and wide selection of digital watches including many reiterations of the Ironman and Expedition models that they are the clear winner in this category. Seiko doesn’t even complete in this range. A better comparison here would be Timex vs Casio since they both compete in this area.

Automatics –  Seiko

If you’re looking at relatively affordable automatics, the limited Timex selection (Waterbury, Marlin, etc) falls short of the wide collection of Seiko Automatics. Seiko excels in this category with many good automatics – Presage dress watches, Prospex dive watches, Seiko 5 automatic sports watches, etc.

Summary:

Timex and Seiko have both been making watches for over 100 years with broad collections, so this is very hard to summarize in one short article but hopefully, we’ve helped give you a good overview of the brands and help narrow down your buying decision. If you’re looking for a low-budget watch, especially the digital variety or an affordable everyday dress watch – Timex has the edge. If you have a slightly higher budget and want a professional dive watch or automatic movement then Seiko would be the better brand to consider.

If you are still interested, check our picks for Best Seiko Watches and Best Timex Watches here.