As watchmakers scramble to jump on the smartwatch bandwagon and attempt to steal a sliver of market share away from Apple, Timex has decided to take the opposite approach. The company has dug into its archives and revived the T80, an iconic digital watch from the ‘80s whose only smart feature is retro styling.
Even Google has struggled to compete with the Apple Watch, and it’s the company behind the Wear OS operating system that powers the vast majority of non-Apple smartwatches. But does everyone need a watch that does almost everything their smartphone already does? If the idea of strapping yet another glowing distraction to your wrist makes you want to escape into the wilderness and live out your life in a secluded, disconnected log cabin, the Timex T80 might as well be a wearable middle finger directed at smartwatches.
Ironically, while the revived T80 seems primitive as far as digital watches go—with a black on grey seven-segment LCD display and time, date, alarm, and stopwatch functions plus an Indiglo backlight—it would have probably had the same effect on snobby watch connoisseurs and collectors in the ‘80s as smartwatches do today. But as a tech-obsessed six-year-old in the early ‘80s, I remember being utterly fascinated with even basic digital watches like these. Companies like Casio and Timex made some of the only tech that was accessible and affordable to me at that age, and I can remember often having playground bragging rights because my new watch included features like a calculator, the ability to store 10 phone numbers, and other functions I realistically never actually used.
The Timex T80 ranges in price from $US59 ($86) to $US65 ($94) depending on what colour and style of case and stainless steel band you opt for. For an extra $US14 ($20) you can also splurge and grab the $US79 ($115) Timex X Pac-Man versions featuring graphics inspired by the video game surrounding the LCD display’s generously sized bezel. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually play Pac-Man, you’ll need to make peace with smartwatches if that’s a feature that’s important to you.
Editor’s Note: Australian pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed.