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Timex Expedition Rugged Core Analog Field Watch Review

The Expedition line of watches from Timex are some of the most popular budget watches on the market, and have been for some time. There’s a good reason for that. They’re handsome, well-made watches that outmatch most competitors in their price range. 

Having recently sung the praises of the Timex Expedition Scout—an old favorite of mine—I’m back today with one of its relatives, the Timex Expedition Rugged Core. It’s another impressive offering that usually costs somewhere around $40.

Timex Expedition Rugged Core: First Impressions

The Expedition Rugged Core has a chunky, blocky look to it. But it also brings a versatile, you-can-wear-it-anywhere vibe that doesn’t restrict it to outdoor pursuits. Sure, it’s a field watch with a straightforward, military-esque style that makes it both rugged and readable (there’s also a bit of dive watch aesthetic in the design), but you can just as easily wear it to the office and out to dinner. 

The weight and size of the watch is such that you know it’s there without feeling like you’re walking around with a hockey puck strapped to your wrist. The band is comfy, the construction feels rock-solid, and the dial is designed for high visibility.

Note: I have swapped out the strap to a Quick Release silicone or nato strap on all three of my Timex Core watches.

Measurements & Specs

With a 43mm case that is 11mm thick, the Timex Expedition Rugged Core is by no means a small watch. The case and strap are made of durable black resin, and the crystal/lens is acrylic. 

The watch has a 20mm strap. There isn’t a lug measurement per se, as the case and strap are essentially one piece, or at least designed to feel like one. The back of the watch is stainless steel. 

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This is an analog watch with quartz movement, powered by a CR2016 battery. These things are known for running forever on their original battery, and it’s common to hear of folks wearing one of these for 5-plus years without having to change it. In any case, the back of the watch is held in place by four tiny screws, making the battery change process simple, if a bit delicate. 

Readability & Reliability

Like most other watches in the Timex Expedition family, this one comes in a variety of different colors. The Rugged Core has two options: Black Dial & White Dial. The white dial version is harder to find and is often only available on the Timex.com website.

The dial features large Arabic numerals for even-numbered hours, with rectangular hour markings for odd hours. Numerals for seconds or minutes are marked on the bezel in increments of five. 

There is also a smaller inner ring of numerals for military time on the dial, and an outer ring of second/minute markings, with tiny markings in-between that, I suppose, each represent a quarter of a second. The latter feel like overkill, especially given the accuracy of the second hand, which is less than ideal. 

On my watch, the second hand usually lands about dead-center between the second markings, and there’s a good amount of bounce on each tick. So it goes. Let’s remember that this is a $40 dollar watch, and not judge it too harshly.

The minute and hour hands, however, track along with solid accuracy. The watch features metal, pencil-style hands with an area of white lume on each hand that makes the watch easy to read in the dark. 

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Speaking of reading in the dark, this is a Timex, so you know it has the Indiglo feature we all know and love. A push of the crown (located at the 3 position) illuminates the dial with a satisfying blue-green glow. The crown also offers intuitive date and time adjustments; pull it out all the way to move the second and minute hands, and then push it back in halfway to adjust the date, which is displayed through a small window just left of the 3. 

I have reviewed several Time watches over the years; you can see all of them here.

Wearability & Durability

The Timex Expedition Rugged Core is designed to be a watch you don’t have to baby. It has “rugged” right in the name, after all. The idea here is that you can pretty much wear this watch anywhere, and there’s no need to worry about it getting broken while hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, skiing, or whatever other punishment you might want to throw at it. 

For the most part, it lives up to this promise, and it does so while being a surprisingly comfortable watch. The resin case and strap are extremely durable, and while I’ve heard plenty of complaints about resin bands being uncomfortable or stiff, that’s not the case with the Rugged Core. 

If there’s a downside—and this goes for all watches with resin straps—it’s that your wrist might start to get hot and sweaty under the band while you’re out there tearing up the trail or mountain. That’s just the price you pay for a material that is tough, easy to clean and impervious to water. 

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As for the actual waterproofness of the watch, it’s water resistant to 50 meters. So it’s definitely not a dive watch, but go ahead and wear it in the rain, in the shower, and out on your boat with confidence. 

The acrylic crystal is pretty rough and tumble too. As with the resin band and case, acrylic is a material that comes with a few trade-offs. Namely, it’s more susceptible to scuffs and scratches than mineral glass, but it’s also more impact-resistant. In the unlikely event that it does break, it will probably crack but stay in place. 

The Rugged Core is one of my favorite Timex watches; I have both the black dial and white dial versions.

Final Thoughts on the Timex Expedition Rugged Core

Look, I’m not going to try to hide the fact that I really like Timex watches. They’re some of the best “starter” watches out there, but I still wear them all the time even though I’ve acquired many watches that are more expensive and supposedly better. 

The Rugged Core is one of the best entries into the Expedition family for folks who work and play outdoors. It’s tough, reliable, comfortable and easy to read, and it punches way above its weight class for a watch that costs around $40, give or take. 

It’s not without its flaws, and I’m not going to tell you it’s as good as a $200 watch. The second hand isn’t as precise as it could be, and the degree to which an Expedition watch will gradually start to gain or lose time seems to vary (for the record, I’ve never found that to be a major problem, but it’s something other users have mentioned). 

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If you’re looking for a workhorse analog watch on a tight budget, the Timex Expedition Rugged Core is a great option. They make great gifts too, especially for kids who are ready for their first watch. As durable as they are, it’s also nice to know that you’re not out a fortune if something happens to it. 

Consider These Other Timex Field Watches:

Time has a huge catalog of watches; each watch usually has several color and strap combinations. So there is usually one that is just right for what you are looking for.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Timex Men’s Expedition Scout 40mm Watch – Black Case Black Dial with Green Fabric Strap
  • Adjustable green 20mm nylon strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference.Case Finish: Matte
  • Black dial with date window at 3 o’clock; full Arabic numerals
  • Black 40mm brass case with mineral glass crystal
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial; luminous hands
  • Water resistant to 50m (165 ft): In general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
SaleBestseller No. 2
Timex Men’s T40051 Expedition Metal Field Brown/Olive Leather Strap Watch
  • Adjustable brown 18mm genuine leather strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • Olive dial with date window at 3 o’clock; full Arabic numerals
  • Silver-tone 39mm brass case with mineral glass crystal
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial
  • Water resistant to 50m (165 ft): In general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
SaleBestseller No. 3
Timex Men’s T40091 Expedition Metal Field Black/Brown Nylon/Leather Strap Watch
  • Adjustable brown 20 millimeter nylon strap with black genuine leather trim fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • Charcoal gray dial with date window at 3 o’clock; Full Arabic numerals
  • Silver-tone 40 millimeter brass case with mineral glass crystal
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial
  • Water resistant to 50 meter (165 feet): In general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
SaleBestseller No. 4
Timex Men’s T49905 Expedition Field Chronograph Black/Brown Leather Strap Watch
  • Adjustable brown 20 millimeter genuine leather strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference. On natural lighting the Strap color might appear lighter that current image.Case Height: 12.5 mm
  • Black dial with date window at 4 o’clock; Arabic numerals in increments of 5 up to 60
  • 30-minute chronograph measures to 1/20th second
  • Black 43 millimeter brass case with mineral glass crystal; Indiglo light-up watch dial
  • Water-resistant to 100 meters (330 feet): In general, suitable for snorkeling, as well as swimming, but not diving
SaleBestseller No. 5
Timex Women’s TW4B12000 Expedition Field Mini Brown/Green Nylon/Leather Strap Watch
  • Adjustable green 12mm nylon strap with dark brown genuine leather trim fits up to 7.5-inch wrist circumference
  • Green dial with full Arabic numerals. Leaving the watch in direct sunlight or close to a lamp may cause the watch to become hot Handle with care
  • Silver-tone 26mm brass case with mineral glass crystal
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial; luminous hands
  • Water resistant to 50m (165 ft): In general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
SaleBestseller No. 6
Timex Weekender Analog Beige Dial Unisex Watch – T2N651
  • Adjustable olive green 20 millimeter nylon slip-thru strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference. The case finish is polished
  • Cream dial with full Arabic numerals; 24-hour military time
  • Silver-tone 38 millimeter brass case with mineral glass crystal
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial
  • Water resistant to 30 meters (100 feet): In general, withstands splashes or brief immersion in water, but not suitable for swimming or bathing
SaleBestseller No. 7
Timex Men’s TW4B11300 Expedition Scout 43mm Brown/Black Leather Strap Watch
  • Adjustable brown 20 millimeter genuine leather strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • Black dial with date window at 3 o’clock; full Arabic numerals
  • Black 43 millimeter brass case with mineral glass crystal
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial; luminous hands
  • Water resistant to 50 meter (165 feet): In general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
Bestseller No. 8
Timex Unisex TW4B13900 Expedition Scout 36mm Green/Black Nylon Strap Watch
  • Adjustable green 18 millimeter fabric strap fits up to 7.5-inch wrist circumference
  • Black dial with date window at 3 o’clock; Full Arabic numerals
  • Silver-tone 36 millimeter brass case with mineral glass crystal
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial; luminous hands
  • Water resistant to 50 meters (165 feet): In general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
SaleBestseller No. 9
Timex Weekender 40mm Brown/Blue Two-Piece Leather Strap Watch
  • Adjustable tan genuine leather strap with quick-release spring bars fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • Blue dial with full Arabic numerals; 24-hour military time
  • Silver-tone 40 millimeter brass case with mineral glass crystal
  • Indiglo light-up watch dial
  • Water resistant to 30 meters (100 feet): in general, withstands splashes or brief immersion in water, but not suitable for swimming or bathing
SaleBestseller No. 10
Timex Men’s Expedition North Field Post Solar 41mm TW2V03700JR Quartz Watch
  • Adjustable olive 20mm double-layered recycled fabric slip-thru strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • Charged by any light with a four-month power reserve
  • Olive dial with full Arabic numerals; 24-hour time; luminant hands
  • Gunmetal 41mm stainless steel case with anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Water-resistant to 100m (330 ft): In general, suitable for snorkeling, as well as swimming, but not diving

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