You might laugh at this if you knew the amount of money I’ve spent on watches over the years, but I’m a big fan of budget-friendly Timex watches. They simply do the job, and they do it without breaking the bank.
And if you have been with me on my watch collecting journey you will know that the Timex Scout is where it all started. If I were to gather every Scout I own, I probably have at least 15 around the house right now. Add on top how often I give them as a gift and I have bought no less than 50 Time Scout’s over the years. Yes, I love the Timex Scout!
For all the pictures I have taken of a Scout and the amount of them I have purchased over the years, I have never actually sat down to write a review until now. Even though I have been fortunate to add some amazing watches to my collection, the Timex Scout will always hold a special spot on my wrist.
The Timex Expedition Scout is a cool military style analog watch that I recently picked up for a bargain price. Typically falling within the $40 to $50 range, these are simple, straightforward and reliable watches that make up for their lack of panache with rugged dependability.
And that’s not to say they don’t look good. The Scout is essentially a field watch, so it’s right at home on the trail. But it wouldn’t raise any eyebrows if you wore it out on the town either.
Is it perfect? No. And we’ll definitely discuss some of the Scout’s shortcomings. But for a watch that cost me less than the price of a tank of gas, this thing almost certainly exceeds any expectations you might have of it.
Timex Expedition Scout: First Impressions
The Timex Expedition Scout is not an attention-grabbing watch. It has a simple, classic look, and I don’t consider that to be a bad thing. Watches like this never totally go out of style. The Scout would have looked good on my wrist 20 years ago, and it’ll probably still look more-or-less contemporary 20 years in the future.
I like the weight—not too heavy, but you know it’s there—and I like the size of the case. One thing that comes up over and over again in customer reviews is that this is a loud watch, and I can confirm that.
I have some thoughts on the strap, but it’s worth pointing out that the Expedition Scout is available in several strap/color combinations. If you don’t like one, you’ll surely like another one.
Measurements & Specs
The Timex Expedition Scout has a 40mm case with a thickness of 10mm, which is right in that not-too-big, not-too-small sweet spot for a fellow with average-sized wrists. The case is made of brass, with a stainless steel back and mineral glass crystal.
It’s a battery-powered watch that utilizes a CR2016 lithium battery. The Scout uses quartz movement to deliver timing accuracy within plus/minus 20 seconds per month. I haven’t owned mine long enough to really test its long-term accuracy, but after a couple of weeks it doesn’t appear to have lost any time.
The watch comes with a 20mm strap, and the lugs are the same width. The specific version of this watch that I’m reviewing has a nylon strap, but leather and hybrid leather/nylon options are also available. The strap fits up to an 8-inch wrist circumference.
Readability & Reliability
The version of the Scout I bought has a black dial and white markings, which is a classic look for a military-style watch (you can also get it in the opposite color scheme, among other options). Personally, I like the black dial, and I find the watch to be very easy to read in normal daylight.
And if it’s dark out, you’ll be glad to know that the Scout has the classic Timex Indiglo feature. The Indiglo lights up the dial in a green/aquamarine color with a press of the crown, and it’s something I never grow tired of, even if it’s a bit of a cheesy look.
The dial features Arabic numerals for hours 1 through 12, along with an inner ring of numerals for military time. Closer to the bezel, the dial also includes a ring of hour batons and minute indices. A small date window is just left of the “3” numeral.
The sword-style minute and hour hand are easy to read in daylight, and also stand out nicely against the Indiglo when activated. The longer second hand (it’s yellow on my watch, but differs depending on the color scheme you choose) is styled like an arrow, and clicks along steadily thanks to the quartz movement, though there is a bit of second hand “bounce.”
I’m going to nitpick a bit and point out that the second-hand doesn’t quite line up with the minute indices. Does that matter? Not really, but if you’re a watch nut, then you know how irritating a tiny detail like that can be.
Setting up the time and making adjustments to the watch is easy and straightforward. Pulling the crown out halfway allows you to flip through dates in the date window, and pulling it out all the way allows you to adjust the minute and hour hands.
Wearability & Durability
The Timex Expedition Scout is a decently rugged and durable watch, especially considering its price point. It’s ideal for outdoor pursuits like hiking and climbing, and it can keep ticking along through some significant punishment. The brass case will get scuffed up after a while, but the matte finish minimized the appearance of any dings or scratches it may acquire.
As for the mineral crystal glass, it’s a budget-friendly option that provides pretty solid scratch resistance, but not the most impressive impact resistance. Try to avoid dropping it on a rock.
It has 50 meter water resistance. So it’s not a dive watch by any stretch of the imagination, but it can handle short periods of being submerged. I wouldn’t wear it snorkeling, but don’t stress if it takes the occasional accidental dunk.
Speaking of water, I chose a Scout with a nylon strap, as opposed to leather, because I find that it holds up better against moisture, and I do tend to get my watches wet while fishing, kayaking, or simply working outside in the rain.
When I first put it on, I found the band to be a little bit itchy and abrasive, perhaps even more so than some other nylon-band watches I own. However, it does feel as though it has softened after a couple weeks of wear. Either that or my wrist has become too callused to feel it. In any case, if you want a more comfortable feel, the leather strap is a great alternative that once could say is also more stylish.
Final Thoughts on the Timex Expedition Scout
“This is a great watch for $40.”
I like the quartz movement. I love the Indiglo. I’ve gotten used to the feel of the strap. And I think it’s pretty close to the ideal size and weight.
As for the Timex Expedition Scout’s shortcomings, they are what they are. At this price, I can forgive that the second hand isn’t quite on point with the markings on the dial. The durability and impact resistance obviously isn’t the best on the market, but again, for $40, I have no complaints.
My biggest issue—and I didn’t think it would bother me as much as it does—is the volume level of the ticking. It can be downright maddening in a quiet room, and it essentially prohibits me from keeping this watch on my bedroom nightstand when I’m trying to sleep.
Ultimately, that isn’t a deal breaker though. It really just means that, for me, the Scout is an outdoor watch, and that’s really where it shines brightest anyway. If you’re looking for a beater watch for outdoor adventures, or a “starter watch” to kickstart your collection, this is a great buy.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights, and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his client’s websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.