Review: Timex Expedition Scout Chrono Watch

I’ve always enjoyed the concept of time. As a child, my favorite video game was Chrono Trigger, the story of a boy roaming the past, present, and future on a quest to save the world. It was a touching tale, and one that helped me learn the importance of all things temporal.

So, when Timex offered to send me one of their Expedition Scout Chronographs, they inadvertently helped recapture a spark of my childhood. Designed as an all-purpose companion, it’s my second watch review from their Expedition line. But can this one succeed where the previous model stumbled? Only time (and a thorough review) will tell…

Form

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Like its given name, the Timex Expedition Scout Chrono is fairly substantial thing. Its case features a lug width of 42mm, rising 12mm off the wrist. It’s no G-Shock, to be sure, but there’s definitely a bit of heft to the package. Still, it wears quite easily. Part of this is due to the flush installation of its mineral glass crystal, which provides excellent readability from a variety of angles. The hands themselves are attractively shaped, though the finishing along their borders looks a bit rough.

As with the standard Scout, the Chrono wears a matte finish on its brass chassis. This tends to accumulate wear marks, adding a not unpleasant worn-in feel to the watch. The case back is stainless steel, providing a measure of durability where it comes into contact with the wrist. The whole thing feels fairly well put together, adding credibility to Timex’s claim of 100-meter water resistance.

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Despite my fascination with time, this is the first chronograph to pass through my collection. Generally, the busy look of this complication leaves me somewhat cold. But here, on the blue face of this particular watch, I think the additional dials fill the canvas rather nicely. Even the date window feels right at home, despite its angled 4-o’clock position.

The seconds arrangement does take a bit of getting used to. Because the large second hand is tied to the chronograph, you’ll find yourself using the lower of the three sub-dials to track the passage of time. This really isn’t much of an issue, given the watch’s overall legibility.

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If there’s a weak spot here, it’s the buttons. Both in form and function, their plasticity leaves something to be desired. Don’t get me wrong – they work perfectly well. But the pressing action feels a bit spongy. And speaking of sponges, don’t press them while the watch it wet, as these are often the weak point of a chronograph’s water resistance.

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Timex’s leather straps have generally impressed me, ever since my review of their standard Expedition Scout. But with the Chrono, they seem to have upped their game. Thick, supple, and nicely stitched, this 20mm band has been a paragon of comfort. Its milk chocolate hue plays wonderfully off the gunmetal gray case and blue dial. And, while I tend to be wary of leather bands on my outdoor watches, this one seems rather capable. It even survived an accident dip into a mountain stream. After a few minutes drying in the sun, it was left without any visible damage.

Lastly, I’ve been impressed with the versatility of the Scout Chrono. It’s been a solid performer in both workplace and wilderness, with plenty of casual wear thrown into the mix. It’s also a great watch to wear while manning the grill, both in terms of comfort and timekeeping.

4 stars out of 5

Function

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First and foremost, the Scout Chrono is a solid timekeeper. I set it once, on the day it came in the mail, and it’s gained just two seconds over the course of as many weeks. That puts it among the most accurate watches I’ve tested. Date changes are quick, and the quartz mechanism isn’t nearly as loud as those found on the Weekender or the standard Scout.

This accuracy and ease of use was especially important to me, given the added complication of the chronograph. This new aspect has proven to be both easy to and fun to use, providing you’re careful to follow the included instructions. Here’s how it works, in brief – Press the upper button to activate the chrono, and again to stop. Then you can either hit the upper to resume timing, or hit the bottom to reset the whole works. Seems simple enough, right? Well, if you happen to hit the bottom button while the chrono is still running, things get messy in a hurry. This activates a multi-timer mode that I haven’t quite been able to master. It also affects the starting position for each of the chronograph’s three hands. If you want to zero them out, you’ll have to go through fairly complicated process of crown positioning and button holding. Perhaps this is standard operating procedure for chronographs but, for me, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

Did it stop me from using the chrono? Heck, no. I found myself timing everything from dinner to meetings to the time it took to walk to and from the parking lot at work. And I have to give credit to Timex for the robustness of their mechanism. I messed the buttons a lot before resorting to the manual, to the point where I was concerned that I’d screwed things up permanently.

If you’re waiting for me to talk about the Indiglo, I don’t have much to say. It functions just as flawlessly here as it has on every Timex I’ve had, though the busy nature of the dial can make it difficult to read. This watch does feature a night mode option, however, activated by holding in the crown for several seconds. This automatically lights up the dial with the press of any of the watch’s buttons. It’s a nice feature. But if you accidentally have it on during the day, I suspect it would eat into your overall battery life.

In the end, my only real criticism comes from the difficulty of setting the watch. Some of the steps work in conjunction with the resetting of the chronograph, creating a moderate sort of learning curve. Once you get past this, however, the Scout Chrono is a perfectly functional piece.

4.5 stars out of 5

Future

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Let’s get the  obvious out of the way – I’m concerned about the crown. If you’ve read my followup on the standard Expedition Scout, you know I had trouble with it, well, falling off. What I’ve neglected to write about until now is that I’ve gone through three of the Scout watches, each due to a failure with the crown. And while Timex gladly replaced the first two for me, I just didn’t have the heart to send in the third.

There’s some hope here, however. Because the Scout Chrono is a larger watch, its crown doesn’t make contact with my wrist in the same way the problem models did. I’ve even gone so far as to wear it in situations I’d normally leave to a more rugged watch, just to see how it held up. No issues yet!

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Back to Timex’s warranty. Just because I had a poor experience with one particular product line doesn’t mean I have negative thoughts about their customer service. On the contrary – Timex’s warranty department was great. I’m sure if I’d let them know about the third broken Scout, they would’ve sent a fourth. And I’ve had wonderful luck with the Weekender model they sent a few months back.

So where does that leave us on the Expedition Scout Chrono?  Here’s my advice: Visit a brick and mortar store and see how it feels on your wrist. If the crown makes a lot of contact when you flex your wrist, you may want to think twice. But it’s good to know that Timex is willing to make things right, in the event you do encounter problems.

3 stars out of 5

Finance

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Things get weird when it comes to pricing the Scout Chrono. If you look on Timex’s website, you can expect to pay something in the neighborhood of $72. And at that price, I’d say this is actually a pretty solid option. But say you’re in the market for a different color scheme. Amazon’s prices swing from $75 all the way down to $30, depending upon your preferred hue. That’s a heck of a price range.

As far as scoring, I’ll be considering this as a $75 watch. At that price point, you’re starting to face some stiff competition. Seiko offers basic models in this area, and you’re within a few dollars of an entry-level Citizen or a pretty nice Casio. But many of these competitors are missing the chronograph function, and their lume won’t be good enough to make up for the loss of Indiglo. You may see better fit and finish on these other options, but they lack the eye-popping looks of the Timex. And I’d wager none of their included straps will be as comfortable as the thick leather on the Scout’s.

4 stars out of 5

Final Thoughts

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So where do I land on this particular Scout? Somewhere between “decent option” and “must buy.” I don’t think you’re going to find a better introduction to chronographs, unless you’re interested in one of Timex’s Weekender versions. And, for as casual as that particular line tries to be, I feel the extra dials clutter up its clean face. But this additional information feels right at home on the Scout.

So, if you’re curious about chronographs, I’d definitely recommended checking out the Expedition Scout Chrono. Besides the added complication, you’ll get a solid timepiece with day and night capability, all wrapped in a fashionable, versatile package. And if, like me, you’re charmed by the passage of time, I think you’ll find some unexpected fun lurking around the extra dials.

Where to Buy

Timex’s Official Website

Amazon

 

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