Some years carry more historic clout than others, but 1969 was in a class of its own. It was the year that the first astronaut set foot on the moon, the first digital messages traveled across the ARPANET (the predecessor of the modern internet) and 350,000 people originally converged on a farm in upstate New York to watch Jimmy Hendrix play the national anthem at Woodstock.
In the watch world, 1969 marked a pair of firsts that would revolutionize timepieces as we know them: the dawn of the quartz movement and the introduction of the world's first automatic chronograph. The former was totally new technology, while the latter was an evolution of centuries-old watchmaking know-how, but both would have a massive impact on watches through the 1970s and beyond.The new Q Timex Chrono €“ the final Q release of 2022 €“ combines the iconic looks of early automatic chronographs with the accuracy, reliability, and affordability of a quartz movement, making it a pitch-perfect tribute to those bygone days. The latest in a series of modern interpretations of 1970s watches released to mark the 50th anniversary of Timex's quartz era, the Q Chrono captures the style of the time while paying tribute to the fascinating origins of a historic watch design. Equipped with period-correct details like a domed acrylic crystal and a 40mm stainless steel case, plus modern touches like luminous hands and a date window, the new Q Chrono serves up the best of both worlds. The story of the Q Timex Chrono goes back more than 50 years to one of the most popular and influential watch designs of all time. Its high-contrast black dial, featuring separate off-white subdials for hours, minutes, and seconds, and surrounded by a set of minimalist hour markers, was introduced in the mid-20th century and adopted by countless brands in the 1960s and 1970s, from Omega to TAG Heuer to Universal GenÃ©ve. Nicknamed the €œpanda€ dial for its resemblance to the bamboo-loving mammal's signature mask (the white-on-black version, appropriately enough, is called the €œreverse panda€), its ultra-legible design made it perfect for timing motorsports races, and it was soon being used at elite events around the world, from Daytona to Le Mans. Other key features of the design included a tachymeter scale bezel, which could be used in concert with the chronograph to calculate the speed of a car on the track €“ a game-changing innovation in the days before radar was widely available. The most famous example of this style will be familiar to anyone who was following the headlines in 2017, when a panda dial Rolex Daytona chronograph owned by Paul Newman sold for nearly $18 million at auction, smashing records and creating countless fans of 1960s-style chronographs. The Q Timex Chrono, of course, won't set you back nearly that much. Like the Timex watches of the 1970s (and every other era), this chronograph's $199 sticker price ($219 on a bracelet) makes it the most affordable way to get a classic panda chronograph on your wrist in 2022. Driving gloves not included.