Timex Illusion

Timex Illusion

For just $34.95 you could have been the proud owner of the Timex Illusion in or around 1986.

Timex isn’t as collectable as some other brands in the digital watch world but that doesn’t mean they didn’t come out with some cracker watches in the heyday of LCD watches including a range of triathlon/ironman watches, and their own backlight system, the Indiglo.

The Illusion series had at least three models (along with being available in silver and gold varieties).

One had an analog-style crown in the middle-right of the watch (like most analog watches still do today), another had a recessed button on the bottom-right of the case, and this one had a ‘command bar’ – another Timex-branded piece of technology – sitting just proud of the case on the right hand side.

The ‘illusion’ related to the Timex take on a digital hands watch.

The second hand appeared and disappeared in 60 positions around the dial, and the hour and minute hands jumped to the right place when the second hand reached the 12 o’clock position.

The watch featured an hourly time signal and an alarm which had its own ingenious touch in terms of accessing and setting them.

My favourite part of this watch is the extra thought given to setting the time/alarm.

With most other digital hands watches you have to hold your finger on a button while the minute hand goes a full rotation around the dial if you are wanting to change the time to within a minute or two of its current position — doesn’t take forever but isn’t all that user-friendly.

With the Timex Illusion you had the option of sending the hands clockwise – or anti-clockwise – with an extra push of the button, which made setting it just a fraction quicker but was a far better user experience.

The only thing I don’t like about it is the stretchy bracelet which, I understand, was original to the watch. Some people must like them, considering how many you see on vintage watches being sold on eBay (particularly in the US) … personally I hate them. They have a tendency to grab wrist hairs, and invariably are just a little too tight depending how new they are. Give me a genuine, adjustable bracelet any time.

So I’ll probably replace the bracelet with a Timex mesh variant which I think will give this watch an extra little pizzazz.

I may track down the other variations of this watch and have a collection of Illusions, and highly recommend them — they’re not all that expensive, can be found in nice condition still (this one was virtually NOS) and in good numbers. Treat yourself!

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26 Responses to Timex Illusion

  1. I believe this exact watch is the one I’ve been trying to remember and looking around for, trying to remember who made it. I had one in my late teens to early twenties but I have no idea what happened to it. I haven’t seen it for almost 30 years now. I was into weird quirky things like this, hell I still am. Things like a pocket calculator with an alarm clock. It was a Canon LC-34T. I had one as a kid but it too disappeared at some point. It took years of hunting but one finally showed up on eBay a few months ago. It was in perfect condition, still worked, clean battery compartment, and the original manual, and the best thing… The guy only wanted $20 for it! Naturally I pounced on it immediately without a second thought. I suspect that’s going to be what happens if I ever see this watch come up. I’ve described this to a lot of people and they all have the same reaction… “Why?” So I’m hoping when I find it, the owner has the same feeling that everyone else does and just wants it gone. That number on the bottom of the package info… 64337. Is that the Timex part number?

  2. I have one of these sitting in a draw. it belonged to my dad. It has the original instruction leaflet with it but no box. The leaflet calls it the Timex New Status M413 Mens Command Bar Alarm. It needs a new battery, but I tried it with the back off and a slightly thicker battery and it worked ok. If anyone wants it, get in touch.

  3. I have a watch that looks very much like the one pictured. The back identifies it as a Timex Z Cell. A new battery brought it back to life but I haven’t been able make any time adjustments. I don’t know if I’m resetting it correctly. Would anyone have experience with this watch and be able to tell me what I should try?
    Thanks, Jim

    • From memory you have to hold one of the side buttons in for a few seconds which should make the segments flash, then a combination of the side buttons to select/set should see you right.

      • Yes, if it has the command bar, hold the top segment until the second hand flashes, adjust with bottom half of bar, hit top again for minutes, and again for hours, and again for AM/PM. If you double push the bottom segment while in setting mode, it goes backwards, which is handy

        • I recently purchased a Timex L watch. Much to my surprise a new mercury battery brought it back to life. I’m really looking for a watch I had way back when I was about 19. The watch had a second hand area around the inner outside that appeared solid and would disappear as the seconds ticked off, and would reappear solid again as the seconds came up to the 12. Anyone knowing what watch this is please contact me … thanks ! Mike

  4. I had one of these in the eighties and eventually gave it away, which I later regretted, due to its small, slim size and unique display. I just found one on auction on eBay and won it with a $115 bid, from a seller who was surprised that a Timex watch would bring so much.

    • Incidentally, the Illusion I bid for came with a buckled band, instead of the stretch band my original one had and is shown in the photo above. But I bought an as-is broken Illusion for $20 which couldn’t be revived, but I swapped the stretch band from it.

  5. Well, a gold Illusion turned up on eBay and I couldn’t resist picking it up. I am mentioning it here because it has a somewhat different face, which I find a bit less legible than the silver watch’s.

      • I have the silver one – found it in my Dad’s jewelry box after his passing. Unfortunately, there was no battery in it. What size battery does it take? It looks like the footprint is about 12.7 MM / .5 in.

  6. Mine is identical to the one on the left, the silver one. It was on a replacement bracelet, but it was the kind with the spring loaded ends to make it fit snugly in a range of sizes. I hate those and I knew it was the wrong band when I put it in my cart, but the working watch was the important thing to me. Eventually, I found an Acqua (cheap low grade Timex) watch which actually had the correct band, 19mm lugs tapering to 15mm halfway around the bracelet, no spacers, satin expansion bracelet. Naturally, I picked it up.
    I got lucky on the watch. It was an auction with an opening bid of right around $20 and a buy it now price of $35. I looked at the time remaining and how the bidders were nickel and dime outbidding each other. A few days into the auction, it was only up to $23 with several bids. So what did I do? I put every one of them out of my misery and just bought it now for $35 lol. I never even gave it a second thought. It took a few months to find the exact right bracelet for it, and it was only $10, but it had a butt-ugly Acqua watch attached to it. A quick band swap-out and I had my watch back to the way it was supposed to be.
    I bought an old Nelsonic Alarm chrono (with the speaker at the top right on the face of the watch) the same way a few weeks ago. Same Scenario… People outbidding each other 50¢ at a time, still a few days left on it, $24.99 buy it now price, so I bought it now lol.
    Similar scenario but a little different with an Innovative Time Sports Master watch just a few days ago. Opening bid $19.99 or buy it now for $29.99. One day left on it, I tried to buy it outright before there were any bids, but apparently you have to finish your checkout first, otherwise it changes to auction only. I guess I missed it by one second. I tried appealing to the seller, but he wasn’t hearing any of it and didn’t care, so I watched the hell out of it, set an alarm on my phone for five minutes away, sat on the bid button, waiting, waiting, waiting… I set my high bid for $40.02, and with 10 seconds left on it, I put in my bid and won the auction for $20.49. I guess the other bidder only put in for the bare minimum.

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