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There’s no bigger name in timepieces than Timex. They’re one of the biggest and best-known watchmakers in the world, and they’ve been making sports GPS watches longer than almost anyone. The Timex Ironman was first produced in 1986, and it quickly became a favorite of hardcore runners all over the world.
Timex Ironman Marathon
The Timex Marathon is an entry-level GPS sportwatch that is so capable that many never look to upgrade to more elaborate watches. It has a bit of a homely vibe, in keeping with its no-nonsense reputation and capabilities. Its square bezel with rounded corners makes it look less like a traditional watch than it might, and it’s fairly thick as well.
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After you turn it on, it takes the Timex Marathon about 30 seconds to locate a satellite, and you can program the watch with rudimentary information about yourself like height, weight, and gender, in order for it to calculate numbers like calories burned. It’s tedious, but you only have to do it once unless there’s more than one user. When you’re done, you press Go, and that’s it. It also has a Pause button if you like to stop counting when you’re standing a crosswalk or encounter some other interruption.
- GPS enabled lets you track workouts and times
- Five separate alarms for workout reminders
- Good battery life
- Waterproof for use while swimming
- Recharges from a USB port
- Easy to navigate menus
- Homely, utilitarian design
- No option to download data collected during runs
- No heart rate monitor
The Timex Marathon screen is big enough to display three numbers at a time, and Time, Distance, and Pace is sometimes all the information that runners require from their watch, especially over long races like a marathon. Like more expensive watches, the Timex Marathon smoothes your pace to remove any error caused by slowing to look at your watch.
Real Time Information Only
The Timex Marathon gets mostly good reviews, but is too spartan for many info-hungry runners. One of the biggest deficiencies for people who track their sessions closely is the lack of downloadable data capability for the watch. The Timex Marathon will display everything it keeps track of while you’re running, but you’ll have to look at it on the watch if you want to review it.
Timex Global Trainer
The Timex Global Trainer is a more elaborate sports watch than many other Timex Ironman watches. It has a big, round bezel, but that’s mostly for looks and to hold the electronics. The screen itself is a horizontally oriented rectangle like many of the other Timex Ironman models. Its big size shouts: electronic device more than: watch when you put it on, but it doesn’t weigh all that much and users report that they don’t notice the difference when they’re running.
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The Timex Global Trainer has six different modes:
- Performance – for all standard metrics
- Multisport – Great for Triathlons
- Navigate – For using the GPS and a compass
- Review – Calls up historical workout data
- Configure – To run through setup menus
- PC sync – For downloading or uploading info
If you boot up the watch in Performance mode and hit the start button, the watch will start displaying up to four separate parameters on the screen simultaneously. The Timex Global Trainer has a very well-designed smoothing function for all of its measurements, with up to 7 seconds of info being averaged at all times, so the info is very reliable and easy to keep track of.
- Customizable display can show up to four different kinds of info
- Indiglo night light
- Light weight
- Water resistant to 50 meters
- 20 session memory of data
- Hands-free option for starts and stops
- Compatible with Windows or Apple computers
- Convenient USB port charging
- Supports users in any of six languages
- Records lapsed time, calories burned, heart rate
- Handy countdown timers to play Beat the Clock
- Comes with bike mount
- Good customer service
- Somewhat bulky
- Sometimes slow to lock onto GPS satellite
The Timex Global Trainer (more extensive review here) is a much more sophisticated watch than many of their other Ironman series, and it’s a favorite of fitness info junkies that don’t want to spend a lot on a watch even though it’s got a lot of bells and whistles.
Timex Ironman Run Trainer
The Timex Ironman Run Trainer is another good, solid watch from Timex that delivers GPS tracking capability in a fairly small form factor. The Timex Ironman Run Trainer isn’t as small as a traditional watch, but it doesn’t have the look of an electronic device strapped to your wrist, either. It has a square readout located in an oval bezel that looks less clunky than other Times Ironman designs.
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- GPS enabled sports watch
- Big, easy to read dial
- Easily customizable digital readout
- Handy eat and drink alarms
- Night light
- Excellent for biking
- Fully waterproof to 150 feet
- Can take a while to acquire a satellite
- Somewhat clunky menu system
The Timex Ironman Run Trainer (full review here) has a very wide array of measurables from the data it collects. It can tell you the altitude, how many calories you’re burning, your present cadence, your average cadence, your distance, your heart rate, and your average heart rate. It works as an odometer, a speedometer, a lap counter, and a split time counter. Of course it will always tell you the time of day, like any Timex. By configuring the Timex Ironman Run Trainer upon setup, you can display up to four data streams at once on the face.
The Timex Ironman Run Trainer is generally well rated, especially for how much you get for your money. Some watches with comparable utility cost hundreds more.
Other Timex Ironman watch is for instance the One GPS+.
Timex Studied Triathletes To Make The Perfect Sports GPS Watch
In 1984, Timex took note of the interest in triathlon competitions, and decided to make a watch that could stand up to the rigors of the race while still supplying the wearer with all the information they needed. After two years of development and testing under the name Timex Triathlon, the company acquired the rights to the name Ironman and released the Timex Ironman in 1986 to almost universal acclaim. It’s been a staple piece of gear for grueling race participants and everyday workout warriors ever since.
The Timex Ironman Traditional is now the entry-level GPS watch. As you might expect from Timex, the Traditional which is an inexpensive runners watch is already having some great features and possibilities. For many basic runners the Traditional offers all what they are looking for. For the more demanding runners, looking for more tracking of their performances, the high-level GPS watches are a better choice.
Not Just Popular For Sports
The Timex Ironman GPS watches were supremely durable for the day, and they were quickly adopted not only by extreme sports enthusiasts, but also law enforcement and military personnel that needed no-nonsense watches that could take a beating and still keep track of time. The Timex Ironman continues to be Timex’s best selling brand, and the watch has benefited from continual upgrades over its life. There’s even a Timex Ironman watch in the Smithsonian Institute, donated by former President Bill Clinton after people noticed him wearing it in official Presidential photographs in place of a more expensive or fancier watch.