Setting the time on a Timex 1440 sports watch: the worst UX ever?

tl:dr: Press and hold the “set” button until you see the seconds count blinking at the top right of the face, then press the “mode” button to switch to hours and then minutes, press the “start/stop” button to advance either. You’re welcome.

Some time ago, my wife bought a Timex 1440 sports watch from an Amazon reseller to wear while playing tennis. Not a bad idea, except she happened to purchase a device with one of the more irritatingly cryptic user experiences around.

Timex 1440 watchI only discovered this recently, when she mentioned that it was off by a few minutes and she had not been able to figure out how to change it. Mind you, my wife has an electrical-engineering degree and works in IT, so I already figured the solution was non-obvious. I just didn’t know how non-obvious it could be–and the Web was not its usual helpful self.

This timepiece features four buttons–“set,” “mode,” “start/stop,” “indiglo”–labeled in vanishingly small type at the very edge of the face. If I’d just monkeyed with them, I might have found the answer sooner. Instead, I searched online for what I thought was the watch’s name and found an entire third-party site with a domain matching that moniker that purported to explain this watch’s workings–a sure sign that a product’s UX sucks. But its instructions did not pan out.

One reason why: The “WR50M” that appears prominently on the face below “TIMEX” is not the name of the watch, but a reference to it being water-resistant down to 50 meters. It’s apparently a “1440” watch, or “143-T5G891” if you want to the exact model number.

Timex’s own site showed a different watch when I searched for “1440,” while a query for the model number yielded nothing. (I suppose I can’t rule out this being somebody else’s knock-off product?) A post at Answers.com lived up to that site’s reputation for unreliability by offering an incorrect answer. After further fruitless searching online, I found the correct instructions in the second post on a thread on a site where people trade links for user manuals–a sure sign that the UX of the vendors responsible sucks.

Here’s how: Press and hold the “set” button at the top left for about three seconds–as in, two seconds after it beeps for some other reason–until the tiny seconds count on the top right of the face starts to blink, then press the “mode” button at the bottom left so that the hour and then the minutes shown on the bulk of the face blink, then press the “start/stop” button at the top right to advance either digit. When you’re done, press “mode” until you return to a non-blinking time.

You’re welcome. Timex, where’s my check for documenting the workings of your product?

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96 thoughts on “Setting the time on a Timex 1440 sports watch: the worst UX ever?

  1. Almost every 1980s/1990s Timex and Casio digital watch worked like this. It’s hard to remember how that confusing process worked because of today’s self-setting iPhones and Atomic watches and clocks. 🙂

    • thank you. After day light savings started I got so frustrated , I was walking around just adding an hour to the watch’s time rather than fight with it anymore. Thanks to you, I now have the correct time

      • That’s so funny, I told my son to add an hour to the time… until I found this information. Now was able to set the correct time. Thanks so much Rob P… and thanks to the internet for helping me find your article.

    • YES! THANK YOU!!! I forget how to do this every time change. I ought to go back to my Swatch analog but can never find the correct batteries.

  2. Agree. I was alarmed to see this subject in my inbox a few minutes after I had googled the same thing to accommodate my 2 time zone travel.The key is to save the instructions( which I left at home) that come with the watch as the buttons are in different positions on various 1440 models.

  3. Thank you Rob, for your instructions. This is the first time I have been able to change the time on this watch without someone else doing it. I’ve had it for 4 years.

  4. I’ve been getting the 1440’s for 15 years now, and believe me, they didn’t used to be this obnoxious to program! My first couple lasted forever and you could intuitively adjust the time, without ever having looked at the manual. I generally only have to replace them when the bands wear out, and even then the clock faces will go on for years after that.

  5. my 7 year old brother is convinced this watch is synced with the atomic clock even though it’s a minute behind every other clock we have… thanks for the instructions though lmao

  6. Found this at Walmart.com’s website

    To set date and time for Timex 1440 Sports watch:

    1. With time and date showing, press SET and hold for 2 secs.
    2. Seconds flash. Press Start/Stop to set seconds to zero.
    3. Press Mode. Hour flashes. Press start/stop to change hour, inc. AM (no symbol) and PM.
    4. Press mode. Minutes flash. Press start/stop to change minutes: hold button to scan values.
    5. Press mode. Year flashes. Press start/stop to change year
    6. Press mode. Month flashes. Press start/stop to change month
    7. Press mode. Date flashes. Press start/stop to change date.
    8. Press set, at any step, to exit and save settings.

    With time and date showing, press SET to switch between 12- or 24- hr (military) time format.

    Date (day of month) appears in upper part of display in the Time mode. Press and hold Start/stop to see month, date, and year in large digits.

    Hope this helps someone. (could be called manual W292)

    answered 1 year, 1 month ago

    By

    Fitgirl62

    answer 3

    My watch has buttons in this order. Set=top left. Mode=bottom left, Start/Stop= top right and Indiglo = bottom right.

  7. The only problem – how to fix the leap year issue? My date & day of the week have been off since the end of february. For example my watch says today is Saturday March 6 (unfortunately it’s Friday, not Saturday). I can only change the date (not day). I tried to play with the time (thinking that might help) ~ no luck. Any ideas?

    • Have you tried setting up the right year? March 6 is on a Friday this year, but I believe it is on a Saturday next year. That means you could very easily have screwed up the year and ended up with an unexpected date. Just go to set and mode like in the article until you see something like “3- 8 2015”. If that isn’t a 2015 you see, make it a 2015 and your problem is solved. If not, maybe someone can look at it.

  8. Thank you. Your’s is the only correct instructions for my Timex 1440 model T5J571. Timex made so many models of the 1440 watch and most instruction sites do not cover this one.

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  10. I bought the 1440 after supposedly downloading the manual at the Timex website. Well, the Timex download link is for a W207 manual and the watch is actually a W292 module. I say module because that is what Casio and Timex have for a base watch. It’s programmed to last until 2039 for Casio, not sure what the programming is for a Timex before the module is obsolete/worthless ? Anyway, the download for the 1440 sport links to a W207 module manual download & is for an atomic clock, self-setting watch. The 1440 from Amazon is with the W292 module isn’t atomic clock self-setting watch. So I’m displeased with that aspect of Timex support. That said, setting the atomic watch manually is the same process it’s been for a Timex for decades. That said, I can’t imagine an EE degreed, true IT type having difficulty with setting the watch ? RPN calculators in college must’ve really been a challenge ?

    just my impression of any of these lap watches, the rest of the watch is really worthless beyond the basic time function and alarm features, that is the lap features. The second time zone, one could set that to DST or Standard time and then effectively only have to toggle the time zones to not have to set the watch in the spring and fall. But I doubt anyone is tracking their performance times with a Timex wristwatch ? And like all plastic watches, the battery will die, the band will crack and dry rubber rott and even the rubber around the casing (G-Shock Casio) rendering the watch ugly or useless long before 2039 or when the module is worthless.

  11. Thank You!!! Very much😃it worked!! Now I don’t have to go out and buy a new watch. Mine has been wrong since daylight savings time!

  12. Than you! I have being trying to change mine for a few days and then came to my computer to find the answer!!! just took a minute to follow your instructions!!!
    Thanks

  13. I have been waiting for Daylight Savings Time, so the time on my watch would once again be correct. I am so grateful for this article! Thank you. I can live again.

  14. Thanks for this post! I’ve tried for so long to figure out how to set the time on this watch and you showed me in a few seconds. Timed surely owes you something 🙂

  15. Good instructions. Just add “press set” at the end. Again. It’s a really good timepiece and has kept accurate time for over a year (to the minute). But the mechanics of changing it suck.

  16. I tried all that but my stop/start just makes it move to the next like from hour to minutes than date it isn’t letting me advanced the hour

  17. Finally, finally accurate information for those of us trying to change the time on our older versions of this Timex watch! I’ve been off by 2 minutes for ages now… and was dreading this upcoming change to EST because I would have to change the time on my watch. Have scoured the internet before to no avail… confusing info out there. You were the first one to pop up in my search today and BINGO, it worked! Although the “girl” in me was tempted to just chuck it in and go buy a new watch I don’t have the money to waste on that right now. Thank you so very much!

  18. Thank you…watch has been stored for over a year. Going on a trip and leaving phone behind. Didn’t think I would be able to figure it out. It’s still 5 minutes behind, only jumped in 30 mins. But I can live with that.

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  20. Thank you doooooooo much! This was driving me crazy with the day light savings time change this week! Your tldr instructions helped me correct the watch’s time in far less time than it is taking me to type out this thank you message. 🙂

  21. Finally! Thank you. This watch is a piece of crap, but I cannot afford to replace it. Love this quote from the Timex site regarding “so many complaints” about this watch: “However, not everything is perfect in this world.” Nice.

  22. Thank you! I’ve been trying to figure this out for almost two hours on the Timex website and couldn’t find anything. What they were telling me to do changed T2, but not the original watch time. I was almost ready to get a new watch. Your instructions did it right away! You rock!

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  24. I was on the verge of trashing this watch, after not being able to find the tiny instructions that came with the watch. I’ve tried a hundred (or more) times to reset the watch after daylight savings time changed in November of 2015, but decided to try to find info online. Thanks a million times over for posting the correct (and easy) instructions.

  25. Thank you! My little guy has long ago lost the directions that came with his watch and leap year threw the date off. I pressed and held various combinations of buttons but could not find the correct order to changer the date. Your directions set me on the right path. Thanks again!

  26. Finally! Thank you very much. It was really frustrating trying to set this watch. I need to save this instruction just in case I forget how to set it.

  27. My sons have these watches and I hate having to change the time for DST because I can never remember how to do it and it is so NOT intuitive! A google search led me to your article. Thanks so much!!

  28. Thank You, my wife was going to buy another watch because she couldn’t set it. Her finger was hovering over the buy button just as I found this explanation.

  29. To think it was that easy. Thanks for the info. For some reason, mine wouldn’t go out of the setting mode when I hit mode “until it stops blinking” but I finally hit set and that fixed it. That part was easy to figure out. You’d think with such a simple process, the instructions would’ve been much easier to find!

  30. My wife has a timex 1440 sports (504 T5K081). At least, that’s what it claims to be. It’s not like any of the 1440 watches on the Timex website. I have re-set the time on it once before using instructions on the web, but cannot remember how. Unfortunately the instructions above do not work for it. The buttons are in different positions from those described above, and pressing set does not produce a flashing display. I have a vague feeling I had to press two buttons at the same time to get things started. Back to Google! (Sigh!)

  31. I finally found these instructions which worked for my model (504-T5K081) on fixya.com – http://www.fixya.com/support/t13507173-anyone_manula_timex_1440_sports_504

    Press and hold the mode button until it starts to blink, then release.
    First the alarm time will come up.
    Press the mode button once to get to the time and date.
    The seconds will flash first.
    Press the st/stop button to toggle between the seconds, hour, minutes, date (month and day) and day of the week.
    Press the lap/reset button to change the values.
    When done, press the mode button again to return to normal.

  32. Awesome…awesome..can’t thank you guys enough for doing this extra piece of research…and putting this valuable information here!! Can’t believe they still have this old school technology…its a cute and not too pricey watch, so went for it.

  33. Thank you so much for figuring this out! I was starting to get very frustrated!! Did you figure out how to set the date?!

  34. Pingback: How To Adjust Time On Timex 1440 Sports Watch | Information

  35. Thank you so much, I was so struggling about this, I was thinking and thinking, and pressing the wrong bottom, but now I got it. Thanks

  36. I accidentally changed the year ahead on my watch, so for the longest time I have had to ignore the day of the week as it shows on my watch date. Thanks to your instructions I know how to change the year but only ahead. Is there anyway to reverse the year?. For the time being, my watch thinks the year is 2039 which gives me the right day of the week, but is it possible to go backwards in years when setting the year?

  37. Thanks Rob, your post is a life saver, I am bookmarking it straight away for fear of a repeat such as this. Its worse for me because the four buttons are not named exactly as yours and are in different positions, so its a messy situation.

    Thanks again

  38. Thanks! Agreed the time change and get-the-alarm-off settings are impossible to figure out by fumbling. This Daylight Savings,I thought i’d missplaced/accidentally thrown out my user guide paper i keep folded up in back part of my wallet (good place). Thankfully you have your guide here. Agree entirely to above , yours and comments!
    Turned out i did still have the saved 1440 guide paper. i’d forgotten the watch was a Timex and seeing Timex on the upward part of the paper i thought i’d still kept the directions to an older watch. From your blog i saw it’s a Timex. Agree also that 1980’s/1990’s Casio watches also had this confusing never-figure out on own type time-change ways.

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  40. omg thank you so much! same as all the above comments – ridiculous how i can’t figure this out myself or thru timex. also do you know what that “MO” stands for to the left of the first number ??

  41. Thanks a bunch; I had given up trying to figure out the crazy user interface for this watch. Ah, hold top left button three seconds, then let go, then press other button…of course, how could anyone miss it, because it is so terribly obvious… Not! Here’s hoping Timex sends you a check in the mail.

  42. Thanks so much, Rob. I must have a real dud, because it doesn’t blink when you press the set button, to adjust the time. I just paid $14 for a replacement battery, but still can’t set the time. The watch place couldn’t work it out either!

  43. I use this post every time I have to deal with the time change in spring and fall. If not for this post, I’d probably have just bought a new watch by now! Thank you!

  44. Hello everybody. I’m adding another contribute, still for 1440 sports Timex, but with a different bottons position. In a model I have, the buttons are in this order: Mode = bottom left, Start/Stop = top right, Lap/Rst. = bottom right and Indiglo = bottom center.

    1 – press for 3 secs Lap/Rst. = bottom right, and seconds start blink

    2 – press Start/Stop = top right, for increase values (minute, hour, day, etc.) or seconds to zero

    3 – press Mode = bottom left, for increase the function – from secs to minutes, after that to hours, etc.
    4 – press again Lap/Rst. = bottom right, once, to stop/end the job

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