Must you shell out a ton of money for a good watch? Not really, says Invicta.
This Swiss-born but now-American watchmaker has been around for nearly 200 years to prove that statement. As a result, they have grown in sales and popularity these few decades.
But are Invicta watches all pros and no cons? Are Invicta watches good, with no flaws? Let’s explore more in this in-depth review.
History of Invicta
Invicta was founded in 1837 by Raphael Picard in the city of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
This makes Invicta even older than your popular Swiss watch brands such as Tissot, Rolex, or even Omega. Tissot was founded in 1853, Omega in 1848, and Rolex joined in real late in 1905.
Meaning ‘invincible’ in Latin, Invicta was started off on day one to produce luxury Swiss watches which ordinary people could afford.
That’s a market niche that they did very well throughout their history. Invicta even has the honor of producing watches for the Soviet naval fleet officers in the 1960s.
That’s something Invicta could be proud of, as the Soviets could have easily picked their own local companies to make these watches, such as Vostok.
The Quartz Crisis
All was well… until Seiko came in the rocked with the world with Seiko Astron in 1969. That ushered the Quartz Crisis.
Quartz Crisis referred to the 70s and 80s when the quartz movement rocked the traditional Swiss watch industry.
People realized quartz watches are cheaper and easier to maintain. They soon abandoned mechanical and automatic watches from the Swiss companies and started picking up cheap Seikos, Citizens, and Bulovas.
During this period, Swiss watchmakers have to decide whether to move up the value chain and become luxury watchmakers or cheapen themselves and mass-produce quartz watches.
Some adapted and thrived. Rolex, Omega, for example, noticed that their watches sold even better as wealthy people continued to support them.
Invicta, however, failed to adjust to the trends. The market they focused on, affordable automatic watches, was decimated as people moved en-masse to quartz.
The American Era Begins
After years of attempts to revive the brand, Invicta threw in the towel. The owner of Invicta, the Picard family, sold the company to a group of US investors in 1991.
The new American owners thought little about the Swiss heritage. They rebuilt the brand by producing quartz watches with bold designs.
Brand purists claim that the new American owners ‘cheapened’ the brand, but Invicta received a new lease of life.
This has allowed it to survive until today.
Where Are Invicta Watches Made?
Invicta does have ‘Swiss Made,’ watches. This means Invicta do have some manufacturing capacity in Switzerland.
By Swiss law, a watchmaker can only claim a watch to be ‘Swiss Made’ if 50% of its value comes from Switzerland. That means parts, manufacturing process, etc.
However, Invicta also assembles many of its watches in China and Malaysia.
However, it can be difficult to tell the production location of watches, as they can come from many countries. It does not help that watch companies can be secretive about this.
Does Invicta Make Their Watches In-House?
Invicta does not produce all their watch parts in-house. They design their watches in-house. Then they outsource some, if not all of the manufacturing and assembly process.
This is the reason why you may see Invicta watches run multiple movements – some Japanese, some Swiss, some Chinese even.
The Swiss movements you can find in Invicta watches are from Sellita, ETA, and Ronda. As for the Japanese, expect to find Seiko or Miyota/Citizen movements.
Seagull supplies the Chinese movements – they are the biggest watch movement manufacturer in the world.
Are Invicta Watches Made In China?
‘Assembled in China’ might be a more proper term. This is because the parts in Invicta’s watches are not all from China.
For example, the watch movements might be Swiss or Japanese in origin. So do other parts, such as cases, bracelets, or crystals, which might also come from somewhere else.
Further complicating this, Invicta does have manufacturing and assembly facilities in Switzerland and Malaysia.
But one thing to be sure of is that most mass-production-based watch companies do have facilities in China, and so does Invicta.
But again, we need to see if all the parts are manufactured in China. On top of that, we also need to see if the parts are assembled to become a watch in China too.
If yes, then it’s a ‘Made In China.’ if no, perhaps the term ‘Assembled in China’ will make more sense.
So it is not straightforward to say if Invicta watches are made in China.
How Is Invicta Watches’ Reputation?
Invicta has a very polarising image, one of the most extreme to many watch enthusiasts.
Invicta has been recognized as a ‘sell-out’ brand to watch purists.
After the Americans took over the company in 1991, they turned the brand into manufacturing cheap quartz watches.
Yet, they market their watches using the Swiss history and connection it has.
This means Invicta has turned into an ‘all hype, no substance’ company. Talking about the history, heritage, and workmanship of Swiss watches…
While they do not even produce their own movement, and many of their watches are mass-manufactured in Asia.
On another side, they see Invicta as a company that has successfully rebranded itself to stand toe-to-toe with big Japanese watchmakers such as Seiko or Citizen.
Invicta took the Japanese playbook and played it well – mass-manufacture watches with bold designs and sell them cheap.
These people see Invicta as continuing their tradition of offering quality watches at affordable prices.
But ordinary people don’t really care much about these. Many like their eccentric and oversized models as well.
Why are Invicta Watches So Cheap?
Mass manufacturing and outsourcing. Invicta spends little on research and development and cuts down their costs further by mass manufacturing their watches in Asia.
Invicta does not need to spend too much money on research and development. For example, they do not develop their own in-house movement or watch crystals.
They just source parts for their watches from other companies.
They then mass manufacture their watches in Asian factories, leveraging the economics of scale, lower cost of production, and wages.
This allows the price to be affordable.
Is Invicta A High-End Watch?
Invicta is not a high-end watch. The brand lack the finesse and expertise to be considered one. Invicta might be closer to the fashion watch group, similar to Fossil, Daniel Wellington, or Vincero.
Most high-end watches are 100% designed, manufactured, and assembled in-house. if not most.
Many high-end watches also use their own movements, and some are even assembled by hand.
Invicta designs the watches, but most of the parts used and manufacturing are from outside.
So, in short, Invicta is ‘luxury-looking.’ The watches look luxurious, the boutiques and purchasing experiences are luxurious, but not in real.
What Are Invicta Watches’ Collection?
Invicta has 40+ watch collections, with some new collections created in collaboration with Disney or Marvel.
Some of the more established collections include:
- Vintage Collection
- Pro Diver Collection
- Aviator Collection
- Angel Collection
- Artist Series Collection
- Force Collection
Invicta Vintage Collection
The Vintage Collection focuses on dress watches that are more elegant, timeless designs inspired by their old history.
Watches within the vintage collections use the Invicta IV logo from their early days. Some models are known to be using skeletonized dials to expose the mechanical movements.
Many watches within this line also use leather bands, roman numerals, and dress watch type design to further enhance that vintage, old-school feel.
Invicta Pro Diver Collection
This collection focuses on producing dive watches. Many designs cue iconic dive watches such as the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Seamaster.
There are also designs bearing a resemblance to the Seiko Orange Monster.
Invicta’s Pro Diver is a particular favorite of Rolex Submariner homage hunters.
Invicta Aviator Collection
This collection focuses on producing pilot/aviator watches. Most watches within this line come with chronograph sub-dials.
Customers have options from simple, understated designs all the way to oversized, colorful, and bold designs that just scream ‘look at me.’
It might be a good idea to check the watches properly – not all are actually able to function as pilot watches.
Invicta Angel Collection
Invicta Angel collection has the fairer sex in mind, with only lady watches on offer here.
Watches in this collection are small, simple, and elegant. There are also decorations such as faux-stones, glitters, and symbols.
Watches are often stainless steel, with additional gold or a two-tone finish.
Invicta Artist Series Collection
This is not a collection for the traditional-minded. The designs are eccentric, with watches in odd shapes and striking color combinations.
These watches often feature skeletonization, with out-of-the-ordinary finish and patterns.
Invicta Force Collection
This collection features watches designed with one thing in mind – toughness, and durability. This is perhaps Invicta’s challenge to the G-shocks.
The watches often come in oversize dials, with tough-looking designs to appeal to ‘tough men.’ Usage of sub-dials increases the appeal, with use of rubber or polyurethane watch bands helps further with durability.
What Are Invicta Watches’ Pros and Cons?
Invicta watches do come with their strengths and also weaknesses, so let’s check it out:
Invicta Pro: Great Pricing
Affordable – that is the word you can use on Invicta watches. In fact, Invicta is one of the cheapest out there, competing toe-to-toe to many Japanese, even Chinese watchmakers.
For example, a proper Japanese dive watch with 300M (1000ft) water resistance, automatic movement, and a see-through case back, you will be looking at a $200 upwards.
With Invicta, you can get the exact specifications with the Invicta Grand Diver 3044 for only $90.
They are able to achieve this by playing the same playbook these Asian watchmakers are doing, mass manufacturing watches with great designs.
Invicta Pro: Great Homages
The company is well known for its homage watches – watches with designs that look close to the original watch.
Invicta’s Pro Diver 89620B is one of the most well-known Rolex Submariner homages, with a very similar design, yet not to the level of being a complete imitation. Another is the Invicta Speedway 9223, which could easily pass as a homage to the Rolex Daytona.
Invicta Pro: Experimental Watches
If you have an open mind and are ready to try wearing watches that are out of the ordinary, Invicta is an excellent place to start.
The artist collection, for example, features some eccentric watch designs – abnormal shapes, contrasting colors, and bold use of patterns and motives such as skulls.
Also, the watch sizes can be massive, which means if you like oversized watches that just scream for attention, then Invicta is definitely your home.
Invicta Cons: Quality issues
Invicta watches has received some flak from their customers over quality issues. If you check the reviews on Amazon, small percentages of customers leave negative reviews on the watches.
Sure not all watches will have a 100% 5-star rating, but still, if there are one-star ratings, something must have gone really wrong.
Complaints seem to range from poor bracelet workmanship to water gasket failing.
Invicta Cons: Inconsistency
When you buy a Seiko, you know you will have a Seiko movement beating inside the watch.
When you buy a Rolex, you know you will have a Rolex movement beating inside the watch.
But when an Invicta, you need to do your homework, as the movement can be Swiss, Japanese, or Chinese.
Suppose you are the kind that is particular about watch movements. In that case, Invicta will not be an excellent experience for you.
Invicta Cons: Image
Invicta has drawn polarising views from watch enthusiasts, as explored in previous topics.
Some see it as a sell-out, a fake watch company selling nothing but fashion watches but trying to pass off as a Swiss watch company.
Some just see Invicta as an alternative to Seiko, Citizen, and many other mass-produced watches out in the market.
So, when you purchase an Invicta, are you buying a piece of horological history or nothing but a fashion watch?
This is up to you to decide, and hopefully, this article could help you arrive at your answer.
And yes, be prepared to be challenged by a self-righteous watch snob that might look down on your decision to purchase an Invicta.
How To Avoid Low-Quality Invicta?
Invicta made such a wide variety of watches with various qualities.
Despite all of these watches having the Invicta brand, one could be gold and the other a lemon.
Get Only Japanese and Swiss Movements
One piece of advice here is to ensure that the movement inside the watch is either Swiss or Japanese. This at least ensures you have a great movement beating inside your watch.
Movements from ETA, Sellita are great, as these companies also supply Swiss watchmakers such as Sinn, Hublot, and Raymond Weil.
As for Japanese movements, Miyota is now part of Citizen, to technically you are buying a Citizen movement. You can be assured of Seiko’s quality as well.
As for the other parts of the watch, such as watchband or watch crystal, you can always upgrade them at a watchmaker.
Avoid Expensive Models
Unlike premium, expensive models such as the Grand Seiko or Omegas, premium Invicta watches do not have much innovation or uniqueness.
With the Grand Seiko, you get the Spring Drive movement. With Omega, you are purchasing a piece of history and Omega’s reputation for quality.
You also gain potential financial gain from purchasing these watches, as they appreciate in value.
With Invicta, not so much. Plus, Invicta is becoming more and more a fashion watch company, rather than a proper horological house.
This means you might be better off just picking up cheaper Invicta models and treating them as a fashion item to wear on your wrist.
Do Invicta Watches Appreciate In Value?
Invicta watches are seen more and more as fashion watches.
Therefore, the future of Invicta watches might be a fashion brand rather than a proper horological house.
This could be bad for the value of their watches. Fashion watches, in general, do not appreciate in value. Only iconic watches from major watchmakers appreciate in value.
There might be exceptions to this rule, but we do not see much in investing in Invicta watches. For example, you might better invest in vintage Japanese or Swiss watches.
How Long Is Invicta Warranty?
Invicta offers of 3-year warranty for their watches. If the watch malfunctions due to manufacturing defects, the warranty covers it.
Where To Buy Invicta Watches?
Counterfeiters do not seem to be targetting Invicta watches too much. However, still, it’s better to be careful when shopping for one.
There are several places to shop online for Invicta watches, which are:
- Invicta’s online shop
Official Online Store
Official online shops are usually the safest place to purchase watches online, as you can pretty much guarantee the genuineness of the watch you are buying.
Plus, warranty claims are much more straightforward, too, since your purchasing record is with them directly, not through a reseller.
However, Invicta’s online store can sometimes feel a little ‘iffy.’
It seems that the watches are forever ‘on sale,’ and at times, they seem to be selling at massive discounts, sometimes as high as 90%.
This raises the question: are these watches really on sale? or nothing but a marketing gimmick?
Some marketers inflate the MSRP of the product. And then they give massive discounts.
Unaware customers will feel as if they are getting a great deal. But in real, they are paying full price.
Sure feels a bit sleazy, does it?
This brings us to Amazon.
Amazon does not allow merchants to give illogical discounts. The pricing is more honest.
Plus, Amazon has strict policies on fake or imitation products. This ensures all Invicta watches sold on Amazon are genuine.
With Amazon, you can also read reviews on a particular watch before buying. Invicta cannot delete these reviews, so you can be sure you are reading all the reviews left.
But on other websites, they probably can.
What Are Invicta’s Most Known Watches?
Many watch enthusiasts appreciate Invicta’s Rolex homages. Many also like their bold, oversized watches as well. Here are some for you to start with:
Invicta Pro Diver 89260B
One of the best Rolex Submariner Homage. You’ll get a reliable Japanese automatic movement with this watch. 40mm in diameter, with stainless steel case and bracelet.
The watch also has a coin-edge bezel with a cyclops magnifier and a date window at the 3 o’clock position. The watch is also 200M (660ft) water-resistance.
Invicta 9223 Speedway
Watch enthusiasts love this watch. The reason? it a well-made Rolex Daytona homage. 39.5mm in diameter, with stainless steel case and bracelet.
A Japanese Hattori VD53B-14 quartz movement powers this watch, with a chronograph and 3 functional subdials. Watch is 200M (660ft) water-resistant.
Invicta Grand Diver 27610
Invicta Grand Diver is a functional diving watch with a water resistance of 300M (1000 ft). The watch is a whopping 47mm in diameter for easy legibility underwater.
The watch comes in a stainless steel case. The bracelet is also stainless steel, with a foldover clasp. It is powered by Seiko’s NH35 automatic movement with hand winding and hacking.
Invicta Pro Diver 29176
This is another of Invicta’s well-celebrated homage, this time as the homage of the famous Rolex GMT ‘Pepsi.’
The watch is 42mm in diameter, with stainless steel case and a red and blue unidirectional bezel. The jubilee bracelet is made from stainless steel as well. Protected with mineral crystal
The watch runs on a Seiko NH35A automatic movement with hand winding and hacking. A cyclops magnifier and a date window complete the GMT look.
So, Are Invicta Watches Good?
Say what you want about Invicta. It is still a watch company that has a long history. They survived countless ups and downs throughout their existence to be where they are today.
But then, are Invicta watches good?
Invicta is best seen as a fashion watch brand, offering fashionable, experimental timepieces at an affordable price. Their homages are very well received by watch enthusiasts, and the quality is good.
You also get an excellent price to own the creation of the world’s most reliable, accurate watch movement makers – think ETA, Miyota/Citizen, or Ronda.
However, be prepared to spend some effort determining the proper pricing of the watch, as the pricing can be very inconsistent.
Also, be prepared to investigate further about the movement of the watch you are keen to purchase, as movements in Invicta’s watches vary. When possible, stick with Swiss or Japanese movements.
Approach ownership of Invicta watches as a fashion piece, not as an investment, as it probably would not hold much value down the road.
And yes, their homages are great and are worth the low price they charge.
Any chance you are an Invicta watch owner? How has your watch ownership experience been? Feel free to comment below, and let’s interact.