Invicta watches have a bad reputation in the collector community. Wearing almost any Invicta watch will be frowned upon by a lot of enthusiasts, but is all the hate well-founded, or is it simply the cool thing to do?
This article will go into a deep analysis to determine once and for all: are Invictas good watches?
Why do Invictas Have a Bad Reputation?
There are several reasons why Invictas are treated the way they are in the watch industry, here are the most common reasons.
The quality control is undoubtedly the biggest issue with Invicta watches. This explains why there's such a disparity of opinions when it comes to this brand.
Some people claim to have owned several Invictas over the year, and all of them were good and reliable. On the other hand, you hear a lot of horror stories such as this one from Watchuseek forum user Leewmeister:
My personal experience: Four Invictas, three of them duds.
One popped a sub-dial hand within a month. Returned for a full refund. Two of them died in under a year. Both were repaired under warranty and died again within a few months. [...]
Me? I'm done with the brand.
This kind of experience explains why almost every Invicta model has constantly 10% to 15% of 1 or 2 stars reviews(as pictured below).
As you can see, the Invictas get much more bad reviews than trustable brands such as Orient, Seiko, Citizen, etc.. When you dig deeper, you realize most of these 1 or 2 stars reviews are given for some quality control issue (ex: the watch arrived broken).
The boosted MSRP is the next reason why so many people hate Invicta. The brand has been using this sleazy marketing technique for a while now. What they do is they give the watch a MSRP 3x to 5x higher than what the timepiece is actually going to retail for.
For example, a 150$ Invicta will often be accompanied by a 500$ MSRP to make you think you got the deal of the century. Let's be honest, this marketing technique doesn't fool anyone but the most uninformed buyers.
While this doesn't affect the quality of the watches directly, it gives off a snake-oil salesman vibe that many people dislike.
As you can see in the picture above, taken directly from invictastores.com, the MRSP is alway obnoxiously high compared to the ''on sale'' price, even for a model that just got out.
When you buy a watch from a brand with a long history of great quality control, particularly if they produce their movements in-house, you can expect the timepiece to maintain at least some of its value over the years.
For example, the Seiko SNXJ89 was discontinued back in 2014, but pre-owned models still sell for over retail price.
In contrast, you are certain to lose most of the value of your Invicta the second you wrap it around your wrist. The explanation for this is quite simple: Invicta releases an enormous amount of new models every year.
The mind-boggling number of Invicta watches that come out every year dilutes the brand's name. By trying to appeal to literally every single consumer, Invicta focuses way more on quantity than quality.
For example, the ''New arrivals'' page of the Invicta Store currently displays 255 models.
A lot of Invicta watches are equipped with their branded ''Flame Fusion crystal''. Invicta claims it is a super resistant hybrid between mineral and sapphire. In fact, it only is a mineral crystal with a very thin sapphire film on top. The name makes you think it is of very high quality, but in reality it's very similar to a mineral crystal.
This is another prime example of naming that can confuse the average consumer. This nomenclature strongly resembles the tritium luminous phosphorescent. Tritium is a very high-quality lume that is used by upscale watch companies such as Rolex. Of course, Invicta's Tritnite lume is nowhere near tritium in terms of quality.
As is the case for quality control, customer service seems to be hit or miss depending on who you ask. Some people are very satisfied with the service they get, but there's also a very vocal crowd that's unhappy with how they were treated.
As you can see above, Consumer Affaires and Yelp collected reviews for the brand from hundreds of people, and the average rating on both sites is a measly 1.5 stars. When looking at individual complaints, you quickly see how many people felt their claims were mishandled.
Common complaints include slow response time or even no response at all in some cases, a general uncooperative attitude from the staff and a lot of problems related to the warranty, which leads me to my next point.
Invicta offers a 3-5 years warranty on all their watches, which might look great on the surface. In reality, this warranty is one of the worst in the watch industry. The warranty covers only the dial, hands and movement.
This excludes any problem related to the crystal, crown, case strap or battery. Even if your problem is covered by the program, it's still a pain in the neck to get a replacement or your money back.
For example, you will need to pay the shipping and/or service fees to Invicta, even if you're not responsible for the problem. Also, some minor maintenance might make you ineligible for warranty coverage. For instance, changing the battery on your quartz watch will void the warranty.
There's also a lot of stories of people trying to change their broken movement within 3 years of their purchase and Invicta always seems to find a reason why they can't change it for free.
If you're part of the older crowd, you might be surprised to hear such bad things about Invicta. Back in the day, this brand was known as a great Swiss watchmaker that produced quality timepieces.
This is very true, from 1837 to the 1990's Invicta was a good company that made traditional Swiss watches. In 1991, the business was sold to outside interests, which made the company take a dicey turn.
Ever since, the Invicta brand has no real identity: a lot of the watches they put out are replicas of famous models (such as the Rolex GMT or Submariner, as pictured above) and they almost never use in-house movements.
What's Good About Invicta Watches?
Of course, not every single aspect of Invicta is bad, there's a reason why they sell millions of units every year. Their main selling point is the number of features you get for the small price they charge.
For instance, they offer a lot of sub-100$ watches that are equipped with technology usually found on timepieces worth 300$+. The Invicta 8926 is the perfect example: it packs a Japanese automatic movement (SII NH35), a display case back, 200m of water resistance, all that for under 80$.
Invicta simply can't be beaten on the hardware at this price point. The competition is almost non-existent in this price range: except for the Seiko 5, you have very few choices but to get an Invicta.
This element ties in perfectly with the last one. Invicta watches are popular because they are so damn affordable. After the reduction from their insane MSRPs, these watches start at about 40$.
The prices can go up to almost a thousand dollars depending on the model, but they're always much cheaper than other similarly equipped timepieces. I can't recommend spending much money on Invictas, as there's a good chance you'll get a lemon and regret it.
On the other hand, I think a cheap (<100$) Invicta has its place in any watch collection. You just need to be prepared mentally for it to break eventually.
The material used to make these watches isn't bad. For example, the stainless steel case or mineral glass they use will be as good as any other watches. That's why most (if not all) complaints are related to movement, alignment or manufacturing issues.
The material of their bands/bracelet/straps are usually up to par with the industry. Where you got to be careful is when you get a colored band, as there seems to be a lot of discoloration problems.
Last but not least, Invicta has tons of amazing designs that will please just about anyone. Out of the thousands of models they created, it's almost impossible not to find one to your liking.
Not only do they create their original designs, they also have licensing deals with huge brands such as Disney, DC Comics and Garfield (just to name a few). These watches are loved by kids, but they also appeal to nerds like me.
Also, Invicta is one of the few companies that offers as many women's watches as men's watches. There are a ton of options for all genders and ages, ranging from subtle and elegant to loud and outlandish.
Good Invicta Watches Recommendation
As I stated above, I can't personally recommend buying an Invicta watch above 100$, unless you have a lot of money to spare. The risk to reward ratio is just too great, so I encourage you to stay below the 100$ price point.
Best Quartz Invicta Under 100$
The Invicta 8932 has everything you need in a quartz watch, and it usually hovers around the 50$ price mark. Its 37.5mm case will sit comfortably on most men's wrists, and its 11mm thickness will allow you to wear it with dress shirts.
The 8932 is equipped with the PC32A quartz movement. This is a cheap but efficient movement manufactured by Hattori, a Japanese company part of the Seiko Group. You can expect it to be precise and last for a while.
Since it is part of Invicta's Pro Diver line, it has a 200m water resistance. You might want to take this stat with a grain of salt, as water leakage is a common complaint on this model. It can be hard to believe Invicta really achieves 200m WR without a screw-down crown.
Of course, this watch's popularity comes from the classic it is based on, the Rolex Submariner. Indeed, the 8932 is pretty much a replica of the Submariner, except for a few details, such as the pattern of the bezel.
Best Mechanical Invicta Under 100$
The Invicta 8928OB is by far the most popular model currently sold by Invicta (according to sales numbers). Once again, this watch is priced well under 100$, and it offers good quality parts.
This time, the Invicta timepiece is equipped with a NH35A automatic caliber. This is a workhorse movement produced by Seiko, offering great features such as hand-winding, hacking and a bi-directional oscillating weight.
The reliable NH35A caliber packs 24 jewels, beats at 21,600 bph and has approximately 41 hours of power reserve.
The case is a bit bigger than it is on the 8932, measuring 40mm. Men with <6'' wrists might want to steer clear of this watch to avoid lug overhang. The crown is screwed-down on the 8928OB, so the 200m water resistance is much more plausible.
Invicta Watches to Avoid
Any Invicta Sold On Cruise Ships
Invicta watches are commonly sold on cruise ships, in hotels or pretty much anywhere tourists are. As is expected from Invicta, they put them ''on sale'' for 70%+ of the MSRP. The problem is that they're always 1.5x to 2x more expensive than Amazon or eBay.
Since you're usually more inclined to spend money on a cruise (for example, to bring back a gift) and also you have no point of reference (no access to the internet), Invicta takes advantage of you by charging more then they would online.
This is why it's never recommended to buy an Invicta watch on a cruise ship (or other tourist locations) since you are guaranteed to pay higher than you would elsewhere.
Invictas Without Reviews
As so many new Invicta watches come out every month, a lot of them have no reviews on websites such as Amazon. You might be tempted to buy an Invicta watch with no review, simply judging it by the specs and pictures, but this might be a big mistake.
Since quality control is poor and there's no consistency with the parts they use, your best bet is to stick to well-known Invictas with lots of reviews. This way, you can tell if they used quality parts for this particular timepiece, and you will also learn the most common issues with this model.
I think it's safe to say the quality of Invicta watches is up for debate, and the opinion will vary greatly from one collector to another.
If you're still unsure whether or not Invicta is the good brand for you, take a look at the pros and cons list below to help your decision.