Invicta Swiss Automatic and Quartz Watches Complete Guide-Review
Fun, Fashionable, Affordable
Invicta watches differ from other brands in three important watchmaking aspects: price, design, and target audience. Unlike the majority of Swiss watches, Invicta products are easily affordable, flaunt an exuberant, often rebellious design, and are marketed mainly to young people.
Probably the most effortlessly recognizable trait in all Invicta collections – starting with the serious Invicta Reserve and ending with the sleekly cool Slim – is that of a true sense of fun. In very broad terms, the company's products are fun to look at, fun to wear, and fun to operate. Invicta obviously tapped into an incredibly bountiful resource of “fun”, something many brands are yet to succeed at.
Invicta claims to have been established in 1837. Though an old brand, it is its newest history, especially the history of design, that is the most exciting. Today the company manufactures about twenty collections, many of which focus on aiding various sports and outdoors activities. Invicta employ quartz and mechanical calibers, and don't discriminate between movements (most collections include both).
Another important side to the brand's philosophy is the use of unorthodox materials without significantly raising the price of the timer. Indeed, quite a few Invicta watches can be bought for several hundred dollars, and some for less than a hundred.
Design and Website
Before we talk about Invicta designs, I'd like to recommend downloading the catalog from the official website. It's free, and fun to study up close; some of the designs are truly extraordinary and will entertain you simply for their outrageous form, accessories, and color.
There are many Invicta designs, but each one is different. Though in some collections the company clearly references such high-end brands as Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and others, most of its pieces are highly original – and some are strikingly original.
Nothing is out of the limits: the basic approach is to treat the watches as a modern art object. This entails experimental, youthful, boisterous, rebellious, explosive, even political designs of enduring expressive energy and focus. Fossil flirted with these ideas in their Starck and Trend collections; Invicta nurtured them into full-fledged design principles.
Invicta watches can be categorized according to departments: Compilations, Diver&Nautical, Fashion&Urban, and Racing&Speed.
Compilations are really “The Best Of” collections, drawing from other departments, isolating watches with expressed luxury, affordability, or fashion characteristics. As is usually the case with “The Best Of” compilations, they often contain at least one new, previously unreleased line.
Invicta Reserve compiles diver's watches and chronograph timers from from SubAqua and Pro Diver collections. Invicta Reserve includes the following titles: Bolt Reserve, Subaqua Venom, Akula Reserve, Excursion, Pro Diver Exotic Dial, Pro Diver Meteorite, and Specialty Reserve Chronograph. It's an extensive line that contains the more luxurious (and expensive) officially certified chronometers with gold (yellow or rose) plating. Bolt, Excursion and Akula are Reserve only collections, Akula being the broadest in terms of design and utility.
Invicta II accommodates the brand's affordable timepieces. Many Invicta II watches cost less than $100, yet retain the robust build and quality that became the privilege of all the brand's products. The compilation includes Sport Chrono, Diver Sport, Elite, Sunray, Elegant, Urban, Classic, and other lines, some of which show distinct Citizen similarities.
Invicta Signature design reflects the latest global fascination with nature, most recently reproduced in Seiko Arctura watches. Invicta Signature watches incorporate diamonds and mother-of-pearl, and demonstrate strong classic tendencies, both in ladies' and men's models. Notable are the flowing lines, even in square and rectangular pieces, and the use of multiple circular subdials.
Diver's and Nautical watches constitute the brand's strongest and most elaborate department. Invicta Diver's watches include the Subaqua, Pro Diver, Russian Diver, and Corduba (Ibiza Diver); Nautical watches comprise the Sea Spider and Ocean Quest. These collections contain some of the more shocking and intense designs produced by Invicta – and perhaps any watchmaker anywhere.
Invicta Subaqua is one of the brand's most familiar collections: a diver's line, it houses some eye-popping designs besides tamer ones, reminiscent of Ulysse Nardin aquatic watches. Models include Noma, Chronograph, Sport Chrono, Sunray and the Subaqua Venom. Invicta Subaqua offers a rich ladies subcollection, and incorporates carbon fiber in some rare pieces. By many standards, it's the ultimate diver's watch.
Pro Diver is less playful than Subaqua, displaying more mission focus and intensity. The sharp focus in Pro Diver timers is conveyed by the triangular parts – indexes, hands, or bezel markers – which symbolically epitomize the theme of sharpness and readiness. Models include Ocean Ghost (Meteorite), Sea Wizard, Grand Diver, Classic, Titanium, and Ladies. Pro Diver features a dedicated Quartz line – the brand conspicuously expressing their full trust in this underrated movement.
Russian Diver once again veers into fun territory. These are super large watches that feature some unique characteristics: a crown that's tied by a chain to the case, outrageous colors, openworked skeleton models, and a bizarre, rope ladder-like bracelets. (KGB dungeons, anyone?) In some ways, this is an alien's watch – and would definitely appeal to fans of all things alien and science fiction. But besides all the design peculiarities, Russian Diver is a solid diver's watch, with professional, Swiss made chronograph function, and a set of protective features that will keep the timepiece safe under and above water.
Corduba (Ibiza Diver) is another intense, theme based collection – the Western counterpart of Russian Diver: same savage design tendencies, mellowed by European charm and sensibility. The oversized case and crown are still there, but without the crazy chain linking between them; the rope ladder bracelet has been smoothed out. Some models come with a leather strap – a n uncommon sight in Invicta watches.
Sea Spider and Ocean Quest, Invicta's Nautical collections, contain a set of utilities packaged in muscular and sophisticated designs that rely heavily on color: luxurious, juicy yellows, cherry, and blues (Sea Spider), and seemingly playful multi-tone schemata (Ocean Quest), reminiscent of Alain Silberstain. Functions include alarm, intensity counter, and chronograph. Some of the watches are truly gigantic.
Racing watches include the jarring S1 Rally and the elegant Speedway
– collections that rival in design and function almost any brand
manufacturing driver's watches, be it Tag Heuer, Oris, or Blancpain.
S1 Rally watches present an unconventional face design: the dials look as if a miniature atomic blast has just taken place somewhere north of six o'clock. These timepieces look bad in the best meaning of this word; they are vicious. S1 Rally watches are available in tonneau (the more reticent, Touring Edition) or round shape (Sport Chrono).
Invicta Speedway is more refined than the S1 Rally, but, just like it, offers round and rectangular watches. It's a more elaborate collection both in design and function variety, containing several models: Speedway 360, Prowler, Grand, Chronograph, and the delicious Vasuki, a square piece with some subtle Roger Dubuis references.
Finally, let's take a look at Invicta's
fashion, general sports, and casual wearing watches: Lupah, Force,
Ceramics, Slim, Vintage, and Wild Flower collections.
Invicta Lupah is one the brand's best known collections. It features watches in tonneau or round shaped cases, in artistic, surprising, and genuinely delightful designs that combine freedom of dial composition with color, subdials and various functions. Lupah watches display a relatively basic case frame (except, perhaps, the perky spherical push buttons) – the dials are where all the creative action takes place.
Invicta Force is a master all-purpose sports collection with an open political message: to bring previously unattainable for the masses clocks to general population. Most Force watches emphasize simplicity and clarity, allowing the chronograph functions to take precedence. Although some of the bulkier models indeed appear “forceful”, it is, as mentioned before, a master collection that includes smaller&slimmer versions, titanium cases, a ladies line, and more.
Invicta Ceramics is a small, surprisingly classic looking (for a sports automatic chronograph) collection that uses high-tech ceramic materials for the casing, the dial, and even the bracelet. Most Ceramics watches are two-tone, in understated or contrasting color variations, as if offsetting the non-traditional materials with obviously traditional visuals. A sleeper.
Invicta Slim breaks new territory for the brand, offering an assortment of casual, ultra thin watches. This collection is a complete opposite of the majority of Invicta designs: compact, minimalistic, even austere. Without complications, dispensing with seconds hands, and offering indexes instead of the usual numerals, these watches provide an understated alternative for their openly expressive counterparts.