Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

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Mortuus Fakeuus

Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by Mortuus Fakeuus » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:36 pm

This bit of editorializing first came to life as a single post "on another site" in a debate that came about when one of the site's new members came across a review I'd done on a then-newly released S. Coifman dress watch. The ensuing discussion grew to something like a dozen members, then got really heated, and I began to see once again those things that made me shun the Invicta brand and move on to [far] better things a few years back. Added to that was my recent troubles with Invicta OEM rubber straps that hadn't had anything more stressful thrown at them than being stored in a padded box and worn every six months or so. And then there were other things, too, myriad things that the vast majority of users of Invicta products know about, but a very stubborn micro-minority continue to ignore as they cheerily buy up more and more Invicta watches.

I won't say I had an epiphany -- I'd already had that eight or so years before, when the lies, cheats and inferior product had finally taken their toll on my 'fanboydom' for the brand. Nope, it was more of a case of getting that first pair of glasses, only to find that I needed a new prescription to see clearly once again, after enough time had elapsed. Bottom line: I gave Invicta Watch Group a second chance to win my loyalty, and after a two- or three-year experiment, they failed me yet again. Badly. It was disappointing, but no great surprise, as I'd seen it all before, so I ended up posting the following semi-rant:

"Unfortunately, and despite making a decent product every now and then, like selected S. Coifman watches, there is still that taint that comes with being an Invicta Watch Group (IWG) product; the lack of good QA & CS, the lies about their products and even their people, etc., all contribute to this 'taint.' Unfortunately, as good as a single watch might be, it is still going to be tainted by being an IWG-produced item, and will carry all the horological baggage that comes with that designation.

Although these S. Coifman watches turned out okay, there is the fact that they both had their clasps fail at the same time [eight months after purchase] to consider. And that's just the tip 'o the iceberg when it comes to the whole IWG 'family' of watches, and the 'taint' that inexorably follows them.

The bottom line is, they do make some good watches, here and there, but the corporate "ethic" that "guides" IWG is based on out-and-out lies, chicanery and, quite frankly, a brand of arrogance that mixes all-too-well with the ignorance of the vast majority of prospective watch buyers. You even have people out there who, despite knowing that the company is full of hyperbole and outright mendacity (and, at some level, anyone who's ever bought an Invicta that fell apart or simply experienced the loss of a clasp, here or there, knows this), still go out and buy their products, and by the hundreds every year, in some severe cases.

Instead of simply acknowledging the fact that IWG is 'tainted,' they keep doubling, tripling and even googling down by buying still more of these products, while lying to themselves or justifying these purchases by saying something like, "Oh, well, I'd rather have 20 (or fifty, or a thousand) inexpensive {read: mediocre} watches than a mere one or two fancy, expensive pieces" or "who needs a Rolex when an Invicta is just as good?" or even "I like Invicta because they're an everyman's brand, one that everyday people can relate to."

Yep, there really ARE people like that. Hell, I'm a member 'at another site' where one of the members has something like 500 Invicta watches, and he buys more of them every month, usually in batches of three to five, or even more, depending on the "good deals" he gets from evine and Invicta. And if you dare write anything even remotely negative about Invicta, its owner or the shills who sell them on evine or elsewhere, he goes on the attack, with snarky posts, accusing you of God-knows-what for slighting his beloved Invicta. And if you respond in-kind, he goes crying to the owner of the site, and demands that you never post anything in his threads, address him in any way or even send him a PM. And then he refuses to hit the "like" button on anything you post (even if it's a watch he happens to own).

It's pathetic to the point of being hilarious, and this choad has had more written about him on WL than just about anyone else, which is probably why he constantly lurks [there], hoping one of us who hold a membership on "his" site will say something that he can get us banned for. Why? Because he's an arrogant, ignorant goob who, in the finest tradition of Goebbels and Molotov, blindly stands by a loser of an ethic and an even bigger loser of a corporate entity, despite the crushing amount of evidence that it's a permanently tainted organization. (A favorite quote about him goes something like this: "Are you gonna let a 61 year-old man in a [Spiderman] comics t-shirt and wearing a 65mm watch tell you what to do?" ;) )

But there IS one type of buyer who is almost certainly worse still than the pogue described above, and that's the guy who buys a few IWG products, here and there, and loudly proclaims that, "Hey! Invicta makes a really good this or that, and as such, we should stop judging the company and their past lies and piss-poor performance, simply because they managed to build one or two models without the usual shitbird results." And you need look no further than Yours Truly to find that particular type of 'moke, right here in River City. Yup. Olde Mortense. I bought a few pro-divers and some Grand Divers, and declared the company free of all evil, and the source of well-made watches. I tempered this with a healthy disdain for some of their sillier designs -- the Bolt Zeus, Subaqua Specialty, the "X-Wing," and several other cornea-searing examples of idiocy -- all the while insisting that all was right with the world of Invicta watches. Well, not really, but why temporize it here, when I'm being so brutally honest? The end-result's the same: I ignored the 'taint,' and told others that they should, too.

And while Invicta has somewhat stepped up their efforts to make a better product, that doesn't necessarily indicate a better QC department; it might mean that they're engaging better factories to build some of their models -- because, you see, Invicta itself doesn't build anything -- or maybe it's just been a matter of luck, but they are still the same group of thugs who were building s--- watches and lying about them to boost sales.

Here are some examples:

- 'Mother of pearl' (MOP) dials that came from oysters living in a 'peaceful lake in China,' that were later proven to be fake MOP stickers, affixed to the dials of several 'MOP-dial' models. After they got caught, there were no mea culpa's, and certainly no apologies.

- 'Diamond chips' on the bezels of several different models that were proven to be glass chips. Again, no mea culpa's, and no apologies.

- "Swiss gold layering," supposedly a method of bonding 14K gold to steel "at the molecular level." To date, there has been no proof offered that this "technique" actually exists [or, if it does exist, how the process works].

- "Flame Fusion Crystals." Supposedly the "best" way to combine the strength of mineral crystals with the scratch-resistance of sapphire. Again, everyone's waiting for some kind of proof that this "technique" actually exists, but IWG hides behind the "Proprietary Information" meme.

- "Sandstone dials." The owner of [Watchlords], koimaster, sent a so-called "sandstone dial" from an Invicta watch to a lab for testing to see if it was genuine sandstone. The result: dyed sand and gold flecks mixed into a resin disk that was passed off as sandstone. (No word on whether or not the gold flecks were Swiss-layered gold flecks, but I'd bet on the negative, were I a betting man...oh, and there were no mea culpa's and no apologies. I'm sensing a trend here; are you?)

- "Russian Diver" design, first promulgated by the grandmother of Eyal Lalo, "current owner of Invicta, and a 'third-generation watchmaker'." The story is that the navy of the former Soviet Union came looking for a design for a Swiss-built dive watch to hand out to 100 of their senior dive officers, back in 1959. The result: the Invicta Russian Diver. Only problem: Invicta was not owned by the Lalo family, back in '59. (They neither owned nor had anything to do with Invicta until sometime after 1991...) Again, no mea culpa's, no apologies. In fact, the Invicta 'representatives' on evine-live still tell that same bunch-o-baloney story to their TV audiences every chance they get.

- As a retired military officer, this one hits very close to home for me, and I think it really shows the kind of man we're dealing with when it comes to Invicta's owner, Eyal Lalo. Back in May of 2012, Mr. Lalo donated 45 Invicta "Reserve level" watches to be sent over to the 'Gulf and given to our troops. 45 watches that Eyal claimed were worth a total of $70,000. USD, or ~$1555. USD per watch. Really? So he donates 45 watches to be distributed among close to half a million troops, and if Eyal were to claim the $70,000 as a deduction on his corporate tax submission, there's every reason to believe that whomever received these 'gifts' was on the hook for a $1555. increase to their personal income for that year. Hopefully the watch didn't fall apart until after that bit of news got passed to the recipient of this 'gift.' So Eyal Lalo and Invicta got all kinds of virtually free positive publicity for whatever the cost of those 45 watches was -- and I find it hard to believe the total value really was $70K -- and came out looking like heroes, while 45 men and women -- genuine heroes all -- got this "gift," plus a nice, big addition to their taxable income. Way to GO, 'Patriot Eyal!'

And there are still more [things about Invicta and its CEO/owner] that I've either forgotten or not heard of yet, but you get the idea; IWG tells whopper after whopper, after which they usually get caught, but do little more than hunker down and wait for the storm to pass while they say nothing. And people keep buying and buying. Sure, a lot of them are new to this watch-collecting thing, and they can be forgiven for not knowing about the "Invicta taint." However, those people with experience -- such as myself -- who claimed that IWG was doing better, or was 'fixed,' or was making some good watches these days, proved to be the most ignorant (and destructive) of all, because we lost sight of the ball, so to speak. For myself, I got all wrapped up in the pro-diver and Grand Diver lines, confusing the new ones with the older (and genuinely higher quality) examples, made before Invicta got too big for their britches, and then I got all caught up in the fact that IWG had talked Disney, Peanuts and others into allowing Invicta to make Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snoopy and even Popeye watches, all for those discerning Invicta customers, "those who know better." I lost sight of the ball and the 'taint'...

So, even though IWG and Invicta made no mea culpa's and zero apologies, it's well past time that Olde Morte does; so, to all my friends on all of the sites to which I belong, please accept my sincerest apologies for forgetting that IWG really IS the shit stain in the toilet bowl of watchmaking, and for stupidly arguing with you about how many pro-divers can dance on the head of a 'taint.' (And you all know who you are...)

Mea culpa! --=-- Mea Culpa! --=-- Mea Culpa!!

Short Answer to [the new WL member]: trust us when we say that every brand under the IWG umbrella is fraught with horological fraud, non-existant QC, and horrible Customer Service (CS), and if you manage to get a good watch that works well, count your lucky stars and hope your luck holds. Oh, and don't, even for a second, take your eye off the ball. Or the taint.

PS - Pray for Glycine, and avoid purchasing the following brands: Activa, Brizo, Cacciato & Joss, Imperious, Invicta, Pastorelli, Poseidon, Potger-Pietri, S. Coifman, Technica, and TechnoMarine. Don't let your collection be tainted...

Sorry for the overlong post, [all].

So that was it, and while neither short nor simple, it does explain why I've come to this juncture in my watch collecting for a second time in my life as a collector, reviewer and now commentator on this odd, compelling little obsession we all share. I'm absolutely certain that this will not be well-received in some quarters, and that's fine by me; people love shooting the messenger, especially one with whom they've tangled before, and that's okay. As an old Squadron CO used to say to us junior officers under his command, "if you're feelin' froggy, then leap, and see how far it gets you."

One last thing: My purpose here was not to tell you what you can or can't buy; if you want to spend your money on Invicta or any of its brands, then that's your prerogative. Don't let me or anyone else stop you. However, don't expect any sympathy from me, or others like me, when the you-know-what hits the fan with your Invicta product, as it inevitably will. Because you won't deserve it any more than I did, after having learned my lesson once and then given the same tainted company an undeserved second chance at my hard-earned dollar.
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by eddiea » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:31 pm

Oh ...
I like some past Invicta models, always took them at their face value, which is basically the same way I take other brands (fashion or not) , respectfully listen to others opinions but at the end of the day, I historically look down at fanboys of "any particular brand", I like it? I buy it....
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” Jack Kerouac
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