I received the Invicta 1453 in a yellow pleather box that would be identical to a Rolex box if it was green or contained anything approaching quality. Instead it contained a heavy, gaudy, battery-powered chronograh with unreliable pushers, questionable materials, and a dial designed by Dr. Suess. On the other hand, it never pretends to be something it’s not – a feature that’s increasingly rare amongst entry-level brands – which I find to be at least refreshingly honest to consumers in the S1’s target demographic. Had it been functional in any kind of way, I might even recommend it to rookie watch collectors. Since it wasn’t, I wouldn’t.
Case: The S1 comes in a heavy stainless steel case that measures a rugged 48mm across and 15mm tall. For a quartz watch, this seems to be more for fashion than function, however, its curved lugs and ease of wear redeem its superfluous dimensions. The thick polyurethane strap keeps its weight from moving all over the place on the wrist, and it never appears to be oversized, even on my smallish, seven-inch wrist. Contrasting the brushed metal case are two polished bevel edges that snake from lug to corresponding lug, shiny and smooth around the matte, rubberized-looking bezel. Style points would be awarded for this detail if it weren’t for the coneheaded crown that protrudes roughly three millimeters too far from the case, stabbing into bent wrists, popping open under the slightest pressure, and looking all kinds of incongruent – like a clown hat on a badger.
Strap: This is actually the watch’s best feature, as its secure tang buckle and rugged, polyurethane, 23mm width keep the hefty paperweight snug against the wrist without any slip or discomfort.
Dial/Movement: Beneath the “Flame Fusion” crystal lie messes of metallic looking shapes that are almost illegible in the daylight and certainly unreadable at night. Sources confirm the dial does contain lume, but I had a hard time getting the watch to glow enough to be visible, and when it was glowing, the application was inconsistent and weak. As if the lume was an afterthought. Or made with watercolors.
The black dial is decorated with shiny silver bits, matte gray bits, red bits, white bits, and a cornucopia of shapes that basically provide the readability of a spilled erector set. The one slick aspect is the tiny date window located between the 4 and 5 indices, which displays the date in upright numbers instead of the usual angled numbers. That’s the last convenient attribute of the dial.
Where most chronographs try to increase precision, this dial configuration seems bent on confusing and frustrating potential wearers. There are four red hands, for example, and none of them correspond. The red central seconds hand is always ticking and is not part of the chronograph at all – it’s also always a millimeter and a half from being in alignment, a personal pet peeve. The retrograde register at 9’o’clock measures the chronograph minutes, but with its silver tip, not its red tip (and from the bottom up, confusingly). The matching retrograde register on the dial’s opposite side seems to be a 24-hour hand unrelated to any of the other red hands (or even the time, since it can't be adjusted – it’s kinda doing its own thing). And finally, the chronograph’s seconds counter is located at a subdial at 6’o’clock, has three distracting branches, and, most absurdly, when the chronograph is reset, it spins counterclockwise for the ENTIRE length of measured time. If you recorded a 57-minute event, resetting the chronograph requires that you wait for the seconds register to make 57 backwards rotations before resetting. Functionality is the nail in the S1’s coffin.
Final Thoughts: At this price point, you get exactly what you pay for, and Invicta makes no apologies for that. On a 5-star scale, this watch sets the bar for what constitutes a one-star watch.