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Discussion Starter #1
By boscoe

Okay, let’s cut right to the chase here: Invicta didn’t win. Surprise! Surprise!

Well, not really.

Invicta never seems to come out on top in my side-by-side comparisons. And I don’t think it’s bias. I like Invictas! I can only shudder at what I’d think – and say – if I wasn’t a fan of the brand. But I gotta call it like I see it.

And the way I see it is Invicta makes great hundred dollar watches. Beyond that, your money is much better spent elsewhere. This shoot-out drives the point home. With a bullet!

THE CONTENDERS

All these bad boys are in roughly the same weight class and same price range. In the past, I have been guilty of comparing new Invictas against used versions of luxury brands – hoping Eyal Lalo’s gang would win on value points. They didn’t.


Invicta Limited Edition Diamond Diver (left) Seiko 6R15 (right)


Seiko (left), Invicta 2014 (right)

The Reigning Champ: The Invicta Forum’s very own Watch of the Year – the Limited Edition Diamond Dial Pro Diver. This watch looks like a million bucks. Well, actually it looks just like a $16,000 solid gold Rolex with a champagne and diamond dial. It’s a bling thing.



Tale of the Tape: 200 meter water resistance, stainless steel, screw down crown, sapphire crystals front and back, rotating bezel, lumed hands, solid end links, dual deployent with diver’s lock, scissor clasp and no diver extension, Cyclops lens, engraved numbered caseback, 45 mm. Hefty as hell. Thick gold plated push-pin bracelet attached by spring bars. SW-200 Sellita movement with date and engraved rotor. Hacking and handwinding automatic movement. All Swiss Made. Some of the finest fit and finish this company ever offered. Current street price NIB: Sold out – so the sky’s the limit. But about $345, including shipping.

My Favorite Son: The Swiss Made Invicta 2014 Reissue with white dial. I adore this timepiece, though many think it’s fugly. I think it can do double duty. Dress or play.



Tale of the Tape: 200 meter water resistance, stainless steel, screw down crown, sapphire crystals front and back, rotating bezel, lumed hands, solid end links, push-button dual deployent, scissor clasp no dive lock, no diver extension, no Cyclops lens. Engraved caseback, 43 mm. Hefty as hell. Thick two-tone, brushed center line push-pin bracelet attached by spring bars. Swiss ETA 2824-2 movement with date and engraved rotor. Hacking and handwinding automatic movement. Best fit and finish this company ever offered back in the day – and currently on par with the LE Diamond Diver. Current street price NIB: Sold out. But I paid $389, including shipping.

New Kid on the Block: Seikos 6R15 Diver, which was just introduced in April. This is a Japan-only model. I find it an interesting interpretation of the classic – read Rolex Submariner – look, though the case is far different. Some call this watch The Sumo. I don’t think the name fits. It’s muscular, but not in a gross way. However, the is the working man of the group. Think Joe Frasier to the Invicta’s Muhammed Ali.



Tale of the Tape: 200 meter water resistance, stainless steel, screw down crown, hardlex crystal front only, rotating bezel, lumed hands, solid end links, push button dual deployent with diver’s lock, clamshell clasp and diver extension, no Cyclops lens, engraved solid caseback, 45 mm. Hefty as hell. Thick push-pin and cap bracelet attached by recessed screws. Newly designed Seiko movement with date. Hacking and handwinding automatic movement. Which is a big deal since Seiko’s previous low-end, mid-range watches did not hack or handwind. Exceptional fit and finish – just a heartbeat shy of what you’d find on an Omega or Breitling. And, in truth, I may be splitting hairs. This is head-and-shoulders above any Seiko, including top-of-the-line US models, you’ll find at the local mall. I’ve done a side-by-side. Trust me. (Or not!) Current street price. $393, including shipping from Japan.

LET’S RUMBLE!

These two wonderful Invictas are simply outclassed – in every way – by a brilliant Seiko. Invicta’s traditional strongpoint, value for money, takes it right on the chin. And after that knockout punch, the Cheese Yellow bunch can’t even climb off the canvas. It was over before it started. Because we all know Invicta’s Big Right Hand is Bang for the Buck. When you neutralize that, the brand’s just another also-ran with grand pretensions: indifferent quality control, sloppy Customer Service footwork and an overblown ego.

Yeah, Invicta has flashy designs and some fancy moves. But in this match Eyal Lalo’s boys come off as the wanna-be in the red satin, gold-trimmed robe and fringed, sequined trunks. Lookin’ good – until the True Champ throws the first punch.

Here’s the slow-mo play by play.

Buying watches in this class really comes down to value. We’ve all said, at one time or another, purchasing a Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Patek, Tag – you name it – is hard to justify when there are good quality automatic watches available at a quarter of the price. We concede we sacrifice some fit and finish, exotic movements, bragging rights – and maybe a bit of quality – buying midrange. But the difference in midrange quality doesn’t equate to gigantic difference in luxo-brand price. Luxury watches are a rip off – at least brand new. Even if you can afford them. (This is my opinion. Not fact, of course. So don’t take it personally.)

So how do we define value? Exceptional quality at a modest price. Seiko delivers this in spades.

Frankly, I’m stunned by the fit and finish on this $400 timepiece. It rivals many of the luxury watches I own. And this isn’t Eyal Lalo spewing to make a sale. I mean it. The tolerances, case work and machining on the Seiko are world class. Seriously.

Look for yourself.

Invicta 2014 Top, Seiko bottom


Invicta Diamond Diver Top, Seiko Bottom

The Seiko’s case has no sharp edges. Even the angles, cut for style, are carefully polished and flow smoothly. It reminds me of an Omega Seamaster Professional. Both Invictas, by contrast, are very angular and the casework exhibits a relative inattention to detail.


Invicta 2014


Invicta Diamond Diver


Seiko

They are just not as finely worked. Truly crude by comparison.


Invicta 2014


Invicta Diamond Diver


Seiko

Now examine the tolerance between the bezel and case. Seiko again dusts both Invictas, though the difference may not be easily apparent in my photos. Seiko’s bezel turns with ease – and hits every mark spot-on. It’s better than my Omega SMP, my Tudor subs and far superior to the Invictas, which are balky by comparison. No bezel wiggle, either. This plagues many dive watches – and Invicta in particular. However, both these Invictas have rock-solid bezels. On the down side, the Seiko doesn’t have a crown guard like the Invictas. But the bezel is well protected on the side.
I actually find the Seiko’s oddly placed crown very user friendly – and it doesn’t dig into your wrist.


Invicta 2014


Invicta Diamond Diver


Seiko

Check out the claps. Invicta’s offerings are durable and workable. They’re very good. The Seiko is simply better. The locking system is much more secure – and I love the push-button. I give Invicta points for the scissors. I’m not a huge fan of the clamshell on the Seiko. But that’s more about looks than comfort. All of these watches are very comfortable on the wrist.


Invicta Diamond Diver (left), Seiko (right)


Seiko


Invicta Diamond Diver



Invicta 2014 (left), Seiko right


The Seikos bracelet also beats the Invictas, which, in turn, trump Rolex. (Again this is my opinion). Looks good, feels good (no hair pull) and is good. Both Invictas come off cheap by comparison. Which is very surprising since bracelets have been Invicta’s strong point. And I ditched a Seiko because I hated the bracelet,


Diamond Diver vs. Seiko clasps and bracelet

The following pictures are worth a thousand words. Lume. Seiko has it. Invicta’s tritanite is awful.

Seiko


Not Seiko


Gotta match?

I’m out of steam. And finally out of words.
If there’s a conclusion, it’s this: if you’re in the market for a world-class dive watch, turn Japanese.
Well, turn to the Seiko 6R15. It’ll be the best four hundred bucks you ever spent on a timepiece.

 
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