- ASSHAT & Master of Time
- Posts: 32534
- Joined: July 13th 2010, 10:00pm
Imported from Detroit! It can't get worse than this. Can it?
Well, yes. Yes, it can--because today I'm posting impressions of the horological world's version of an elephantine Chrysler, the Invicta Ocean Ghost:
Now, before the Invicta fans start screaming "hater!", let me say right off the bat that I've owned a few Invictas in the past, particularly the classic 40mm Pro Divers, which I once called a superior watch to the vaunted Orient Mako. I owned two of these, both with the workhorse Miyota 8215 automatic movement, and they were probably the best made, around $100 Rolex Sub homages out there. I gifted both away, one to a friend who still wears it every day, and another to my brother-in-law, who killed it inside of six months.
Unfortunately, while Invicta still makes the Pro Diver, they've vanguarded the craze towards manhole-cover-sized timepieces, and the Ocean Ghost, which goes back a few years, was one of those early hockey-pucks for the wrist. I compare Invicta to the outsized Chrysler 300 because both huge products seem to appeal to the same demographics. My brother, a successful businessman in Chicago, bought a 300 because he wanted a big damn car that would be comfortable, project success, and really, really help destroy the planet. Since the 300 came out, it seemed to attact two types of people, either young gangstas who couldn't afford a Cadillac CTS or really old guys who wear Members Only jackets and always bought Chryslers in the past, and even though they hated the look of the 300, they're not about to buy anything else than a Chrysler, goddamn it.
In its way, the Ocean Ghost is the same--I see a lot of customers at my place of business sporting Invictas, and again, they seem to be young guys who wear a lot of sports jerseys and bandanas or really old guys in Members Only jackets.
I got this sample OG (Ocean Ghost, or Original Gangsta, get it??) from a good fellow on another forum for free; I'm not sure what these sell for, but I'd presume for around $100-125 US, which makes the OG fine fodder--err, a fine specimen for a review in this series, in which I look for an automatic watch for around a hundred bucks.
On to the OG (model #2299 according to the caseback). It's a big watch, no error--not as big as Invictas get, up to 65mm, which is of course insanity, but nobody's going to confuse this watch for a Rolex Air King:
Ten-to-four the OGs case is 47mm, 51.5mm with the crown, and 15.75mm tall on the wrist. The lugs are 22mm. OK, so it's big; it's a little outside my comfort zone, but not too much. Here it is next to the pretty large OS300:
So it's not so big that you'll be mistaken for a rap star or a mental patient by wearing it.
My first impressions on the look of it were good; it's an attractive watch, with a somewhat cool and original design--a couple of things that Invicta's not necessarily known for. The crystal (I'm assuming mineral, as the patented Invicta Flame-Fusion, whatever that is, is not stamped on the caseback) is slightly domed and clear, making the time easy to read. People seeing this on your wrist won't mistake it for a high-end knock-off, because it looks exactly what it is, an Invicta. In case you forget what brand you're wearing, this is taken care of, too:
The dial is OK, too, with decent applied indices and nameplate:
Under the hood is the Seiko 21 jewel NH25, which is the secondary market version of the 7S26, the same movement used in the superb Seiko Monster and in their less expensive Seiko 5 series. The old movement used to be the Miyota 8215, also 21 jewels. I really don't know if the NH25 is a step up or if Invicta is having issues sourcing the Miyota, but the Seiko is a decent, if low-end, automatic. Like the Miyota, it neither hacks nor handwinds, so you have to shake it to get it running, and then over the course of a few hours wearing it, you build it up to its full 40 hour or so power reserve. The movement, visible through the mineral exhibition back, it pretty spartan, although there is some geneva stripping on the rotor:
Timekeeping seemed acceptable, running fast around 20 seconds a day, which is better than my Monster, which is closer to 30-40 seconds fast.
On to the bracelet, which is OK as well, although there's a lot of rattle. The endlinks are stamped and folded, which isn't unusual for this price point. The clasp, however, totally blows, and is the standard cheap Invicta foldover with safety. There's so much play in the clasp:
That it's difficult to seat and close, and the safety is so loose that I actually had both accidently break open while wearing it, not once, but twice. This might have been because I had to wear the watch a bit tighter than I would have liked, so it didn't flop around on my wrist. The design of the case helps a bit, but here it is on my 6.75 inch wrist:
Wearing the watch was, honestly, an ordeal. It is very uncomfortable on the wrist, with the untapered bracelet biting into my skin like a handcuff. Compared to the OS300 (which costs about 12 times the price of the OG) the Invicta was poorly balanced and fatiguing, even though the OS300 weighs slightly more. After my initial impressions of the attractiveness of the watch started wearing off, it looked blingy and more than slightly stupid on my wrist. I wore it for an eight hour shift to work and a couple of coworkers who are not WISs but know of my love of watches actually commented that the OG looked cheap and gangsterish, which isn't the sort of feedback you really want.
Another issue with the watch is the very cheap divers bezel, which sounds like a worn-out coffee grinder when rotated, and with the very low relief on the stamping, is difficult to read, even in bright light:
Indeed, Invicta trumpets this watch as "Professional," on the dial and the caseback, with 200m WR. I'm not sure if they mean "Professional Diver," but if an original gangsta is going to take the Ocean Ghost diving with no backup timekeeping, he'd better make out his will and change his stage name to The Notorious DOA, because he's not going to survive to get gunned down later in a Las Vegas nightclub. The OG doesn't come within shouting distance of the ISO certs of a divewatch, particularly lume-wise, which is not notable:
OS300 on the left, OG on the right.
In fact, the OG is the only "dive" watch I've worn that failed the Conjurer-quick-glance-inside-a-dark-car test so completely. It apparently uses the proprietary Invicta Tritnite lume, which in the best of circumstances really sucks.
So, what do we have here, then? The Ocean Ghost is really nothing more than bling jewelry. Like so many other watches I've reviewed in this series, it fails because Invicta tried to get too clever and cram too much into the dang thing. The watches I've written about in this series that were worth the money were simple, with decent fit and comfort (the Tiger Concept and the Orient) while others that failed (Stuhrling, Stauer and now Invicta) were cheap--in the bad sense--and uncomfortable.
After wearing the OG for a few days, I had to get the stupid thing off my wrist. It is really an appallingly bad watch, and one to avoid. Don't--I repeat, don't buy one of these.