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 » August 24th 2017, 1:12am

A BRIEF NOTE to MY FELLOW LORDS: Some of you will recognize the majority of this writing from a while back, while others won't. This is sort of an edited 'reprint' from the time when this first saw the light of day, and will be generically introduced below, as it largely appears on BDWF and WF. I wanted this to reach as many of my fellow Lords as possible, I guess because I want to apologize to everyone here for recommending some of Invicta's newer models on this site. If you read on, I hope you'll see why I did this, and if you read further, you'll see why I stopped. This wasn't very easy to write, as it never is when you have to admit that you've been an asshole, yet, I hope as many Lords as possible will read it so that they'll understand where 'that fucking Mort' was coming from for the last couple of years. (Yep, years.)

Ready? Here goes... :arrow:


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, this was more 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 shit 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.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For Those WatchLords Who Made it Through: Thanks for reading the whole damned thing. I'm planning on posting something like this over on WIT, but it's going to have to be redacted in some places so that my extreme dislike of a certain slob of a member over there doesn't overpower the message that yet another WIT member is telling the bald truth about the brand, and will continue to do so right in their midst. I won't use four-letter words and personal attacks, because I want to be a continuous irritant to the Invictards there by not giving them anything they can use to get me banned. I suspect, though, that at some point I'll be removed without any real provocation, simply because I'll get to be even less popular than I am now...which ain't too much, truth to tell.

Any thoughts you may have will be greatly appreciated, Lords...



Mort P./RSF, CA/24 Aug 17
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by biglove » August 24th 2017, 1:22pm

I went back to Deep Blew, Mort. I think that, sometimes, in our little be of a deal or a design we overlook what should actually not be ignored.

Lesson learned, my friend. Kudos to you for having the balls to admit your error.

Mad respect.
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by 3Flushes » August 24th 2017, 4:59pm

The unexamined thing of ours, eh Mort? Good on you, man.

Even without the four-letter words, the big words and personal attacks, I look forward to the WITlesses' reaction to your revelation.
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by TemerityB » August 24th 2017, 6:37pm

The thing that I think most people who can't, well, read, believe is that WL is a site populated by watch snobs who lambaste anyone who wears inexpensive watches. Not true; in our history, we really only directed our ire at two types:

A: Shyster TV bastards, and
B: TV watch buyers who, when presented with stone cold facts about the terrible quality, lack of QC, and blatant lies told by their favorite inexpensive brands, have done everything from run away blowing snot bubbles while reporting back to "safe havens" such as WG and WIT, to putting up hate sites directed at the founder of this forum.

Personally, as I have noted a bunch in the past, I have little tolerance for the Fittys/Pacers/TT Holmacks/etc etc types, who throw stones but don't have the stones to take part in any sort of honest debate about facts.

But if you get past all the "cursing" and vitriol - and in some case, pretty hysterical satire we've come up with to comment on all the FUBARS and scams - I think that deep down, it all boils down to this:

We really don't like seeing people getting ripped off.

At least, that's how I feel about things. So, Mr. M, we all, en masse I'm sure, didn't wanna see you get bilked - and eventually, yeah, you got hosed, left with literally unwearable watches that weren't cheap to begin with.

Sometimes the best lessons are the ones hardest learned - but those who grasp them usually go on to pretty great things.
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by conjurer » August 24th 2017, 7:07pm

That was a goddamn fine statement, Mort, you damned old goat.

Invicta and the attending Laloism is something that needs to be avoided at all costs.
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by Tzimisces » August 24th 2017, 7:36pm

Like the old man said:
"Good judgement? That comes from experience. Experience? Well, that comes from bad judgement."

Why don't you take a visit to Mrs. F. A. Tasse's Capsulation Parlor and have a number one on me.

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

Post by Mark1 » August 24th 2017, 8:25pm

I guess the only part I take issue with is Invicta does make a decent product every now and then. Prior to their purchase of Glycine, I haven't seen any proof that Invicta makes anything. Picking nits but an important distinction I believe. I think they have other people make a decent watch for them occasionally, and the later the timeline the rarer the occasionally.
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by conjurer » August 24th 2017, 9:54pm

Mark1 wrote:I guess the only part I take issue with is Invicta does make a decent product every now and then. Prior to their purchase of Glycine, I haven't seen any proof that Invicta makes anything. Picking nits but an important distinction I believe. I think they have other people make a decent watch for them occasionally, and the later the timeline the rarer the occasionally.


Quite so. You can find fine watches made in China, and shit watches made in Switzerland. Back in the old days, Eyal managed to find makers for his products in both places, generally for a good price and decent QC. After the Crash in 2007-08, it seemed as if the door was slammed shut; fewer automatics, lower quality, more fuck-ups. This is what happens when you buy from the lowest bidder, and don't waste money on stuff like, well, quality control.

Factor in the fact that, generally, it's pretty hard to fuck up a quartz watch. You buy a case from Master Tan, a bracelet from Master Wo, and throw in a Miyota or Seiko SII movement, and you end up with a watch that, while certainly not high horology, is at least something that you can strap on your wrist and it'll tell time for a few years, maybe more. It was Eyal's Bridge Too Far that he decided to add crystals that were supposed to be diamonds, and dials that were supposed to be sandstone, and, surprisingly, contracted with guys who couldn't even fasten down the hands properly, so said hands fell off, etc.

Adding to this were Eyal's remarkably poor HR decisions. He needs a Technical Brand Manager? Hire a guy who's done five calendars in stir for robbing a bowling alley, and who looks only slightly better than a corpse that's been found in the Gulf of Mexico after two weeks (I still contend that Eyal knew all about Mongo's felonious curriculum vitae--as the most feared watch company in the world, he'd hire the most feared Technical Brand Manager) as well as Jawbone Skelton, who left behind more destroyed lives than Mongo, which is saying something. Up until now, in the world of watch sales, a Bad Boy was a Swiss who wore leather and didn't shave enough; Eyal parlayed this up to Bad Boys who actually committed felonies.

In the end, most of us have bought Invicters, and all of us have moved on. Kudos to Mort for stepping up and issuing--his, if I may be so bold--cri de coeur. He certainly didn't have to--all of us have pals who've made bad decisions, but we're still pals with them--that's what pals do--and he could have remained silent, shovelled his Invicters into the fucking garbage dumpster, and we wouldn't have thought the less of him. Mort made his bones long ago, and a few Invicters aren't going to take that away.
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by Hawk » August 26th 2017, 3:51pm

Well, it's very possible you saved me some money and I'm always appreciative of that. I had never gone through an Invicta phase and in fact the only two I bought was after I joined here. The first one had a strap that broke the first day and the second was to get my hands on some flame fusion to test. Thing is I decided it wasn't up to me to prove it was bullshit - it was up to IWG to prove it wasn't thus saving me money. It was subsequently gifted to somebody who seemed happy to get it.

But with all the digital ink spilled over the brand and the bandwidth consumed there was always some minor urge to buy a couple more. You sir have put the kibosh on that for sure and for certain and thus have saved me cash.

I have confessed such before but I washed ashore at WL with a long-standing, deeply held, prejudice - bordering on hatred - for anything sold on the TV. Hence I don't claim any special smarts in avoiding the brand. It was enough that SNBC peddled Sensa weight loss products which were worse than IWG - not only was it comprised of compressed lies they sold it until the FTC frog-marched the perps off the sound stage.

After you get through "hair in a rattle can", "pocket fishermen", "plastic choppers", magic chamois and, worst of all in my opinion, "TV cutlery" there is little left. Well, except for Ronco chicken rotisseries which seemed to please at least one discerning customer whose wallet we did not own. The fact that he employed it several hundred times in a single year suggests it may have been responsible for his girth and a potential culprit in a triple-bypass but I digress.

The lies told about TV jewelry are arguably even worse.

The IWG lies were, in some cases, more egregious than the typical TV product but IMHO nothing will beat putting seasoning on biscuits with sausage gravy and claiming it was a weight loss product. Having cutlery as a hobby resulted in blood pressure spikes anytime such things hit the small screen.

One of those "more egregious" IWG examples was the "Swiss" marked all-the-way Chinese product exposed at WG in 2010. This was followed by the tap-dance of "Swiss means Chinese" but "Swiss Made means Swiss Made, dammit" whereas it only meant "Swiss Movement". This lie went on for at least 7 years and probably much longer. Indeed one of the things that gives me hope that WIT isn't WG is that newcomers suggesting that IWG should go back to "Swiss Made" generally get answered by others - my throwing a spanner in the works is no longer needed. This suggests that what you have left are "informed IWG buyers". Considering such things makes my forehead bleed but who knows? Some folks simply don't mind getting lied to. In many cases lies could be considered protected as "puffery" but that Swiss thing was flat out fraud. Which they'll get away with.

At any rate whatever money you saved me will be spent purchasing adult beverages - hopefully with you at the same tavern.
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Re: Mort's Mea Culpa: Bye-Bye Invicta Watch Group

Post by TemerityB » February 24th 2019, 9:14am

Just one more lie by the mouse. Now he's hoarding the junk watches by the bushel basket full.
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