Don't Feed The Watch Obsessed

december 2, 2005

If you look through the archives of blog entries, you'll find that I blog a lot when I am, for the lack of a better word, obsessed with a new toy. The latest new toys are my watches. Some old and some new. Anyways, I have been doing a lot of "watch surfing" lately and just wanted to share (and document) some of the stuff that is floating around in this brain of mine. So, first of all. I really, really (and I mean REALLY) would love to get an Omega 300M Seamaster Professional (model number 2531.80.00). But, somehow, spending enough money to buy a Powerbook on a watch just does not seem to make sense to me. Though, if you enjoy reading my blog and want to give me a gift for all this wittiness and good "reporting", then feel free to get me one -- I will not turn away a good gift! Why Omega and not Rolex? I don't know, Rolex just seems so "old" to me, it is a relic of the past. And really, the Omega Seamaster looks so much cooler. Functionality-wise though, neither of them can hold a candle to a $20 quartz watch from the local Target. People buy expensive automatic watches because they are, in all essense, a piece of art and engineering excellence. To see more than you need to know about the engineering behind an automatic (mechanical) watch, check out this page. It goes into minute detail about the inner-workings of an automatic watch. The obsession of watches has an official name: Horology. Yes, I'll say it again, the quartz watch that came free with your kids Happy Meal will keep much better time than an automatic watch from Rolex or Omega (or any other company that makes automatics). Yes, that freebie will kick the ass of an automatic watch costing more than $1500. Why? Because, quartz is better. It all comes down to the number of oscillations that the "heart" of a watch produces. A quartz watch will oscillate 32,768 times a second. A mechanical watch can oscillate between 21,000 to 28,800 times per HOUR. The difference is huge and that is why your kids will be on time and you maybe a minute or two late. There is a good series of articles here that explain what watches are made of. So how are the two new watches I just got? The Casio G-Shock is awesome. It keeps perfect time because it syncs with the atomic clock in Boulder, CO every night. It is solar so it will never ever need a battery changed, I love that idea the most. So, uh, isn't the idea of getting an automatic watch like the Invicta 2248 going against the idea of keeping good time? Yea, the Invicta 2248 is an automatic and it will lose or gain time and will not be anywhere close to being as accurate as the G-Shock. Nevertheless, it is really cool to have a watch where I can actually see the gears (literally) that make the watch tell time. Sure, the watch will be off, but I can always reset it -- the only thing that will bug me is having to set the date every other month (oh well). I am doing a non-scientific test of the Miyota 8215 movement in my Invicta 2248. You can follow the testing here (and also see details on what the crazy scheme is all about). About Invicta. I never heard of them until I started to look around. The watch that I got seems to be well made, but only time will tell since I have only had it for a few days. Invicta does seem to have a gazillion models, but from what I have seen, all of them are based on the same watch, their 8926 model. The inside of the watches are either the Japanese Miyota 8215 (on the low-end) or a Swiss ETA movement (for the high-end). From the looks of it, the different models vary only slightly -- and most of the variations are in the color of the bezel, color of dial, and dial design. There are high-end versions that have sapphire crystals instead of the mineral crystals of the low-end. What I really like is that most of their watches -- high- or low-end -- have display casebacks. This means that there is a crystal on the back of the watch so that you can see the swinging thing and all the gears moving around. It is very cool, I don't think I'll ever get tired of looking at the gears moving around (though my wife thinks so). From the forums that I visit, mostly the one at WatchUSeek (look in the Affordable watches section), there is a big mix of opinions about Invicta -- ranging from "stay away" to "great starter watch". On Amazon, the reviews seem to be positive for the 2248, 8926 and 9937. The 8926 is a Rolex look-alike with the Miyota 8215 movement and mineral crystal. The 9937 is exactly the same as the 8926 except that it has a sapphire crystal and a Swiss ETA movement. I will write more about my Invicta watch as I wear it more. The one thing that most people seem to agree on is that Invicta customer service is not the greatest in the world. Here is a good thread at WatchUSeek discussing Invicta. The one thing that drives me nuts about Invicta is their pricing. They have these sky high Manufacturer Suggest Retail Prices, but then they let everyone cut the price by so much. For instance, my 2248 has a MSRP of $225. I bought it for $109. The 8926 lists an MSRP at a whopping $375, but sells for $75 at Amazon. The 9937 lists an MSRP of $690, but at Amazon it sells for $299. The low pricing is the same all around the internet. I wish that Invicta would do two things to make their brand better. First, drop the one million and one models. Concentrate on just a few watches. And second, put out an MSRP that is better linked to what you actually want to sell watches for. Because when one sees watches that are priced more than 50% below MSRP, it does looking kind of stupid. No one would expect an Omega to have a MSRP of $3000 then have authorized resellers selling them for $1000. No, that would lessen the brand image. I think Invicta needs to choose: Either go for the low prices, or go for the high prices. Don't play the game at both ends. Ok, that's enough of my ranting. If you made it this far down, leave a comment to let me know :) Oh, my wife was going through one of the drawers and found a cool "Mild Seven" watch that Ota-san gave me a while back. The battery is dead and I am not sure I'll replace it, but the watch is very cool. I'll have to take a picture of it sooner or later.