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These Swiss-Made Vintage Invicta Watches Show the Brand’s Forgotten History


October 4, 2019 Watches By Photo by Ore & Oro
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Just the name Invicta can make some watch enthusiasts recoil, and for good reason. Today, Invicta is often emblematic of iterative, over-the-top watch designs, as unrestrained in their mishmashed styles as in their size. However, the brand, founded in the 19th century in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, didn’t always make watches that look this way.

Over the brand’s history, there have been everything from elegant grand complication pocket watches to cool mid-century chronographs, divers, and dress watches. Vintage Invicta watches are pretty hard to find now, but the interesting few specimens below show a different, largely forgotten side of a well-known brand. For many, it might be a challenge to see beyond the name on the dial and the strong associations it conjures, but they are definitely worth a look.

Invicta Two-Register Chronograph

What We Like: A straightforward, 36mm-wide chronograph in a familiar mid-century style like this example is far from what many people associate with the name Invicta. Alongside the hand-wound Landeron 48 movement found in many well-respected watches from the era, the syringe hands and two-subdial look give it a classic feel. It’s not a crazy price for a chronograph in decent condition, and it’ll make for a lively talking point, to say the least, at your next watch meetup.

From the Seller: In original collector’s condition, with brown leather strap.

Invicta Diver

What We Like: Here’s another example that shows the range of styles in the Invicta back catalog. This one might not have all the familiar traits of most modern divers, but it’s “super waterproof,” according to its caseback, and its inner rotating bezel can be operated via one of the two crowns. It appears the dial was originally black and has faded to brown — an effect collectors like to refer to as a “tropical dial.” At 41mm wide, this watch would have been large for its time period, the 1960s, but it fits right in with modern tastes.

From the Seller: Watch is in used condition; movement is automatic.

Invicta “Surfboard” Chronograph

What We Like: This one is actually pretty cool-looking (if you can see past the Invicta logo) with its funky “surfboard” dial — the oblong shape framing the subdials found on some sporty chronographs from this era. Combine that offbeat but simple dial with the tonneau case shape, a nice size at 40mm, and it all comes together for a really neat look. Inside is the common, manually wound Valjoux 7733 mechanical movement.

From the Seller: Our watchmakers have it winding, setting, and keeping time like the day it arrived on our shores in the 1970s.

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Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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