While a bit different than most things I review on my blog, I think that the "usual" format can still be applied to this thing and therefore I shall continue as such. The Invicta 3449 was a Christmas present (that I myself selected) but had originally been apprehensive about due to the great lack of information on the wristwatch itself. I had stumbled across the timepiece while perusing Amazon.com's selection of watches, intending to apply a gift certificate I had received towards one. This one struck my fancy but I wasn't initially sure how to proceed given that I knew nothing of Invicta, which up until this point I had assumed to be a Chinese manufacturer impersonating a Swiss firm. I set my nose to the ground like Snoopy and decided to find out more.
A bit of research revealed Invicta to be an originally Swiss-founded company which immediately threw away any doubts I had about the brand, even if they appeared to be positioning themselves as a sort of gaudy Swatch focusing on "premium design" at the cost of using Japanese or Chinese movements. A lot of their designs appear designed to be used as dive watches, or at least feature high-depth resistance even if they never actually have to perform the feat. Screw-town crown covers and big machined cases are common in the Invicta lineup, as are some rather questionable design decisions, but the company appears to be doing well or at least showing no signs of stopping what it has been doing, so I can only assume that they have had no lack of customers.
Armed with this new information I returned to the Amazon listing for the wristwatch and was slightly shocked to notice that, officially, the watch retails for close to five-hundred dollars yet they, Amazon themselves, were asking a sub-$100 price. I checked out the reviews and was disheartened to see that the most recent reviews claimed to have been sent a knock-off or clone that was extremely well made but not an actual Invicta. I decided to pull the trigger regardless, since I knew Amazon.com is very good about honoring returns for all sorts of reasons.
When I received my watch in the mail, I was a bit disappointed. My watch featured a black Invicta logo and lacked the proud "JAPAN MOV'T" on the face, which I had read from prior reviews meant I had a clone. The locations for the second- and minute-timers had also been reversed, at which point I was ready to send the watch back. Instead I decided to ask Invicta directly to figure out what was at happening and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Invicta had simply made multiple versions of the 3449 model, likely due to a pricing change in their parts. My watch was deemed a full-blood Invicta and I was told I had nothing to worry about. Light-spirited, I repackaged the watch and reopened it with the Invicta representative's words at the back of my mind causing a grin to sneak across my face during the second unboxing versus the critical squint my eyes had assumed the first go around.
The watch comes nicely packaged in a yellow box. This is easily one of the nicer watch boxes I've ever owned. That is to say, this is one of the nicer watches I've ever owned, period. Pulling the watch out from the box by its metal casing immediately caused my fingers to move delicately, because although I had no worries of the build quality, I felt a strong desire to baby the thing from the first touch sensation.
Where I know without a doubt that I have no qualms with Invicta's aesthetic tweaks are the location of the chronograph timers. Since this watch is not equipped with a milliseconds timer, it really doesn't matter much where the dials themselves are as they're not going to report back to as great a detail as a watch which is capable of measuring smaller increments. It would have been nice to see a bit more marking for the second- and minute-intervals, but like I said, not really an actual issue.
An odd design tweak that I believe even the initial 3449 model has is in the way that the chronograph works. Most common chronographs employ the big seconds-hand to report how many seconds have transpired, but in the case of the 3449 only the small dedicated seconds-timer is activated by the chronograph while the big seconds-hand remains free to run with the displayed time.
Getting the 3449 onto one's wrist is a bit of an interesting exercise that I can only assume will become easier with time. While the thick calf-skin leather band is quite shockingly soft, it doesn't flex too easily and thus doesn't lend itself easily to being quickly put on and taken off. Once on, though, the band fits comfortably and the metal clasp proudly holds the leather band without any irritation to the bottom of one's wrist.
Unless one has the biggest wrists, this watch will definitely emphasize its size once it has been put on. Barely 24 hours have I had with the watch and already I have been asked by someone if I can "hold up the wrist-clock" so that they could read the time. Wearing the 3449 is definitely very cool, but there's no denying that the look will not be for everyone. I've seen clocks with smaller faces than this Invicta has.
In terms of weight I really cannot say that this watch is heavy. I have worn heavier watches in the past which gained much of their weight from their metal band and for this reason I am glad that Invicta decided to use the leather band on the 3449. Swing around one's arm doesn't feel strange and while the watch will gently slide out towards the hand it doesn't ever bite or pinch. Shaking my wrist I can faintly hear some jingling of the screw-down bezel-cap's retaining hinge, but it is no louder than might be heard from the rotor of an automatic wristwatch converting the same kinetic energy.
The buttons and crown have been lightly splashed with water and I am proud to report that no water has leaked into the casing, or at least nothing visibly occurred. Correct display of time will obviously be a thing that only time will tell (pun intended), but considering the accuracy of even the most cheap of quartz watches, I can confidently say that the 24 hours I've had with this wristwatch inspire confidence in how well it works.
You know, I really don't miss the "JAPAN MOV'T" emblazoned on the watch's face. I can only assume that Invicta jumped to a Chinese movement to minimize costs, or perhaps continues to use a Japanese one. Heck, they might've even sourced a Swiss quartz movement. The fact that the label has been removed means I feel confident claiming that last possibility until proven wrong, and given that I'll simply assume it is true, I consider this watch to have been one of the best bargains I've ever snagged.
I like the look of this watch a lot, and so if you are here looking for buying advice, I'll flat out tell you: If the style of this watch appeals to you and the concept of wearing a (very nice) clock on your wrist is appealing, don't hesitate if the price is deemed worthy. I love this watch.
Note: Invicta purchases through Amazon.com are eligible for a free upgrade to a 5-year warranty if registered within 30 days. This has no actual impact on the watch, but might be worth knowing for anyone interested in this wristwatch.