Invicta pro diver watches are among the best selling affordable men’s dive watches now. You’ll rarely find a reliable dive watch in the price range of under $100, not to mention an automatic one. However, it is exactly what Invicta, a Swiss budget watchmaker, can offer you.Their 89xx models are solid dive watches with dressy look- which are dependable underwater and genteel in everyday-use. In this review, I’ll take the 8926OB as an example because it is the best-known among the Invicta pro diver series.
- Rolex Submariner look-alike
- Fit well with any kind of apparel
- Affordable price
- Reliable Seiko’s NH35A caliber
- Again, Rolex Submariner look-alike
- Weak lume
- Hit-or-miss after-sales service
- Difficult-to-rotate bezel frame
Here’s a short video review of this watch:
A quick look
Literally, you can spot an 8926OB on someone’s wrist from many feet away. It’s from Rolex that Invicta echoes such an eye-catching styling. You cannot distinguish a black dial Submariner and an Invicta 8926OB from one another at first glance.
A classy, elegant appearance gets along with solid finishing, these elements make 8926OB look much more expensive than what it actually costs.
The 8926OB is the most popular watch in Invicta pro diver series. It has a proportionate body and good-looking design which can satisfy different watch collectors with different tastes.
Solid case & Legible Dial
At the 8926OB’s price point, you’ll hardly find an automatic watch with such a stable finish like it. Weighing in at 1.1 pounds, it’s a little lighter than some other tank-like-build diver watches, the Orient Mako and Seiko SKX007 for examples, but it still gives you a solid feel when clinging on to your wrist.
The 13mm thickness allows the watch to suit well under your sleeve cuff, and appear to be sturdy at the same time. The case is brushed at top and is polished on both sides.
Occupying the 3 o’clock position is the only screw-down crown for date and time adjustment.
The “Invicta” signature is engraved on the opposite side of the crown.
Perfectly sized at 40mm, the watch is approriate for a wide range of wrists. Invicta didn’t make an oversized dial as the 8926OB is meant to be used as an everyday watch besides being a diving piece.
The black dial and bezel frame contrast very well with the trinite-coated luminous hands and hour marks, making for transparent legibility. As you can see, Invicta takes 90% of their dial details from Rolex, but the 8926OB is actually a respectful copy, not like a low-quality China’s repliwatch. However, 8926OB’s face looks a little more crowded than the Submariner.
Invicta adds their logo, which is quite large, to the sweep hand’s end, and the circle dot on the opposite also reaches to the applied hour marks’ position, a little different from the Submariner. I visually prefer Rolex’s texture because it looks more uncluttered.
The mineral glass is very clear when being exposed against the sunshine thanks to its anti-reflective coating underside, but the coating reduces the watch’s flashy look as well.
What’s not to love about the watch dial is the cyclops at the date aperture. This magnifier is meant to make the date easier to read, unfortunately, this is where the nuisance occurs. The cyclops is too easy to get scratched and accumulate stains, dirt overtime. Invicta had better get rid of this redudant component because the date window is certainly not a tough read without it.
As a dive watch, the 8926OB gets so many complaints about its stiff bezel. In my opinion, we should expect this shortcoming when choosing a dive watch at this price. Even products which costs you 2 times the 8926OB does, also get this kind of imperfection.Fortunately, it’s not a huge deal, you can loosen up the unidirectional bezel after about 10 times of rotating it.
It worth noting that in the 8926OB’s name, “OB” refers to “Original Bezel”. The 8926OB actually has a cousin called 8926A, which features a scalloped bezel (Omega’s style) instead of the original coin-edge bezel (Rolex’s style) like the 8926OB.Each styling has its own attraction, but the scalloped bezel is more difficult to turn because your fingertips cannot take a good grip, you have to press the bezel down a little bit when turning it.
When it comes to crafting materials, Invicta chooses to employ painted metal for their bezels instead of ceramic like Rolex does. While the metal bezel is not as brittle as the ceramic one, it accumulates minor scratches and makes your watch look worn-out overtime. The ceramic bezel, on the other hand, is scratches-resistant but easy to crack, it’s mostly employed on luxury watches due to high fabricating cost.
The metal bracelet is not as solid as the case
Although imperfections are expected from a budget timepiece like the 8926OB, I still feel a little dissatisfied with the bracelet’s quality. The watch shows its solidity from A to Z when it’s on your wrist, but when you take it off, you will hear the bracelet speaks and rattles quite often.
Contrary to the well-built case, the bracelet is the kind of thing you can find on 20-buck watches. The spring bars are too stiff to be thrust out, thus adjusting the links can be quite a chore, you had better bring your Invicta to some nearby jeweler for help in avoidance of hurting your fingers or scratching your beloved timepiece.
Besides some shortcomings above, I have no other complaint about the bracelet. It has a standard palatable size of 20mm, and tapers down from lugs to clasp (20mm to 17.5mm) so as to blend in well with the case, making the overall watch looks elegant rather than chunky. Since the outer links are just slightly brushed, the polished inner links alone add little contrast to the bracelet.
Reliable NH35A caliber
Beating inside the 8926OB is the Seiko NH35A caliber. It’s a serviceable automatic movement, a real workhorse. This caliber is broadly deployed by the 8926OB’s cousins (8926A, 8928OB, 8927OB, 8930OB…) as well as budget auto watches of other brands.
Needless to say, this Seiko’s movement lends superior reliability to the Invicta’s 89xx models and makes them the best sellers in the low-price market. The Seiko’s brand name undeniably attests the functional quality of the Invicta auto watches.
Operating at the frequency of 21.600 bph, the 24-jewel NH35A caliber is highly accurate in its restraint. Of course, don’t compare a low-cost movement to those of ETA which will cost you thousands. The NH35A runs between -10,15/+10,15 secs per day, a tad less correct than the 21-jewel 46943 caliber of Orient, but it’s still absolutely acceptable for an affordable automatic movement.
Invicta suggests using an auto-winder as the watch will stop working after 40 hours of non-use, but I think this kind of equipment is too expensive. Unless you have more than 2 auto wristwatches, don’t purchase it.
High water resistance rating but weak lume
The 8926OB is an Invicta “pro diver”, thus its waterproof capacity is absolutely higher than ordinary dress watches. According to Invicta, all the pro diver watches can resist water up to 660 feet. In fact, you can rest assured that these watches perform well underwater, as long as you don’t go scuba diving to exactly 660 feet, or else you will put your beloved watch at risk.
Some people have reported that their Invicta watches got water inside after diving too deeply. I tested the 8926OB myself: taking shower, go swimming, go diving (to about 100 feet or more)…the watch was still in fully functional state, but I’ve never gone scuba diving up to 660 feet.
On the contrary to its high water-resistance rating, the 8926OB only has a pathetic lume. I exposed the watch to a strong direct light source before putting it into the test. In the dark, the dial and the pip just glowed brightly for a few minutes, after that, they all faded away.
The hands are notably brighter than the rest of the watch, but it’s just reluctantly acceptable. Again, imperfections should be expected from a less-than-$100 dive watch.
For just a few bucks, it’s hard for you to go wrong with the 8926OB. Because you’ll hardly find another dive watch that is high-quality at the price range of less than $100.
Despite some shortcomings, the 8926OB still remains a great deal with: a reliable Japanese auto movement, a solid case architecture, an elegant look & classy styling taken from Rolex. You don’t have to be a pro diver to wear a dive watch, so if you like this watch, just opt for it, as it’s designed for daily use as well as diving purpose.
- If you don’t like the bracelet, just go leather with a black strap.
- The Cyclops attracts stains and scratches, take good care of it or you can remove it with a knife and a gas welder.
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