Invicta 8926ob: Can it compare to the Rolex Submariner?
Simon Schneider3 January 2021 | 7 min read
The single most faked watch in the entire world is the legendary Rolex Submariner. This is understandable since it also is the most desirable watch in the entire world. With a retail price of €7,350 for the most basic model, it is far from attainable for the average person. Coupled with the limited supply, there is bound to be a discrepancy between those that want this watch and those that can have it.
Here’s the tl;dr:
Invicta’s 8926ob is good value for money, but the brand has a copycat reputation, uses cheap materials, and there are better Submariner alternatives at similar prices (such as the Seiko 5 range).
If you happen to find yourself in the position where you want a Submariner, but you can’t or don’t want to spend the money required to get one, you will have to get a little creative to satisfy that itch. Provided that your moral compass is strong enough to dissuade you from outright buying a fake, but not so strong that you don’t mind a copycat, then you will invariably land in front of the Invicta 8926ob Pro Diver and ask yourself whether you should buy it.
The Invicta 8926ob: A Submariner Homage Review
What is the Invicta 8926ob? The word that the watch community has designated for it, and other watches of its nature, is “Homage”. Homage is a fancy word to describe a watch that does everything that a fake would do without outright being a counterfeit product. The key distinguishing difference between them and your standard knock-off is the actual branding which will sound vaguely prestigious and, more importantly, allow them to be sold on the open market.
When comparing these two watches then you end up not actually comparing the individual features of the watch, but rather the execution of them. Beyond the objective elements of this watch we will also briefly dwell on the bigger picture that may influence your decision on whether you think an Invicta may be the right watch for you.
Style & Differences: 8926ob vs Submariner
The case of the Invicta comes quite close to that of the Submariner if it were not for one bizarre decision that makes my head hurt. The watch has the name Invicta engraved deeply on the non-crown side which is ironically one of the only creative inputs by Invicta into this design and simultaneously the worst looking part of the entire watch. Since a homage usually tries to remain true to the original this decision is strange in that regard already and even more so considering that of the many watches you may want to flex with Invicta is certainly not among them.
The dial is stylistically, unsurprisingly I may add, quite close to that of the Submariner. It quickly falls short upon closer inspection though. The cyclops only has a 1,5x magnification and makes you wonder why they didn’t just leave it or go for a no-date version. Additionally, the indices are too small and coupled with the fact that they are applied rather than printed means they lack in size, look cheap and sacrifice potential lume real estate.
A noticeable difference by the Invicta is the counterweight of the seconds hand that uses their logo and actually looks rather nice. All in all the dial is usually the most important element of any watch and in that regard I feel that the Invicta only looks good on the first glance. Lower quality execution is expected, but subtle decisions in the dimensions of different elements could have been made which make the watch look better without any additional costs.
Bracelet & clasp
The bracelet and the clasp is where things fall apart. The watch uses hollow links and the same holds true for the end-links. The clasp is thin and stamped and not in the charming way of a vintage Rolex. This is the part where I feel the gap between the Invicta and the Rolex is the largest. That is, however, not particularly surprising when comparing products that have such a large difference in price. That is why, in defence of the Invicta, I would like to point out that while the bracelet suffers in comparison with the Rolex it is very much in line with other watches of that price segment. Further, while the bracelet and clasp rattle and feel cheap that does not mean that at a functional level they don’t do their job. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend anyone considering the Invicta to invest in a quality aftermarket bracelet or strap which I feel could go a long way to make this watch feel more like the premium model it tries to imitate.
Ticking inside the Invicta is the Seiko NH35A movement. This is not surprising, since in-house movements are not a given even among luxury brands. Of course this movement can not live up to the quality, craftsmanship, and reliability of the Rolex 3135/3235. In terms of decoration decided to paint the rotor with a gaudy yellow and slap on a sapphire case-back that you really wish was not there. Since this will most likely be the first mechanical watch for somebody purchasing it I can understand them wanting to make it visible, but even a novice can tell that this movement is not pretty. Then again it is very much in line with Invicta as a company to use one of the most basic of movements, slap their name on it, and call it a day.
The NH35A is one of the cheapest movements that is easily available. It is so cheap, in fact, that if you ever run into problems with it would probably be cheaper to just replace it completely rather than try and service it. Whether that is a benefit or a downside is for you to decide. What is clear is that this is a true workhorse movement and can also be found in the Seiko 5. It is not pretty, but it is durable. While it has none of the new innovations of watchmaking, it doesn’t need them either and exposes how much of watchmaking technology ends up just being fluff. Although it has to be noted that the quality control for both the watch and the movement are all over the place so getting an accurate model requires a little bit of luck.
My problem with Invicta as a whole
Tacking a step back from the 8926ob specifically I want to talk about Invicta as a company. Before summing up my thoughts on the pro diver I feel like this is important to touch upon. Learning how the sausage gets made, while uncomfortable, may play a factor in whether you want to buy this watch. That is because Invicta is like the sweatshop of the watch industry. They specialize in making ridiculously cheap watches that offer decent value in their price category at the cost literally everything else.
My distaste for Invicta goes way beyond them deciding to engage in the least creative segment of the entire industry. Unlike a dedicated and focused homage brand like Steinhart, for example, Invicta has no shame in copying anything that is vaguely successful or currently in trend. This goes beyond the Submariner and ranges all the way from the Timex Weekender, which is ironically cheaper than the Invicta copy, to the Konstantin Chaykin.
The brand also, to no one’s surprise, conducts itself in just the way that you would expect from a company that tries to ride other people’s success in the hopes of a quick payout. The horror stories about interactions with Invicta could fill a book, but examples included mold inside of cases, false labeling and advertising, as well as horrible service experiences. Invicta seems to have no shame, regularly artificially increasing the retail price to make their “offer” more appealing.
But Invicta does not just copy watches, they also copy the boxes they are sent out in. To find more about this you can google their Plasticase lawsuit. Here Invicta was, allegedly, sent multiple possible case designs they had commissioned only to reject them and then use the designs to produce them cheaper elsewhere. Having seen the pictures of the original box and the copy of Invicta I have to say that I believe their talents in copying boxes way surpass those of copying watches.
Having said all that it really is a shame because the pro-diver happens to offer great value for the money. Sure, it isn’t even close to the Rolex and if that is what you want then the Invicta will never satisfy that urge. I would also not recommend this watch for those looking to flex or fool others with it thinking it is a Rolex. The quality simply is not there for it to have that effect and watch guys will be more likely to compliment your wrist-game if you only wore a bracelet.
If you find yourself to be one of the people not caring about all these elements and only looking for a cheap beater watch that mimics the style of the legendary Submariner I can recommend the Invicta 8926ob pro diver. If this blog, however, has given you second thoughts then I can recommend you alternatively check out any of the watches from the Seiko 5 range. These use the same movement and furthermore have their own designs.
Beyond the watch you receive your money works as a vote in what brands you want to support and Seiko just so happens to be the polar opposite of Invicta. They are one of the most well-established brands in the industry and have a loyal and helpful fanbase. If you still find yourself hunting the Submariner look and don’t find yourself satisfied with one of the many options available from Seiko you can also try modifying certain parts of the watch to your liking. This is a rabbit hole that allows you to express yourself, really get to know your watch, and is budget friendly.
Can the Invicta live up to the Rolex?
In conclusion then, can the Invicta live up to the Rolex? No, and to be frank it is not even close. Is it a good value watch for the money? Yes, and mind some quality control issues it is a great beginner watch on an objective level. Would I recommend it? No, as many alternatives can be had at that price point and the brand behind the watch is one of the shadiest in the entire industry.