From Jim Skelton’s Facebook page:

“Last week I posted that I would have an announcement coming soon. Well, today is part one of that announcement. I am retiring from TV! This is a decision long in the making, and was not made lightly. I begin a new chapter in my life, filled with opportunity and excitement. My family will be leaving Miami and relocating to Dallas Texas in April. I am currently on my way to the airport to meet my realtor in Dallas to begin the search for our new home.

I will not be on the air this weekend, but will be on the following weekend, and hope to enjoy my last few shows with all of you. To clarify, I am not leaving to go to another network, the next few shows will truly be my last ever on TV. I have enjoyed my 10+ years doing what I love, sharing my passion for watches with all of you. I’m fortunate to have made a connection with so many people, and gotten to know you and your families over the years. You’ve allowed me to do what I love, and invited me into your homes, and you’ll never know how truly grateful I am for that. It’s time now for me to share my other passions with the world, in a totally different venue, but one that everyone will have access to. In the coming weeks I will follow this up with the rest of the details, but I am still ironing everything out at this point. This time around I have the freedom to share everything about my upcoming adventures, without any silly contracts prohibiting me from disclosing details of where I’m going and what I’m doing. Thank You all so much for your support and I look forward to what lies ahead for myself and my family. Stick around, I hope to surprise you”
The much loved, and equally maligned, former host of the distant number three shopping network, ShopNBC, ShopHQ, Evine has called it quits and is leaving DirectTV channel 227 where he barks for SWI. Unlike ShopNBC, where he was fired, we’re not sure if he is the one calling the shots on this move or not. I’ve wondered what his baggage would mean to Clearlake Capital Group, the investment firm that bought SWI back in December of 2012. Without Lior to protect him and corporate wolves focused on profit and flying below the radar, what would happen with Jim? I’ll state that I have zero knowledge of his contract details, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Skelton was working for base, plus commission. With watchgeeks.net gone, how was Skelton marketing to anyone? His FB page revealed thousands of fans that always lamented their financial woes whenever he added product placements for his shows. He couldn’t have been selling much.  I’d hardly call his Strider watch collaboration with Android’s Wing Liang a success as the price was halved for a few months and he still hasn’t been able to move the total production of 500 units. My prediction: Jim Skelton makes a move into knives and tries to duplicate the success he had in TV horology with the apparent vacuum left by the exit of the Frost Cutlery guys.

ValueVision Media quietly reported their 2nd Quarter results a little over a week ago an it seems that the apparent firing of Jim Skelton did not impact watch sales as ShopNBC brass noted that they improved.

“The Watch category benefitted from a more diverse product mix and achieved improved productivity per minute with attractive margins, as part of a strategically planned reduction in air-time.”

FANS of Skelton may point out that since he left, a lot of watches have been offered on 6 Value Pays. I’d agree that this helps sales but do not think the move is to entice Skelton’s fan base or as a response to a purchasing drop off by those most ardent of fans, something he suggested on his Facebook page. Rather, it is a response to the continued malaise that is the Not So Great Depression.

Even if you’re not a fan of the mostly Chinese made watches featured on ShopNBC, the network have made a point of expanding their offerings and most of these are within the 38 mm to 47 mm size range as opposed to the caricatures that have marked Invicta designs over the past few years. These new brands are also selling out while Invicta doesn’t seem to anymore. So it’s possible that the core consumer has changed.

With the reported return of Daniel Mink and Renato, it will be interesting to count the sell outs and compare them to the same, tired Invicta rehashed designs. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Shop’s green room when he shares it with Invicta’s Technical Brand Manager and convicted felon, Michael “fuckin” Davis.

You’ll remember he used Watchgeeks.net to famously call into question the shady sales exercise of the Renato Tourbillon, suggesting that people cancel their orders, which conveniently coincided with Invicta Watch Company’s hinting around at their coming Chinese Tourby offering.

Maybe it’s just me, but Invicta’s continuing slide in quality of both workmanship and materials, coupled with tired and boring designs is reminiscent of Detroit in the late 70’s. Can the brand continue to be the Shop’s cash cow or will one of these new brands claim the crown?

WITH today’s announcement of Renato spinning off their own forum, renatogeeks; and internet TV show, can we expect the world of TV Horology to collapse under it’s diversified weight?

ShopNBC used to be the defacto place to buy brands whose retail presence was secondary to their late night cable appearances on ShopNBC. Fans regularly phish for new products, gaining bragging rights on the WG town square. Filling the huge, empty hole in their souls with easy Value Pays and products selling for a 10th of the retail value.

Watchgeeks.net was spun up by a green ShopNBC host who used it to aggregate all of those dispirit fans who routinely got into pissing contests on other forums defending the Invicta brand – this was a fruitopia for those collectors and addicts; both vain and broken.

This model worked well for awhile, like Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. But then Invicta, who appears to have financed the site for many years, was no longer the king. Invicta quality started to wain and they began replacing the stuff that made them a value and viable brand – using coated mineral crystals and replacing stainless with polymers. Lior of SWI got into the game around this time. Where once he pushed brands that he actually owned the licensing agreement for, like Triumph and Jacques Lemans, he wanted to compete head to head with Invicta and so introduced Swiss Legend. These were “Swiss Movement” watches and Laylo loved to point out that all of his “Swiss” watches were the best value – because they were made in Switzerland. This occurred as better quality Chinese made brands were introduced (Android) and Invicta was beset by one scandal after another; caught lying about materials and having to admit that “Swiss” was actual Chinese.

The one commonality with all the TV brands is that they own no factories. They are a brand with designers who outsource it’s manufacture to the lowest bidder. I’ve seen TV Watch brand fans laugh off Fossil. But brands like Invicta are not even in Fossils league. The company actually takes a lead in quality and works with the suppliers at the manufacturing level to ensure the highest possible quality standards. Go to your local TJ Maxx and compare the two sometime.

WHEN James “No Cut Contract” Skelton replaced Tim Temple, he brought an entirely new demographic to the world of Horology. The Coors Lite; riding motorcycles in shorts and flip flops crowd people who smoked cigars and left the rings on; that drank Chardonnay from a box while wearing shirts with the top 4 buttons undone. These were not watch idiot savants – they was plain fucking idiots.

I’VE suspected that WOW.TV was a reaction to the Invicta Swinese scandal. They had been at a competitive disadvantage with Invicta who was claiming to offer supposed Swiss made watches at the same or lower prices. Always subjected to the Invicta crew of Davis, Lalo, Jill and even Skelton implying that consumers were getting Swiss made. Having handled both Swiss Legend and Invicta, the quality is slightly higher in more of the SWI examples. Surely Lior had handled the competition and realized he was surpassing Invicta but always second fiddle.

By the looks of it, WOW is a success and they are pushing Invicta product as well; sometimes the same product as Shop but far cheaper. Their customer service is legendary and far surpasses the complaints with SNBC and invicta’s CS blackhole.

AFTER the Michael Davis sticky on watchgeeks throwing Daniel Mink under the bus followed a day later with a Mink email blast announcing the planned termination of the WG/Renato relationship and launch of Renatogeeks.com and RenatoTV, two of the five major TV brands are now representing themselves with a major web presence and streaming internet tv shows. Are the remaining few far behind? How will ShopNBC and Invicta fair? Where once it looked as if ShopNBC was becoming THE Invicta channel, they have started to introduce SkyMalls favorite brand, Stauer, as well as a higher profile for Android.

Another competitive factor is Jim Skelton and where he’ll end up in September. Could Android be the next to go solo with Jim at the sales helm pushing Wing’s dreams to the fiends? Or is he headed to JTV as some are claiming and what will that do for the trailer park network and how it competes with ShopNBC?

ON December 7, 2009, Android Watches got a shot in primetime with Tim Temple hosting. It has been awhile since I had caught a Temple show, but it’s obvious that the old Tim is back. He is clearly comfortable and assertive without the stumbling and jibber jabbering of past presentations.

Android has improved both their designs and quality over the last few years. Where some of the older designs bordered on tacky and were just too much and too small (most around 38mm), Wing Liang, the owner and designer of Android, has managed to strike a balance between being over the top and maintaining wearability. The quality of materials and finishing at these sub $100 priced pieces is pretty astounding. One can clearly see that Android is becoming a serious challenge to both Croton (who has also stepped up their game) and SWI. If these trends continue at Android, Invicta should also take notice.

As is typical of the host tit-for-tat, I detected a couple of veiled swipes at everyone’s favorite dead man walking, In Cognito, er, Jim Skelton, including Tim’s knock on the cliché host practice of telling the audience to “buy one in every dial” as well as a mention of the “largest watch show for the past 5 years” and no mention of Skelton.

Is it telling that Temple hosted Android’s first primetime appearance or just a coincidence?