Switzerland’s watch exports increased in August from the previous year, a report by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH showed on Tuesday.

Export value of Swiss watches surged 24.1% in August from the previous year, to attain a level of CHF 1.07 billion. At the same time, wrist watches exports grew 25.9%, while other products exports climbed 4%.

In the January to August period, watch exports increased 20.1% compared to the same period of the previous year.

Developments among the Swiss watch industry’s main markets were varied. Hong Kong recorded another very strong performance with 18.7% annual growth and the U.S. showed an increase of 9.8%. The value of sales to Singapore showed one of the strongest upward variations of all and exports to China grew by 7%.

Source: http://www.rttnews.com/Content/AllEconomicNews.aspx?Node=B2&Id=1424015

THIS was a message sent to a member of the WatchGeek.net forum that Michael Davis co-owns with ShopNBC’s Jim Skelton. It gives you some insight into what that forum is really about and what matters.

And it’s worth noting that since Davis is supposedly an IWG employee, how might he be privy to the amount and number of Value Pays that the individual in question owes?

I’ve bolded some words for emphasis. I think it speaks volumes. Pay up or shut the fuck up.

WatchGeeks Owner
True WatchGeek

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 11,529
Real Name: Michael
Concerning Horsetrack
Look guys, I don’t know what your issue is with horsetrack, but it ends now. I don’t know if you have been hanging out on the hater sites or what, but you need to take your snide comments off of the site. Either shut up or send them directly to him OFF THE SITE. If either of you continues with your little war, then I will perma-ban you with no further communication and I will make it permanent. Hopefully you both understand me completely and do not think that I am bluffing here.

Now, allow me to tell you a little about Jeff. The man has more money than god. I know people who have personally seen his homes in NY and in FL. They have seen his watch collection. They have seen his cars. They have seen the jewelry his wife wears. He is in the dental business and does damn well at it. I have personally seen what his monthly payments are to SNBC just on his watches. It is more than either of you will probably make in two months. On top of that, he very generously donated thousands of dollars worth of dental service and work to two of our members here and has offered more to those that needed it.

I highly suggest that the both of you put him on your ignore list if you cannot keep your “mouths shut” because the next snide remark will be your last action here.

Argument is meant to reveal the truth, not to create it. ~ Edward de Bono

Invicta…in hoc nomen vinces!

UPDATE 09/14/2010: Invicta II Men’s Diver “Sandstone Material” dial as it is now being described, is going for $83.21 and three value pays of $27.74.

UPDATE 09/09/2010: After a week and half, Team Invicta responded to the origin of their “Natural Sandstone” dials confirming what we already know – that they’re about as natural as Pergo wood floors.

“After speaking extensively with numerous experts, there seems to be confusion between the term Sandstone as used in jewelry and sandstone the raw dessert like sand material found in nature. What we are using is absolutely sandstone as known in the jewelry world and is considered a gemstone. That is why when you search the term “sandstone Jewelry” or look at all other vendors you will find a broad selection of jewelry with the same material used as in our sandstone dials. Many stones are modified, bonded, compressed, heated, dyed, bombarded, etc., for use in jewelry. The main reason being one of hardness, since in order to cut semiprecious stones for jewelry or dials you need a minimum hardness of 5-6. Some stones are rare and turned to dust and then compressed with natural, others have a tradition of going by the wrong gemological name such as black onyx which is also dyed black Agatha. No one sells Ruby as a chemical compound (mineral) and tell you its pure aluminum oxide. No one sells Lapis as a Rock, or a diamond as carbon.
These stones have natural properties, not manmade, but have been processed to achieve the hardness required and/or change or enhance their look. We stand by our sandstone, a stone from natural elements, processed to achieve 5-6 hardness and it is not to be compared with raw sandstone which is too porous and soft for use in jewelry
A gemologist explained it as follow: Sandstone in the Jewelry industry is a sedimentary rock composed of tiny grains of quartz or feldspar. It can be any color, but is most commonly tan, brown, yellow, red, grey or white. The color is usually dependent on the region in which the stone was found. Sandstones are formed by cemented grains of small fragments of pre-existing rock or crystals and are usually bound together by calcite, clays or silica. The sedimentation process occurs when sand grains are bounced along the bottom of a body of water or ground surface, resulting in a pressure compacted mixture. Because sandstone widely varies in its creation, its hardness widely varies as well.
I think that no answer is ever going to satisfy everyone, I appreciate the passion. If anything this has been very educational – I am sure there is no other brand out there that gets so personal and detailed about a component of a watch… I’m happy to do it – if this is not commitment, I don’t know what is.”

Uncle Lalo still didn’t address the lack of discernible depth and that only three “crystal” images are arranged in a repeating pattern. But I suppose the ardent – at this point seemingly moronic – über fans will find this response enough.


UPDATE 09/05/2010: I was able to find out a few more details regarding specifics on the dial. First, the actual thickness of the dial confirms that it is not a slab of sandstone. It is 10 nanometers thick. The thinest that the professor has ever saw sandstone cut is 30 nanometers.

The dial may not even contain natural sand. Looking at it under a microscope reveals that the shiny bits have no dimensionality; not appearing as three dimensional pieces, instead lacking any discriminable depth. Like the difference between a hardwood floor and a laminate. One is the real, three dimensional object that includes the grains. The laminate is a pictorial representation of the same thing.

Also of note is that there are only three distinct shapes that all of the crystalline structures share. In natural sand, the variation approaches the infinite.

These two facts seem to even contradict Eyal Lalo’s statement that actual sand was used in the manufacture of these dials.

THERE is still no explanation from Invicta.

UPDATE 09/01/2010: Invicta CEO Eyal Lalo semingly confirmed that the dials marketed as “Natural Sandstone” are in fact anything but. He posted two statements this morning on watchgeeks.net:
“The ONLY thing that is man-made is the process of bonding the sandstone grain to a brick like raw bar, which then gets sent to our dial factory and gets cut to dials and polished.” He added “I wrote: “bonding the sandstone grain to a brick like raw bar”
The correct wording would be “bonding the sandstone grain INTO a brick like raw bar”. The sandstone garins do NOT get bonded to something else, it just gets bonded ALL TOGETHER.”

In his second statement, he’s admitting the sand is bonded onto a medium and a dial is cut from it. This is NOT natural sandstone! This is a composition mimicing sandstone and he is admiting as much.

The name of the geologist mentioned below has been passed to Jim Skelton for further discussion of his findings; his identity is not being made public at his request.

ON this last day of August, the Invicta Watch Group did not disappoint by offering up the trifecta scandal to end the summer of 2010 that has seen a major debacle every month. This time it is the apparent bogus claim of natural sandstone dials.

THIS investigation was initiated by a member of Watchlords, GEEKNOMO, a disillusioned former member of Watch Geeks who obtained a sample from his model 0050, Invicta II Blue Sandstone with Diamond accents. He believed all along, based on color and a close inspection, that it appeared to be a man-made material. After attempting to burn it he felt that it was actually a type of glass. Upon further research, he settled on the conclusion that it was aventurine glass. While I never doubted his belief that it wasn’t sandstone, I know how Eyal Lalo and Jim Skelton on behalf of ShopNBC, attempt to cause confusion when presented with fact. I personally felt it needed confirmed by an expert.

With help from a fellow member of Watchlords, that is exactly what happened.

The sample was shipped to, and examined by a prominent faculty member of the Colorado School of Mines. He believes that it is a glass matrix with manmade crystals floating in it. He rated the hardness on Mohs scale at about 5.5: consistent with glass. Unfortunately, the schools directors have a policy that prohibits any documentation to accompany this finding but they routinely examine samples of materials provided by the public, but the Doctor who examined the sample is an expert with nearly 30 years in the field of geology.

IT was just a few days ago that Eyal Lalo responded on a question and answer Watchgeek thread that the dials are “Natural“. One is reminded of Mr. Lalo’s supposed “loud talks” with Dubois Depraz, a company that did not have any business relationship with IWG and Swiss labeled watches as being entirely Swiss made, another untruth revealed as Watchgeeks popped the backs off of their “Swiss” made watches to reveal movements stamped “Far East Assembly” as well as the revelation of fake diamonds on the Classique womans watches marketed by both ShopNBC and Invicta.

WILL this revelation prompt someone to have a meteorite dial examined to determine if it is genuine? Are the diamonds on the bezel of the 0050 model real diamonds or crystals?

Check back for more updates as this story unfolds.

IT has been a summer of scandal for the Invicta Watch Group following a winter of troubles.

The latest IWG problem for July is with the Invicta II Women’s Classique Boutique Quartz Diamond watch. The ‘diamond’ bit is as flawed as Diamond Jim!

Let’s start with the ShopNBC description:

“The round 316L stainless steel case comes in your choice of gold-tone, silver-tone and even two-tone if you can’t make up your mind. The gold-tone and silver-tone options display coordinating bezels while the two-tone option displays a silver-tone case with a gold-tone bezel. Twenty four beautiful diamond accents are set around the bezel.

The 316L stainless steel bracelet displays in the case coordinating color and the gold-tone is plated in 18K gold. The two-tone option appears in both gold-tone and silver-tone. Notice two diamond accented bracelet links located near the dial totaling an additional 18 diamond accents.”

UNFORTUNATLY for one consumer, the sad truth was revealed by a local jeweler where he took his wife’s newly acquired timepiece to replace a diamond that had fallen out, only to find out that the ‘diamonds’ are actually crystals! This scandal surfaced like the others; on the Watchgeeks website. CZ Jim Skelton quickly stepped in and locked the thread down.

Like the Swinese revelation, ShopNBC quickly moved to pull down videos that featured Shop and Invicta employees promoting the value of the pieces because of the diamonds. The diamonds being a major point of the sales presentation.

One is reminded of the ShopNBC/Renato scandal a few years ago where Renato diamond timepieces where sold with claims that the diamond quality was much higher than they actually were. This resulted in a timeout for the brand which has recently resurfaced on the number three network. When is Invicta going to get a time out? When are watchgeek/Invicta consumers going to stop buying this junk?

Some are claiming that they attempted to alert both the network and fellow TV brand watch collectors that the watch did not have diamonds; only to be rebuffed as any truth apparently is in the world of TV watch collecting. If this is truly the case, one wonders why the self described horological genius, who just so happens to rep diamonds in his internet forum handle, Jim Skelton didn’t pick up on this or how Michael “Grape Ape” Davis, Invicta’s Technical Brand Manager missed it? I mean these folks will tell you they are experts but oddly enough are only hosts and salesman whenever scandals break. Really, what’s the difference between this watch and the Waltham Crystal Kitty watch that the network has sold? About plus $80 for the Infauxta.

INVICTA made a pretty decent $100 watch back in the day. Then they attempted to market high-end pieces and have not faired well in doing so with countless issues and questions. Now they’ve somehow managed to not even make a good cheap watch anymore.

LATE Friday afternoon, which allows for two days of no communication with Invicta headquarters, the much anticipated, eagerly awaited, joint Invicta Dubois-Dupraz statement was released after days of delay. In it we learn… uh, nothing.

THE first thing you notice is that there is no official letter head – not from either company or attorney.

NOW, on to the er, “substance” of the document. The first bullet states what is already know because it was verified by Mr. Chris Becker last week, that the movements are in fact legit. This blogger never called the authenticity of the movements into question because I know in the recent past, as ETA began to wind down it’s sales to non-Swatch Group brands, that it was a routine practice to procure movements from other watch companies. This speculation by some, I believe, was driven by Invicta CIO Eyal Lalo’s recent admission that watches being sold by Invicta and marked SWISS were actually Chinese. It didn’t help that he had been caught in his on air selling schpeal of the doomed Speedway Elite in complete lies; that Invicta had worked hand in hand with D-D on the watch. Once people began to receive their wrist size Titanics , he went on to issue statements through Igor – er, I mean Jim Skelton, that the issues were owned by D-D and that he was having “loud discussions” with them. All lies exposed by D-D Business Development Manager of the Americas, Chris Becker. Mr. Becker’s truthful statement that Invicta was not a D-D customer and the mention of the possibility that these movements could be knockoffs further stocked the fires of angry customers making Value Pays on a Thousand dollar doorstop. The joint statement confirms what the vast majority already knew; Invicta got them through a third party. While this is legal, I’m willing to bet whoever this third-party is won’t be sold D-D movements anytime in the near future as this practice is frowned upon by movement manufacturers and I’m willing to bet Laylo was real quick to name the source. There has been some speculation that SWI was the source but this is not confirmed.

Bullet two, that the issues are not related to the movement is also something that has been stated by Laylo, through his bitch, Jim Skelton as well as Chris Becker. This is old news – no new ground covered here.

The third point was also addressed previously, again by a Laylo statement through toad Skelton that a washer can correct the problem.

BUT what fans and haters were looking for was the cause. This is not addressed in the joint statement – it’s only purpose is to restate the facts that both Chris Becker pointed out and the confirmation that the movements are genuine. It absolves D-D of any guilt and lays the blame on a mysterious third-party. This final part of the final point reopens the can of worms regarding the supposed Swiss factories that Skelton has alluded to; that Laylo has mentioned and that Michael “Fuckin” Davis has ridiculed people over when they’ve questioned te existance of them on watchgeeks.

I’ll ask it again because the end all, be all statement failed to clear it up – where were these watches assembled and finished? Where were the faulty dials and hands made? I maintain that a Swiss manufacturing house would have never released pieces with these types of defects; but probably more realistically, they never would have had these problems, they would have known the nuances and tolerances. I think they tried to pull the assembly off in their Florida headquarters with components of Asian origin. I challenge(er) them to post the paperwork on watchgeeks and prove me wrong. If Invicta commissioned their manufacture in Geneva, Hong Kong – I’m still right because the dial says SWISS MADE! I really do not think Invicta cased these watches in Switzerland because all signs point to ineptness and a lack of technical knowledge,

There are several ‘Veteran’ and ‘Senior’ WG members piling on to threads over at watchgeeks with statements like “this puts it to bed” and “that clears things up” but it clearly doesn’t and if you think it does, you’re either too stupid to comprehend what you’re reading or you have a vested interest in sweeping this under the rug.

SO how will consumers react to this non-statement? Will they just pretend that this supposed ‘statement’ restating what is already widely known is sufficient and accept the ongoing lies, wasting their hard-earned cash on two or three Invicta’s of questionable origin and hit-or-miss functionality? Or will they buy one really nice Japanese, German or Swiss watch without issues and a solid pedigree?