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.
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BACK in the 90’s a trend exploded where women started collecting miniature shoes. They were scaled quarter sized replicas of high heels and flats. Most that I saw appeared to be injection molded. They were sold along with tiered display shelves and seemed just the right thing for a stay-at-home wife to waste her husband’s money on.

At the time I remember thinking, “Why in the fuck do you want a replica shoe; why not just buy an actual pair of shoes and wear them?” It just made no goddamned sense to me.

Soon, they started appearing in dollar stores as grotesque and poorly executed caricatures of the original miniature shoes. Sound famiar?

As the Internet was in its AOL infancy, I don’t think there was a big collector market and so assume at some point these things got boxed up and put in the attic next to the glass blown French poodle vases and giant wooden forks and spoons.

Miniature furniture soon followed. And to be honest, this made a bit more sense to me as these were icons of mid-century modern designs; like the Eames lounge and Noguchi coffee table in 1/3 scale. At least these were specific, identifiable things. Are there really iconic shoes?

ENTER 2013 and the brilliant minds at Invicta Watch Company and their soon to launch line of miniature watches:

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Yep.

Miniature watches.

The model that they are based on is the “Venom” which has a bunch of snake cues. I’m sure these will look bitchin’ staged next to the “pure oriental” Ninja sword sets of a Katana, Wakizashi and Tanto that Watchgeeks long ago bought from the late night, infomercial-as-homeshopping channel Frost Cutlery dicks.

But these may be purely functional for some. Seeing that so many Invicta fans have such chunky wrists, they seem to weigh in well over 400 lbs. These would be perfect rings on such a ham hand. If they are going to have to cut the wall out of your bedroom to get you to the hospital, you should be swagged out.

These would also be a great first watch for an infant. One would look hard as hell on a chubby newborns wrist; complemented by an Italian horn charm necklace. And how goddamned cute would it be if daddy and baby had matching Venoms?

IN a marketing move that seems to have fallen flat, the Invicta Watch Company created a rig with cameras to be slung under a weather ballon and launched it. The result: they could have achieved the same result at the local, Hollywood Florida Olan Mills.

I’m not sure exactly what the expectation was other than attempting, all be it way too belatedly, to ride the coat tails of the Felix Baumgartner record breaking jump that occurred back in October.

Details are lacking on the Invicta news page which is interesting because one would think Invicta would be milking this for all that it’s worth, I mean as much as sending watches up on a weather ballon can be milked. Of the 36 timepieces sent up, only pictures of three have been released by Eyal Lalo. Might the others be suffering from failing movements? Might hands be falling off on the edge of space as they appear to do here on Earth? Surely if the images and the high speed video that is promised do not show up, the conspiracy theories will follow.

One suspects that these timepieces will probably be sold at a premium with an official certificate of authenticity that they have been on the edge of space, along with t-shirts and other products.

The public is speaking and not very favorably:

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WHILE attempting to figure out who will be producing Jim Skelton’s yet to be launched watch brand, I can across some brand new Invicta trademarks.

As if the Sea Hunter, Sea Spider, Sea Thunder, Sea Excursion and Sea Wizard wasn’t enough ocean inspired insipidness, welcome yet another dive inspired fashion watch family: the Sea Bird. As this is only a name in that same, tired serif font, there are no designs to yet share.

Might I suggest the Sea Men as the next in this fine lineage?

I wonder if Eyal actually pays for someone to come up with this shit or if it gives his wife something to do? I mean whose bright idea is “JT FOR INVICTA, TOWER OF STRENGTH” – what does that even represent? They apparently plan to make key chains, jewelry, watch boxes and cases with this branding.

WE also can see that Invicta appears to be diversifying with an interesting application for the trademark PowerPatch which covers a range of potential products that including battery packs for handheld electronics,I’d assume smart phones, stands and cases. This move sort of makes sense as they’ll now be able to sell all of their most rabid fans phone cases that match their favorite watches. Okay, that sounded a lot better when it was just a thought rolling around in my head. Reading it out loud and it sounds pretty goddamned dumb – but hey Invictard reality is not like mine so what do I know.

BUT what I find really intriguing is the trademarking of two different sets of map coordinates. So I pasted them into Google Maps.

The first, 47.1070N, 6.8246E, resolves to an apparent paper street and set of stairs near a Swiss address, Rue de Beauregard 7, 2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

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I have been unable to determine what is at the address in question but I wonder if this might be an office of the company.

THE second trademark is 26.0280N, 80.1698W. This resolves to Invicta World Headquarters in Hollywood Florida:

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Why in the world would Invicta trademark map locations?

MZ Berger Acquires Renato

February 14, 2012

BETTERSKILLS has learned that the Renato brand has been acquired by MZ Berger, better known as the design, marketing and manufacturer of watch brands that include Elgin, XOSkeleton and Sharp as well as the licensed manufacturer of several trademarks including Disney and Paul Frank. They also own the name Gruen.

Koi of watchlords.com was the first to announce that MZ Berger was the new owner on the watchlords website.

APPARENTLY the official announcement of the acquisition was supposed to take place yesterday but has, for some reason, been delayed. Here’s what we do know:

All but 65 people have received refunds for the long delayed Tourbillon and 61 are waiting for a new tourbillon due out later this year.

There actually was an issue with the Seagull made movements that delayed delivery an not meddling by Invicta Watch Company

Financial issues due to the week economy and the federal bankruptcy case involving Scott Rothstein who owned a portion of Renato tied up cash flow resulting in problems meeting financial obligations for a period of time.

Renato will return to ShopNBC some time around April 1st, 2012 as well as other venues due to the market share the new owners have.

After the announcement on WL, One of the first results for “renato and MZ Berger” is a long sold out Renato at ShopNBC. Interestingly enough, the warranty is provided by MZ Berger.

More information as this story develops.

INVICTA, I mean Imperious, is headed back to ShopNBC on February 14th with an “upgraded” version of the X-Wing and Man-O-War. The Gearhead and Jailbait Jailbreak are nowhere in sight. While there was much speculation that Ustream host Jim Skelton was the man behind Imperious, you have to wonder if those two ‘game changing’ and ‘class dominating’ designs that are not updated or appearing could be Skelton’s only contribution to the brand.

If you ask me that X-Wing looks a lot like the redesigned Bolt Zeus which, according to some sources, seems to have tanked.

The show on Valentine’s Day will also be the premier of a new face for Invicta Imperious, former Atlanta Falcon Jamal “Dirty Bird” Anderson. He’s been hired as the Brand Ambassador which is odd that he’s presenting. And I thought most BAs were still active in their respective specialties?

Anderson’s debut on ShopNBC marks the three year anniversary of his arrest for felony cocaine possession and a misdemeanor marijuana charge. It has also been revealed that the Georgia Department of Revenue is claiming he owes $102,797.06 for the 2007 tax year.

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One can only imagine the stories that Anderson and Davis can swap at the company pot luck. The Jailbird and the Dirty Bird… You just can’t make this stuff up.

EVEN though Jim Skelton has been reduced to “hosting” a Ustream show, he still feels the need to lash out at Tim Temple. Posted on Watchgeeks was a thread entitled Presentation Skills Advice for All TV Hosts wherein the poster questions the behavior of TV presenters that fawn all over the product as disingenuous.

Moby Dickweed surfaces to add his two cents to the discussion. And what he states is revealing on several levels:

You can ask Michael.. I kiss no one’s butt, and I’ll be brutally honest about the products that I am asked to sell. If I lose the inter-office battle to air an item (again.. I no longer have to battle about this these days), I have been known to even go as far as to mock the product on the show. Of course that is an EXTREME case (remember the faux chrono?? Remember when they tried to slip one single Stauer into my show???).

Skelton seems to be stating that he was trying to exercise more control over what product aired. This was reportedly the same mistake that Temple supposedly made which ultimately led to his dismissal. This would seemingly contradict Skelton’s initial statements that the breakup was mutual – something that anyone with a brain in their head knows was not true. But one has to wonder if his behavior on WG and taking of fights to the SNBC airwaves; his alleged misuse of personal information and his other on air antics and statements didn’t lea to his demise. Maybe it all came down to arguing over product.

His next statement of “have(ing) been known to even go as far as to mock the product on the show” probably didn’t put him in the good graces of management. It also seems to suggest that if he was bold enough to “mock the product” that when news of Temple’s return to SNBC became public that his erratic behavior that I detailed and was attacked for was surely his “mocking” of the network brass.

I am also surprised that Michael Davis would allow Skelton to dismiss Stauer considering Invicta shares airtime with the brand. It’s funny, I don’t disagree that Stauer is a real stretch, yet Skelton ignoring the fact that he was there to sell seem to be what got him tossed out. Temple gets it and that’s why he has his job back.

And it’s why Skelton is on Ustream.