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?

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.

AFTER much talk of “changing the game” and a big countdown on his Public Figure Facebook page, Jim Skelton made the announcement that Betterskills had speculated on months ago; that he would join Lior’s fledgling World of Watches TV that is streamed live on Ustream and on the satillite infomercial channel. Jim will be sharing Ustream bandwidth with such esteemed internet shows as Two Bored Guys, Chanchaka Charmy and Alison Rosen is Your Best Friend.

This move isn’t much different than the Stickam Couch Tour that I suggested he take.

WoW – how far the “mighty” have fallen. It will be interesting to see if Skelton continues his behavior that seemed to put him into a bad light with ShopNBC brass and ultimately lead to his dismissal at the number three net. Will he take on forum owners and this blog as he has done in the past? Will he troll forums?

Or has he learned his lesson?

SOME people have turned over stones regarding Invicta Watch Company claims; Koi of watchlords has rolled over a boulder.

It turns out Invicta’s Technical Brand Manager, one of three faces of the brand on ShopNBC, is also a graduate of con college! Mr. Davis was convicted of aggravated robbery in Montgomery County, Ohio in June of 1984.

Aggravated robbery is defined as “the taking of anything of value belonging to another from the person of another or that is in the immediate control of another when the offender intentionally inflicts serious bodily injury.”

I know what you’re thinking; “What’s serious bodily injury?”

It is defined as “bodily injury which involves unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.”

He was sentenced from 5 to 25 years. Who knew Davis was living a thug life( like Tupac thug life?! While he may have been a badd ass on the streets, Mr. Davis appears to have been a model prisoner as he served only 53 months and change, completing parole in 1990.

I’M of the opinion that the man served his time and this was nearly a quarter century ago, and in recent years is only guilty of being a jagoff; Michael “fuckin” Davis deserves a second chance.

But its still funny to find stuff like this in light of Mr. Davis preaching about “hater” sites and people making things up – especially from a convicted felon.

MIGHT the exit of Jim Skelton from ShopNBC be due to eroding watch sales?

Just days after ShopNBC released Q4 results for 2010, Mr. Skelton disappeared from the airwaves and neither side is saying anything of substance. You’ll remember that I speculated he would be gone a year ago following a series of bizarre, on-air actions and statements in October of 2009 after the announcement that Tim Temple was being brought back to the network who had fired him six years prior. What followed were twelve months that saw one Invicta flop and scandal after another. But dead watches and hands that fell off were not limited to Invicta as other brands sold by the network arrived in non-working order to customers. Mr. Skelton continued his hostile behavior, famously throwing a ruler on the set and teasing Larry Magen about his dye job to the point that Mr. Magen snapped on the air. Mr. Skelton was also absent for long stretches of time, leading many to believe that the end of the Skelton era had arrived. Upon his return he began calling out this blog as well as individual members of the Watchlords forum as well as adopting a very snide tone with his forum membership.

As people complained on watchgeeks about inferior products and misleading statements used to sell the watches they were systematically banned or bullied by the Yellow shirt enforcers into silence on the Watchgeek forum. But these heavy handed actions didn’t stop the descent; seemingly generating more. As the one year anniversary of my original blog approached, Mr. Skelton started bragging about signing a long term, no cut contract.

EVEN I was surprised when I saw the news. I assumed I had seemingly made the correct case but was off by a year. I did forget about the earnings call and so I took a look at the earnings information released by VVTV. At first I was equally shocked about the 6% decline in watch sales against the same time period last year at the psychological height of the depression. But is it really that shocking? The former individual owners of Watchgeeks, as well as others who I’d consider friends of this blog, usually downplay my suggestion that Shop watch sales were driven primarily by Watchgeek membership and it has always been thought, albeit anecdotally, that all of the testimonial calls into Mr. Skelton’s shows were plants. But in a thread on WG concerning Mr. Skelton’s split with Shop, we seem to have proof:

A friendship developed on email, and we would exchange idea’s and questions on the timepiece’s. One day Jim emailed me and asked to call into the show, as a customer, who, wanted to express feelings about timepiece’s and invicta models and my experience’s with them.

I called in several times, regarding many timepiece’s and vendor models as well.

I don’t think it is a stretch to believe that Mr. Skelton had bonuses tied to sales and he was not your ordinary shopping channel host. He was a cheerleader and apologist for Invicta long before he ever came to TV, possibly with a retail background. By some accounts a hand picked successor to Tim Temple by Eyal Cool J. Temple who, supposedly wanted more control over product and to push the higher-end. But realistically the margins are much smaller with those classes of timepieces. It makes a lot more sense to sell a Chinese assembled watch marked “Swiss” at several times it’s actual unit cost. Reaching out to just a few dozen individuals like the person quoted above would not only generate sales because of an implied “friendship” but would push other members into making multiple purchases as well; specifically shut ins and individuals with little or no self esteem and a need to belong.

BUT the decline in sales doesn’t fall completely on Mr. Skelton. ShopNBC advertised diamonds on watches that were actually crystal; they marketed Chinese made watches as having a Swiss pedigree; they used a man-made composite of sandstone and marketed it as natural; they sold turquoise dial watches that were a cheap mineral alternative and they sold watches that featured hands that fell of. People started criticizing the fact that every hyped model was just a different color dial or rubber instead of a steel bracelet like the previous version. Again, the complaints grew louder and those voices disappeared. Michael Davis, at the time a Watchgeek owner and still the Technical Brand Manager for Invicta, issued the now famous edict – there is no free speech at Watchgeeks.

There isn’t a doubt in my mind that people tired of getting products that were advertised as something they were not and that they tired of the heavy handedness of the forum. I’d expect a decline in sales to follow. Need more proof? Just take a look at how outrageous his sales presentations became.

IT was my belief in the fall of 2009 that Mr. Skelton would soon be benched. It didn’t come to pass on the original timeline. But now it has, and if we work backwards with a little math based on Mr. Skelton’s own comment on that original blog, he signed in late September or early October of 2009. I’d expect that to run one year, which would have placed his resigning again in that same September / October timeframe. It is now the end of March which would make a late September signing the 6 month mark. I do believe he is going to end up on WoW.tv or an Invicta launched channel. And I think a lot of people will follow him there and he’ll be just fine. Free of the employer oversight that seemingly burned him so many times over the past few years.

Will it be 6 months from now? Is that the real Watch Commander on Twitter claiming to be in Minnesota or an impostor?

Will ShopNBC even be around 6 months from now?