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:

20130308-063434.jpg

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?

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AFTER months of hype and titillation by everyones favorite urbane fashionlessnista, Jim Skelton, the public finally got a glimpse of the much anticipated Invicta
Imperious Jail Bait Jail Break. After the abject failure of the initial InvictaImperious offer, the Gearhead, many wondered if the other proposed models would see the light of day. They have, and boy, are my eyes sore. It’s been speculated
that Mayor McCheesy is the designer behind this line and I have to say – a case could be made. They are obtuse and gaudy and lack any real balance or cohesion as a collection. The fuck is Eyal Laylo thinking to bankroll watches designed by a retail store manager?
Look at his image – I don’t think he could properly design a pile of dirt. Of the four models, the absolute worst of the bad bunch is the Jail Bait Jail Break. From the unaesthetic sideways dial layout that includes a labeled Date arrow
pointing to a nearly impenetrably opaque acrylic dial that obscures
the date wheel to the ridiculous, dare I say, laughable ‘prison’ bars, this thing is the most uninspired, cliche piece that the Invicta Watch Company has churned out yet. I thought Invicta
clearly crossed the taste line with the ARSEnal and the plate sized Sea Hunter, but at least those things still resemble legible timepieces. This thing is the horological equivalent to the Pontiac Aztek. It’s going to be real fun to see who gloats on the various
websites about buying one; more fun still to see actual wrist shots and imagine the chode walking around and flosing the wristshit at their local Walmart trying to impress chicks who are hanging around and waiting for their Valtrex prescriptions to be filed. I cannot wait to see the inital price and watching the trajectory as it bottoms out. That’s going to be some Must See TV. MY nine year old son likes mechanical and automatic watches, and I’ve assembled a nice little collection for him that includes a rose gold Sandoz and a Mil issue Hamilton from 1973. He likes to help me decide what watch I’m going to wear on the days I switch up, and you know –
he’s usually right on. So I asked for his impression. “What do you think of this watch?” “It’s hideous and disgusting – no real man should ever be caught wearing that thing! It’s
G-A-Y…” I gave him that disapproving look as I have a lot of lesbian friends and he acknowledged my grievance. So I offer a qualification and direction “Listen buddy, it’s so gay that gay
people are like – Jesus Christ, that thing is way too gay!”

For a network that touts itself as the “Premium lifestyle channel” they sure have gone out of their way to bring the most generic Millionsmart Chinese brands with fake provenance into America’s living rooms. TV horology fans,welcome Stauer!

I first noticed the brand several years ago when thumbing through the magazine that airlines stuff in the back of the seats that is essentially a collection of ads. The model then was also aired tonight, the Graves 33 automatic. The story was as follows

n 1933, one of the most innovative watches ever built was engineered for a millionaire collector named Henry Graves. It took more than three years and the most advanced chronological technique possible to create the multi-function masterpiece. Recently, this rare innovation was auctioned off for the record price of £5,628,000 by Sotheby’s.

Even as a young kid, I had an aversion to multi-functions faking a chronograph’s funk.  Years later, I would find the Chinese manufacturer Millionsmart and could clearly see that this was nothing more than a $10.00 Canal Street special. Interesting that the other Cherman brand also bears a striking resemblance.

Watching the presentation revealed a few unique and interesting pieces. But the fact remains – with one exception, the Swiss Banker – these are just more of the Chinese automatics and Chinese cased Japanese chronos that seem to dominate the networks selections anymore.

Nearly every model is an ‘homage’ to classic pieces from the likes of Heuer, Breitling and Alpha?! Yes, Alpha.

Nearly all of the models aired sold out. To bad I didn’t write this blog sooner to protect the customers.

FROM the October 1 edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

Kobold Watch Co. is turning out high-end watches at its headquarters in Robinson at roughly half capacity these days — which is perfectly fine with its owner and founder.

Michael Kobold deliberately limits his handmade watch production to less than 2,500 a year. Partly because of the recession, the company produced only 1,200 watches last year, about the same as in 2008.

“It’s important for quality control,” said Kobold. “And it’s a matter of exclusivity. With a lot of our competitors, they’ve gotten to be commodities.”

The company he founded in 1998 is one of the few remaining watchmakers in America. Kobold produces 30 models, with most of them priced between $2,500 and $5,000; others reach as high as $42,000.

Each watch is built to function in extreme conditions, such as frigid temperatures during mountain climbing, water pressures of deep-sea diving and breakage from combat fighting.

Kobold’s cachet appeals to the well-heeled and well-known. Wearers include actors Kiefer Sutherland of the TV series “24,” Pittsburgh native Jeff Goldblum and James Gandolfini, star of “The Sopranos.” When the mob series ended in 2007, Gandolfini presented his fellow actors and entire crew with Kobold watches, including gold ones — at a cost of about $3 million, Kobold said.

The watches rest on the wrists of British race car star Sir Stirling Moss and numerous Navy SEALs. The company’s “brand ambassador” is explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a polar explorer and mountain climber dubbed the “greatest living explorer” by the Guinness Book of World Records.

“In the expedition business, I need equipment that is happy in the cold and can keep out all the dust and moisture so it can work accurately,” said Sir “Ran,” 66, reached in Somerset, England.

Sir Ran receives no money for his endorsements, only his favorite watch: Kobold’s The Phantom model, which features a special lubricant inside to function in temperatures down to minus-45 degrees Fahrenheit. The former Rolex wearer/endorser switched allegiances several years ago after some convincing from Kobold’s owner.

“Michael is a very fine and trustworthy person with strong willpower who makes fantastic watches,” said Sir Ran, who climbed Mt. Everest with the watchmaker in May 2009.

Kobold’s production capacity is limited largely by its number of workers — just nine people, including Kobold. And only four of them assemble the timepieces.

“It’s a great watch. You don’t run into many of them out there because Kobold doesn’t produce many, and I like that,” said Kobold wearer Gary Girdvainis, who is editor-in-chief at International Watch magazine, Fairfield, Conn.

“There’s very few high-end watchmakers in this country. Most are Swiss-based, and a few are German,” said Girdvainis, who has followed the industry for about 20 years. “But Kobold’s watches are more robust and better built than the average Swiss watch.”

Credit the passion and magnetism of Michael Kobold, 31. Born to a German industrialist, Kobold became fascinated with watches as a teen in Frankfurt. At age 16, he sought out and interned with a famed German watchmaker for three years.

After he moved to Pittsburgh and enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University, Kobold founded the company as a class project at age 19 while working toward his bachelors of managerial economics degree, which he earned in 2001.

“He wrote a business plan on selling expensive watches. And I thought, ‘How many people are going to go on the Internet to buy expensive watches?'” said Jack Roseman, retired CMU professor of entrepreneurship.

“I did not appreciate his marketing skills at first. But I learned he wins people over,” said Roseman of McCandless. “Michael will go anywhere to anyone in society to try to sell them a watch.”

Kobold, who designs all his company’s watches in concert with its daredevil wearers, is an adventurer. He climbed Mt. Everest twice — in 2009 and in May — to raise money for the Navy SEALs Warrior Fund, a nonprofit group that offers support to wounded SEALs and their families.

It takes two to three years of training, usually at institutions in Switzerland and Germany, to became a proper watchmaker, he said.

Kobold watches are stamped with “Pittsburgh, PA,” but they do not carry a “Made in the U.S.A.” emblem. That’s because the Federal Trade Commission requires that manufacturers stating such claims make “all or virtually all” of the product in the United States.

While Kobold obtains all its cases and crystals from American manufacturers, it must source its “movements” (components) from Swiss manufacturers. The company assembles about 90 percent of its watches at the Robinson facility and about 10 percent in Switzerland

“No watches — not ours or any of our competitors — can say, ‘Made in the U.S.A.,'” Kobold said. The component manufacturing base does not exist in the United States, he said.

“It’s a nightmare because many (suppliers) go out of business,” Kobold said. For instance, he recently discovered one of his suppliers, a fifth-generation company in Switzerland, ceased operations.

“They hadn’t received a single order in 11 months. So now, we’re trying to buy their machines,” Kobold said.

“What we’re trying to do is not only be based in America but move manufacturing jobs to this country,” he said.

Compare Kobold watches to Invicta’s latest marketing gimmick- the Coalition Forces. These pieces are stamped “Field Tested” on the back. Recently one of the members of watchgeeks asked on the forum what tests the timepieces were put through. Of course, forum owner and ShopNBC horological expert Jim Skelton didn’t know and had to put the question to Invicta CEO Eyal Lalo. His response was priceless, “..it is simply a marketing and branding slogan, there were no actual field tests performed.”

At least they’re being honest finally.

Okay, they admit that this timepiece, that on several occasion they have marketed on the air as being made to “military standards” and “field tested” is just more obtuse schlock and parody. But recently, old Skelton sunk to a new low when he said  this watch and future Invicta military influenced designs are a tribute to our men and women overseas…

“…I am very proud of Invicta for doing this because all of this is really honoring our great service men and women that are overseas right now protecting our rights, protecting our freedoms as a country and this is one of the ways…you know think about it this way you’ve got a friend or family member that may be deployed currently. Really great gift to give them that they can actually use as a practical tool, or when they come back just as a commemoration of what they’ve done….”

Here’s the video

Where Kobold is actually making military timepieces and doing something for wounded SEALs, Invicta and ShopNBC despicably use the men and woman in the Armed services for sales.

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.

meijin
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.
__________________
Michael

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

Invicta…in hoc nomen vinces!

From the homeshoppingista blog:

“ValueVision Media, parent of the No. 3 home shopping network, filed a so-called “shelf registration,” or S-3 form, Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the stock offering. ShopNBC declined to comment.

But in its filing the company said that if it doesn’t stem its losses, “We could reduce our operating cash resources to the point where we will not have sufficient liquidity to meet the ongoing cash commitments and obligations to continue operating.

Through a shelf registration, a company can fulfill certain SEC-mandated registration-related procedures before offering shares to the public, which permits the company to go to market more quickly when they are ready to do the public offering. The company essentially puts stock shares “on a shelf” in case it needs to raise capital for any reason.

We have a history of losses and a high fixed cost operating base and may not be able to achieve or maintain profitable operations in the future.

In its filing, ShopNBC said it had operating losses of about $41.2 million, $88.5 million and $23.1 million in the years ended January 30, 2010 (“fiscal 2009”), January 31, 2009 (“fiscal 2008”) and February 2, 2008 (“fiscal 2007”), respectively.

It also reported a net loss of $42 in fiscal 2009 and a net loss in fiscal 2008 of $97.8 million.

“While we reported net income of $22.5 million in fiscal 2007, this was due to the $40.2 million pre-tax gain we recorded on the sale of our equity interest in Ralph Lauren Media, LLC, operator of the polo.com website,” the S-3 filing said. “There is no assurance that we will be able to achieve or maintain profitable operations in future fiscal years.”

ShopNBC said it has high fixed costs, primarily driven by fixed fees on the merchandise it sells to cable and satellite operators in exchange for distribution.

“In order to operate on a profitable basis, we must reach and maintain sufficient annual sales revenues to cover our high fixed cost base and/or negotiate a reduction in this cost structure,” the filing said. “If our sales levels are not sufficient to cover our operating expenses, our ability to reduce operating expenses in the near term will be limited by the fixed cost base. In that case, our earnings, cash balance and growth prospects could be materially and adversely affected.”

ShopNBC reported that it has limited unrestricted cash to fund its operations, $20.9 million as of May 1, 2010 (with an additional $4.9 million of cash that is restricted and used to secure letters of credit and similar arrangements).

“We expect to use our cash to fund any further operating losses, to finance our working capital requirements and to make necessary capital expenditures in order to operate our business,” the filing said. “We also have significant future commitments for our cash, primarily payments for our cable and satellite program distribution obligations and redemption of our Series B Preferred Stock. If our vendors or service providers were to demand a shift from our current payment terms to upfront prepayments or require cash reserves, this will have a significant adverse impact.”

It appears that ShopNBC’s shareholder GE Capital Equity will have to approve the offering, according to an 8-K that the network filed with the SEC in June.

“On June 10, 2010, our board of directors authorized the filing of a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 with the Securities and Exchange Commission covering the sale by our company of up to $75,000,000 of securities, including common stock, preferred stock, warrants, units and stock purchase contracts,” the company said in that filing. “Our shareholders agreement with GE Capital Equity Investments, Inc. (“GE Equity”) and NBC Universal, Inc. require the consent of GE Equity in order for our company to issue new equity securities and to incur indebtedness above certain thresholds, and there can be no assurance that we would receive such consent if we made a request.”

ShopNBC’s largest shareholder, NBC Universal, back on June 24 decided not to sell its 6,452,194 shares in the home shopping network “due to prevailing prices.”

Who knew that the distant number 3 network was in such financial dire straits? My guess is that repeated scandal after scandal from one of the networks cash cows, Invicta, has surely taken a toll. From the faulty Ocean Quest screw design and moldy dive cases; to Swinagate and the Great D-D Debacle of 2010, the 27 hours of watches marathon revealed few Invicta sellouts compared to last years event. And the revelation just the other day that watches marketed as having diamonds but actually containing crystals surely is not going to help sales.

I wonder if ShopNBC Host Jim Skelton, who recently went on a very public spending spree buying two cars, a new house and a shit ton of knives, all while working a few weeks over several months with one medical ailment after another, might now be regretting blowing all that cash?

What would ShopNBC’s demise mean for all of those stuck with bad watches from the past 7 months?

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.