Review of Invicta Signature II Chronograph

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Model # 7284
At a Glance:
Brand/Model:  Invicta Signature II
Movement:  Japanese quartz
Material:  stainless steel case, leather strap
Complications:  date display, chronograph timing up to 60 minutes in one-second increments
Price:  MSRP (fantasy) $595 USD; $100 USD street price
Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.
This Invicta Signature II chronograph was admittedly an impulse buy from Jomashop, as they had a special on select Invictas and for some reason, this two-tone model caught my eye, which is especially interesting because usually I’m not a two-tone sort of guy.  I have always liked the combination of black and gold, though, and this watch reminds of the livery on the famous Johnny Player Special Lotus Formula One race car from the ‘70s.  Also, the amount of gold tone on this watch is not overdone and harmonizes well with the silver stainless steel case.  So I clicked ‘Buy’ and just a couple of days later, I had this Invicta in my hot little hands.
I know we all have our opinions about Invicta and I’m certainly not immune to my ruminations about their at times spotty QC, horrendous customer service, garish designs, etc.  But, they do often times produce an amazingly nice watch for relatively little money.  I feel this Signature II chronograph falls into this category, as it exudes class, quality and precision at around $100.
This Signature II chronograph is available in several different flavors, including one with a black dial and brown strap that is pretty much a direct copy of a certain Citizen Eco-Drive model.  I would have considered this model, but it was not as greatly discounted as the one I purchased, so I took a pass. 
The case is solid stainless steel, which is beautifully polished on the sides and brushed on the top, with a brushed gold tone bezel sporting polished edges.  Two pleasant surprises with the bezel upon delivery were that it indeed rotates (the specs. on the watch listing stated the bezel was fixed) and that the top of the bezel was brushed rather than polished, which to me, gives the watch a more subdued look instead of screaming ‘look at me!’ like Britney Spears in tight black leather pants.
The caseback screws down and is polished, with the Invicta Signature II logo and model number, etc. printed on the back.  The crown and chrono pushers are polished gold tone.  The crown is unsigned and does not screw down.  The watch is factory rated at a modest 50 meters of water resistance.
The case measures 43.3mm without the crown, 46.1mm crown inclusive.  Medium sized crown protectors protrude from the case.  Case thickness is 12.6mm, lugs are 22mm.  The watch is of medium weight, not too heavy, partly due to the leather strap instead of a heavy stainless bracelet. 
Comfort is average on my thinner wrist, which should improve somewhat as the strap breaks in a bit.  This watch, due to its larger diameter, has a tendency to rotate on the wrist, depending on if you’re wearing a jacket or sweater or something that covers the watch.
The crystal is flat mineral and protrudes just the slightest of millimeters above the bezel.  As previously mentioned, the bezel does indeed rotate, a 120-click unidirectional type with a satisfying ‘click’ and a slight bit of play.  No lume pip is installed on the bezel, just a black inset painted dot at ‘12’.  The markers and numbers on the bezel are also black inset painted.  The overall look of the watch head is one of elegance and class.
The dial is a deep gloss black with applied gold tone Arabics.  Most of the Arabics are presented in their full glory, only the ‘2’ and the ‘10’ are slightly hacked off, but not so much so as to look strange or be distracting (one of my pet peeves). 
The hands are what I would call sword style, with gold outlines and inset ‘Tritnite’ lume, Invicta’s trademarked name for their luminous material.  The only other lume on the dial are the ball on the end of the center seconds hand and the chrono seconds hand in the subdial @ 6, which seems pretty useless to have this hand lumed.  Lume quality is decent, but nothing really to write home about, especially given Invicta’s hype about this and how great they make the lume seem.
A quickset date window framed in gold resides at 4:30, the date wheel is standard black on white, alignment and setting action are fine.
The subdials are slightly inset and feature the ubiquitous record-style circular patterning, with white lettering.  The subdial @ 3 is a 24-hour indicator (a handy feature to have), the subdial @ 6 is the chrono seconds hand and the subdial @ 9 is the chrono minutes counter (up to 60 minutes).  The subdial hands are plain gold tone.
There is a tachymeter track that encircles the entire dial, with white lettering and white printed hash marks.  This tachymeter/chapter ring also has a deep-dish design to it, which I have always liked.  Another note about this watch that has greatly pleased me, the center running seconds hand hits all the markers straight on, which was an unexpected bonus.
The winged Invicta logo does not appear on the dial, which suits me just fine.  I find that logo at times to look cheap and overly large.  Instead, Invicta has christened this dial with their name below the inverse gold triangle at 12, along with a cursive ‘Signature II’ script below that.  And that’s the extent of wording on this dial, although with the subdials, date window, tachy scale and markers, there’s really no other space for any more wording.  The dial is a tad busy, but still works in my book.
The chronograph movement is Japanese quartz, the trusty Seiko Caliber VD-53 B, a relatively simple but effective design.  It’s the same movement that was installed in the Bellagio Ravello chronograph I reviewed last year.  The center seconds hand is the watch second hand, while the chrono seconds hand is in the subdial @ 6.  This design doesn’t suit all comers, but for a dressy chrono like this, where chrono timing would be secondary to style, this movement fits perfectly.  The chrono times in one-second increments to 60 minutes, with lap timing capability. 
Accuracy has been superb, gaining just one-half second during two weeks of testing, after calibration to my lab’s atomic clock.
Fit and finish on this Invicta Signature II I am happy to announce, is very, very good.  The hands align perfectly at midnight, the seconds hand hits all the marks around the dial, chrono action is accurate and reset to zero is perfect.  The crystal is clear and has no distortion and the build quality of the dial and hands is clean and shows no abnormalities under my standard 8X loupe exam.  This is what amazes me about Invicta, given the chance, they can produce an outstanding watch for a great price.
The strap was another nice surprise.  It is a 22mm croc-pattern leather, in a perfect matte black, not gloss.  I was concerned the strap might be glossy or semi-gloss, but the matte finish is preferred and much appreciated.  The strap is 22mm at the lugs and tapers to 19.6mm at the heavy signed stainless steel buckle.  The strap itself is signed, medium-to-heavy padded, with same-color black stitching and twin keepers (one fixed, one floating).
Even the presentation was unexpected.  Instead of the traditional Invicta big dopey cheesy yellow box, this Signature II arrived in a simple signed square black cardboard box with white cardboard overwrap, very similar to the box two of my Victorinox Swiss Army watches came in.  If this is cost-cutting, bring it on!
Invicta’s fantasy msrp on this watch is $595 USD, which of course, no one has ever paid.  Street price new is around $100 USD, which represents a fair value.
Overall, Invicta presents a solid watch in the Signature II chronograph which can’t be faulted for features, quality or price.  Dressy without being over-the-top, functional without being boring and at a price that certainly won’t break the bank.  I recommend this watch.
Pros:  reliable and accurate Seiko quartz chronograph movement, quality fit and finish, good looks without garishness
Cons:  a subtly signed crown would add extra class, perhaps 100M water resistance, a bit more lume on the dial would help
Verdict:  not much to fault here, Invicta does itself proud with the Signature II chrono, a watch that works when out for a special dinner, on the tennis court or around the house, with classy good looks and quality to boot!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics!
Excelsior!
-Marc

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