NOTE: This post originally ran in early May of 2023, when the watch had a steady, “sticky” price of $108.99. As of a couple months after the price on the Invicta 1953 (unsurprisingly) has started to rise. That’ll happen as something gets popular on Amazon.
- model: 31290
- size: 40mm
- movement: Seiko NH35A automatic hacks/hand-winds
- water resistance: 200m
- crystal: mineral
- etc: fully brushed bracelet, exhibition case-back, no tacky logo engraved on the side
- source: Amazon
Long live the new King.
40mm case size. 200m water resistance.
Has to be the new gateway drug for automatic sports/dive watch enthusiasts.
The new(ish) Invicta 1953 Automatic excels because of what it avoids. Unlike its sub-homage brother, there’s no silly engraved INVICTA logo etched into the side of the case. Unlike many other cheap divers, there’s also no glaring polished links (inset or otherwise) on the bracelet. There’s no overcluttered dial with logos fighting against other branding or watch resistance rating. It doesn’t even have a date window or crown guards!
So for all that it’s not, what it is, is an affordable, handsome, clearly heritage-inspired wrist-watch.
To sum it up as Q did in SPECTRE:
With gilt-bordered hands, indices and script on the dial, greenish (but not Hulk-green) blobs of lume, a wearable by most 40mm case diameter, and a fully brushed oyster-style bracelet, it’s a classy diver with aesthetics ripped from the wrist-watch history books.
It’s simple. No funny business.
As “watch” as a watch can get. Should be named Watchy McWatchface.
Powered by Seiko’s NH35A workhorse automatic movement, it’s dependable, affordable, and a terrific entry-level wristwatch for those who want to jump from quartz to something with tiny springs and gears. The lollipop style seconds hand has that nice sweep around the dial, avoiding the ka-CHUNK, ka-CHUNK second-by-second chop of a quartz movement’s seconds hand. It hacks, it hand winds, and it comes with Seiko’s proprietary anti-shock system. So it should be tough.
Exhibition case-back. Seiko automatic movement.
The one iffy bit about the watch is the bracelet. It looks great, with its 100% brushed oyster style links… but it’s cheap. It works fine, wears fine, and feels fine on the wrist, but the pressure clasp doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. The end links aren’t solid, but instead the cheap, rickety kind. So while it also looks mighty good on a NATO strap (and more on that later this week in a separate post…) getting the bracelet back on the darn watch head can be a bit of a chore.
End links are the cheap, hollow kind. Rest of the bracelet’s links feel great.
The clasp doesn’t feel much thicker than beer-can aluminum. Can’t win ’em all I guess.
The bezel’s “action” feels definitive and sharp, not wobbly or mushy. The crown operates as it should and threads nicely. Even the lume is pretty good, assuming you can get it out into direct sunlight to charge it up.
Looks good on a NATO too.
Lugs are 20mm, which is a sweet spot for many.
For the longest time, the go-to entry level automatic diver was Invicta’s homage to the Rolex Submariner. But compromises had to be made, especially with the engraved INVICTA on the side of that particular watch’s case.
With this new 1953 no such compromise needs to be made. Its styling is simple. Very simple. The only “flash” comes by way of the gilt-tone on the dial, hands, and indices, which accomplishes the rare trick of being both on-trend as well as something that’ll never go out of style.
Not bad for just north of a hundred bucks.