28 October 2013


If I had to find a just a word to characterize the Invicta Grand Diver, model nº 13697, this would be the one.
Still in my quest for cheap automatic movements, I laid eyes on this particular one, while surfing on the Amazon.co.uk.
Already a bit familiar with the Invicta time pieces - and happy for now - it was not that hard to press the "buy" button for this one, particularly because it was, at the time (end of September), at a very affordable price of ninety pounds.
The Invicta Grand Diver, model nº 13697, soon became a winner for me. The case is basically similar to the conventional Grand Divers, like the model nº 3045 and brothers. The difference is that, since in this particular model the crown is located at the two o'clock position, it wears perfectly on the hand for such a big watch. You can move and twist the wrist as much as you like and the watch never gets uncomfortable to use. You never notice that there's a crown on it.
A heavy watch by definition, the "Grand" Diver 13697 is a lovely timepiece to wear, and like all the family, it oozes build quality. The member Pebe, from the Forum Watchuseek, was writing on the mentioned forum, on the past year's October, that "The Grand Diver and Pro Diver lines are the only Invicta's worth owning".
I have to agree with him, so far. In a pure relation price/quality, these watches are unbeatable. Like all the members of the family, its stainless steel bracelet is equipped with a fold over machined clasp with safety lock.
The heart of this timepiece is a NH37A automatic engine, with twenty-four jewels. Built by the Time Module company of Hong Kong, a subsidiary of Seiko-Epson, its accuracy was a surprise for me (more on this later).
The watches' face, showing its dial and counter-clockwise rotating bezel with click stops (120 clicks for a full rotation). The dial is decorated with a sea swell pattern in relief, part of its enchantment. Complications are just two: a date window at four o'clock, with a Cyclops loupe for us Magoos out there, and a second smaller twenty-four hour dial, located at ten o'clock. Regarding the latter one, I still don't really know if I like it or if it is just a waste of dial space and materials.
The fact is this sub-dial is merely a twenty-four hour repeater of the twelve hour larger dial. It's only a way to clear any doubts in your mind regarding the time you are reading: is it two o'clock in the morning or fourteen hundred in the afternoon?
Well, it might prove useful on the polar regions. Imagine yourself as a polar explorer, stationed at the Amundsen-Scott base during the whole Antarctic winter, with absolutely no sun light whatsoever for almost four months. You have to know if it's time for breakfast or for dinner, don't you agree?
Anyway, if you are working in Antarctica, chances are that you are rich enough to use a several thousands Euros Swiss watch, instead of a cheap Invicta, like we, working class heroes, do.
So, my guess is that this second dial will not be that useful. Even on the South pole.
Did I mentioned that its movement is permanently linked to the main hands? So, you can forget any ideas of using it as a second time zone. That, in fact, would be quite a useful application for it.
Grand Diver engravings and diving helmet on the crown. The diving helmet in relief is ok. However, the engraved letters are a tad too much. They are not that shocking, but a cleaner look on the stainless steel case would not be that bad either.
The same on the other side. We know it's an Invicta. It shows on the dial, on the bracelet, on the case back... did I miss some other place?
The "cyclops" is an acrylic loupe glued over the mineral crystal, to allow for a better vision of the calendar. The one on mine, due to my professional marine life, is already scratched (see the shadow between the "2" and the "7"?). The world is divided between the "Cyclops" haters and lovers. It's up to you to join any of the factions.
If you are against and want to remove it, check the video of rtomson on Youtube. Kids, don't try this at home.
The Grand Diver model 13697 on my wrist. A lovely and cheap piece of watchmaking.
Accuracy test:
Synchronising (08-Oct-2013):
Watch:             23h56m00s
GMT website: 23h56m00s
Compared (19-Dec-2013):
Watch:             20h54m36s
GMT website: 20h47m00s

The watch was not serviced yet. It's still on factory regulation.
I've used the GMT website to check the watch accuracy. Although this is not as valuable as an accurate test with more sophisticated instruments, we can assume the error of the website in just a couple of seconds. If we refresh the web page, while taking the measurements, so that both clocks show exactly the same time, we can assume that we have a precise time calculation.
Based on that fact, we can consider that (in the measured time interval from 08 Oct 2013 to 19 Dec 2013 - about 6.209.460 seconds) the watch advanced in relation to the Greenwich time the sum of 7 minutes and 36 seconds or 456 seconds.
                              6209460 s ------------- 456 s
                                  86400 s ------------- x          (being 86400 s the number of seconds in a 24h day)
x=(86400*456)/6209460= aprox. 6.3448 seconds of advance per each 24 hours period.
Not bad for such a cheap watch, equiped with a China-made-under-Japanese-specifications automatic machine.