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The number of reliable (and less reliable) brands in the watchmaking industry has never been bigger – nor the market has ever been more competitive. In the past, things were much simpler, with a handful of brands controlling the industry, and customers having to choose from a limited selection of watches.
However, this has changed dramatically over the past few decades, and now there are dozens of great watch brands to pick from.
When it comes to choosing a watch, there are many factors to consider. Do you want a watch that is purely functional or one that is also a fashion statement? Do you want a mechanical watch or a quartz one? And of course, what brand should you go for?
As things stand, watch brands in the “affordable” (low-to-mid price) sector are still the ones that are worn most frequently. When it comes to these, two American watchmakers in the form of Invicta and Fossil, seem to be on the lips of everyone.
In this Invicta vs Fossil comparison, we will try to establish which brand offers better value by looking at things such as brands’ background, style, durability, movement, and finally prices.
For a quick peek at some of the best-selling models:
So, is it Invicta or Fossil – who is better? Without further delay, let’s go.
📖 Table of Contents
Invicta vs Fossil: Background & History
Invicta is one of the most popular American watchmakers. The company has really old roots, dating back to 1837.
Invicta was founded by Raphael Picard in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Picard had worked as a watchmaker for over 20 years before starting his own company. His goal was to create affordable watches that were still of high quality.
In 1873, the company moved to Geneva, Switzerland. It was here that Invicta began to produce more complex and expensive watches.
By the early 1900s, Invicta was well-established as a luxury watch brand. Its watches were worn by royalty and celebrities around the world.
The company continued to produce high-quality watches during the first half of the 20th century. However, the outbreak of World War II affected Invicta’s business. Many of its employees were drafted into the military, and production came to a halt.
After the war, Invicta struggled to regain its footing. It was eventually bought by a group of American investors in 1950. The new owners relocated the company to Hollywood, Florida.
Under its new leadership, Invicta reinvented itself as a maker of affordable watches. It became known for its “diamond in the rough” approach to watchmaking.
Invicta has continued to produce quality timepieces at an affordable price point. Today, it is one of the most popular watch brands in the world.
For a comprehensive look into the brand’s history, read our Invicta brand review.
In comparison to Invicta’s long history, we can still consider Fossil a relatively new addition to the industry.
While Invicta is exclusively a watch brand, Fossil is a fashion accessories company that was founded in 1984 by the Kartsotis brothers. The company started as a watchmaker but has since expanded its product line to include clothing, jewelry, handbags, and other leather goods.
Fossil’s goal is to make products that are both fashionable and affordable. The company has over 500 stores worldwide and its products are sold in more than 90 countries.
Fossil got its start in the early 1980s when the Kartsotis brothers bought a small watch business in Texas. The brothers wanted to create a line of watches that were both stylish and affordable. To do this, they traveled to Asia to find manufacturers who could produce high-quality watches at a lower cost. The brothers were successful in their efforts and Fossil became one of the leading affordable/fashion watchmakers in the world.
In the 1990s, Fossil expanded its product line to include clothing, jewelry, handbags, and other leather goods.
For a more detailed look into the brand’s history, read our Fossil brand review.
Invicta vs Fossil: Style & Design
While there are many watchmakers in the low-to-mid price sector that offer nearly indistinguishable styles, the difference is there for all to see between Invicta and Fossil.
Invicta has always been a company that takes chances on its designs. It is not afraid to push the envelope and try new things. This can be seen in its bold use of color, patterns, and materials. In recent years, Invicta has even begun experimenting with alternative materials such as carbon fiber and ceramic.
Invicta is particularly known for its Pro Diver collection which is full of affordable dive watches, many inspired by the design of the iconic Rolex Submariner. They are usually fully made from stainless steel, come with a unidirectional bezel and can survive depths of up to 500m.
Fossil, on the other hand, has always been a bit more conservative in its approach to design. The company’s watches tend to be more classic and understated in their style. This is not to say that Fossil’s watches are boring or unattractive. Rather, they are just not as flashy or experimental as Invicta’s.
A large portion of Fossil timepieces come with leather straps, some even utilizing Roman numerals to give them a more vintage feel.
When discussing the style of Fossil watches, it’s impossible not to mention the brand’s short-but-fruitful presence in the smartwatch market. In 2016, Fossil released its first line of connected watches. They were well-received and Fossil has since released several more models. The company’s smartwatches are stylish and offer a wide range of features.
Apart from regular smartwatches, Fossil also offers hybrid smartwatches which look like traditional watches but have some smart features (eg. pedometer or calorie counter). These hybrids are a great option for people who want the best of both worlds.
Invicta vs Fossil: Materials & Durability
There’s little room for argument that both brands produce stylish, head-turning watches that most of the time look above their moderate price tags.
However, even the most splendid looks won’t count for much if the durability standards aren’t up to the required levels.
So, how do the two watchmakers fare on this front?
The display window is the watch’s first line of defense. Cracked glass isn’t only hard on the eye but can also lead to irreversible damage to the movement.
Safe to say, both Invicta and Fossil utilize reliable materials in this field.
The vast majority of Invicta models come with the brand’s proprietary Flame Fusion crystal. In terms of durability, it’s a close match for mineral glass which is the frequent choice amongst watchmakers in the low-to-mid price category.
A smaller portion of Invicta watches, usually priced above $300, comes with sapphire crystal glass – the go-to material for all the top-tier brands in the industry. Sapphire crystal scores 9 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning it’s the ultimate choice when it comes to scratch resistance. Moreover, sapphire crystal watches use an anti-reflective coating which greatly improves legibility.
Fossil, on the other hand, uses exclusively mineral crystal with all of its watches. Sapphire crystal was available for a brief period with Fossil’s Swiss-Made collection but it’s been discontinued for some time already.
When it comes to watch straps, both Invicta and Fossil offer a wide variety of choices.
For Invicta, the dominating material is stainless steel. However, there are some models with silicone and leather straps. With that said, they’re in minority.
As for Fossil, their watch straps are mostly made of leather, with a smaller number of models using stainless steel bracelets. However, they also offer a few options made of other materials, such as rubber and nylon.
If you’re looking for the most rugged option, consider timepieces with stainless steel or rubber bands. Although leather looks extremely elegant, it usually wears down a lot quicker.
For the most part, Invicta and Fossil use stainless steel cases – a standard material amongst most watchmakers.
Stainless steel is prized for its resistance to rust and corrosion, as well as its overall durability.
Other materials you may come across while browsing brands’ collections include:
- titanium – a lightweight yet strong metal
- ceramic – a smooth, scratch-resistant material that’s pretty brittle
- silicone – a soft, comfortable, and hypoallergenic rubber
And while both brands use similar materials in their cases, there are some key differences to be aware of.
Invicta watches are typically larger than Fossil watches, with most models falling into the 43-46mm range. This is due in part to the brand’s focus on producing watches with an aggressive, masculine look. In contrast, Fossil watches tend to be smaller and more understated, with most models falling into the 40-42mm range.
What’s important, the vast majority of watches in both brands’ catalogs come with screwed-in casebacks and crowns, meaning they have improved protection against water-related damage.
Essentially, all timepieces from both watchmakers are water-resistant to some degree.
However, looking at the overall picture, Invicta seems to offer more capable watches on this front.
Most Fossil timepieces come with water resistance ratings between 30m and 50m. Some sportier models, or the brand’s tiny dive watch collection, can withstand a pressure of up to 100-200m. However, these are in minority.
Invicta, on the other hand, is known for its Pro Diver collection which is full of dive watches that can go really deep. Many models boast water resistance ratings anywhere from 100m to 500m.
Invicta vs Fossil: Movements
The movement of a watch is what keeps time and makes it work. There are three types of watch movements: quartz, mechanical, and automatic.
Quartz movements are the most accurate and require the least amount of maintenance. Mechanical movements, whether hand-wound or automatic, are less accurate but are prized by collectors for their craftsmanship.
Both Invicta and Fossil offer all three types of movements in their watches.
The quality of Invicta watches’ movements has long been a source of heated debate.
Some watch aficionados believe that the quality issue is not with the movement’s standard, but with how they are cased. On the other hand, others argue that Invicta’s movement quality is perfectly fine considering the low cost of most watches.
Regardless of whether we’re talking about automatic or battery-powered (quartz) watches, the majority of Invicta watches feature solid and reliable movements, contrary to popular belief.
Invicta is not a company that creates its own movements. However, unlike some other brands in the same price range that employ no-name movements from China, Invicta watches’ calibers are mostly obtained from very reputable manufacturers.
Invicta’s current catalog features budget-friendly watches with Japanese movements and the more pricey watches powered by Swiss-made calibers.
The majority of Japanese-made watches run on either Miyota or Seiko movements. Swiss-made collections include a wide range of timepieces with reliable calibers like Ronda, ETA, and Sellita. There is a small number of watch models with Chinese mechanical movements to avoid.
For the money, the Japanese and Swiss-made movements of Invicta offer really sound accuracy. Most quartz timepieces should be accurate up to 15-20 seconds per month. Depending on the caliber, automatic versions might lose anywhere from 15 to 45 seconds each day.
Fossil has it all, whether you go for quartz timepieces’ unrivaled accuracy or more complex mechanical movements.
When it comes to manually-wound mechanical watches, Fossil mostly utilizes Chinese-made calibers. Despite the fact that these are (often justifiably) disliked by many watch enthusiasts, those installed in Fossil models are generally regarded as providing a sound value for money.
What about automatic watches? Seagull Caliber TY2806 is one of Fossil’s most popular calibers in this category. Although it’s a Chinese-made movement, it’s nearly identical to the much-appreciated Japanese Miyota 8215 caliber and has an excellent accuracy of +/- 10-35 seconds every day.
Swiss automatic movements are available, but exclusively through Fossil’s sibling companies, Zodiak and Michele Watch. However, be prepared to delve a little further into your pockets.
Finally, Fossil uses very dependable Japanese movements in its battery-powered (quartz) collections. Miyota, one of the most well-known brands in the Japanese movement business, is responsible for a lion’s share of these.
Fossil vs Invicta: Affordability
Finally, we come to the all-important question of price. Which brand offers better value for your money?
When it comes to price, there is no clear winner between Invicta and Fossil. Both brands offer a wide range of watches at different (but affordable) price points.
At the lower end of the spectrum, Fossil’s watches tend to be slightly more expensive than Invicta’s. The cheapest Fossil watches in the current catalog will set you back around $70 while the most affordable Invicta models can be snatched even at $50.
At the higher end of the spectrum, the difference in price between the two brands is bigger. The most expensive Fossil watch in the current catalog retails for $300 while some of the top-tier Invicta watches can set you back just south of $1,000. Again, these prices are an exception, not the norm.
Invicta vs Fossil: Warranty
When it comes to warranty, both Invicta and Fossil offer solid coverage. But the former just edges it.
Invicta offers a three-year limited warranty on all of its watches. This covers defects in materials and workmanship but does not cover damage caused by normal wear and tear. Invicta also offers a 30-day return policy for watches that are purchased through its website or authorized sellers (ie. Amazon).
Fossil offers a two-year limited warranty on its watches. This covers defects in materials and workmanship but does not cover damage caused by normal wear and tear. Fossil’s return policy varies depending on where the watch was purchased. For watches bought through Fossil’s website or authorized sellers, the company offers a 30-day return policy.
Which Is Better: Invicta or Fossil? Conclusion
Summing up the Invicta vs Fossil battle, we think that both brands deliver good value in their own sense.
Invicta seems to be the more complete watchmaker. Unlike Fossil – a brand that is first and foremost a fashion accessory company – Invicta’s focus is strictly on timepieces and that shows in the overall quality of their product.
For example, the durability standards offered by most of Invicta timepieces are clearly higher than Fossil’s, let it be in terms of general construction or water resistance. Invicta’s bigger experience is also there to see on the movement front where they offer a greater variety of Japanese and Swiss-made calibers, whereas Fossil mostly relies on lower quality quartz movements from Japan or Chinese-made automatic movements.
Some will say that Fossil has a slight advantage when it comes to design. Their watches tend to be more stylish and sleek, while Invicta’s are usually bulkier and more robust. However, that is a very subjective matter.
While both brands offer good value for the money, we think that Invicta is the better investment overall.