Leading up to a recent trip to Disneyland, my wife and I went on the hunt for some Disney themed watches we could enjoy in the park. If you’re cool with quartz (which I totally am) you have a plethora of choices available to you. However as watch collectors we do prefer mechanicals, which in this case severely limited our options. Eventually we landed on Invicta. In this review we’ll be taking a look at the piece that accompanied me on my journeys through the park.
First a quick history lesson. Disney and watches have a relationship extending back to the early part of the century when Walt and his brother Roy were getting Disney Brothers Studios off the ground. Those early years were lean, leading the brothers to sell exclusive merchandising rights to Herman “Kay” Kamen. Kamen was a brilliant marketing man with a keen eye for spotting a lucrative opportunity, and held those exclusive rights for two decades. In the early ‘30s he approached the Ingersoll-Waterbury watch company about designing a watch featuring Disney’s lead character, Mickey Mouse. In 1933 the Mickey Mouse Watch For Boys was launched at the Chicago Exposition “Century of Progress”. Ingersoll-Waterbury continued to market and sell Disney character watches through the 40s and 50s, later becoming US Time, and finally Timex in the 1960s. In the early 1970s, Timex introduced the first Mickey quartz-powered watch, essentially putting an end to the classic Disney mechanical. Helbros took over the Disney watch helm in 1972 with their Bradley Watchmakers division, making various versions of the watch with different Disney characters’ arms telling the time, until 1987 when the reins were passed to Lorus. Today, quartz-powered “Mickeys” are sold by several brands, including Disney’s own Disney Time Works.
But for those wanting a modern Disney watch powered by a mechanical movement, the choices are few and far between. Aside from the very limited, and very expensive Bamford-modified Rolex Mickey dial released in 2016, or a couple of pieces produced by Disney Time Works equipped with unknown Chinese movements (I recently came across one such mechanical at the merchandise store inside the Disneyland Hotel) your choices for a contemporary Disney-licensed mechanical timepiece are either the resurrected Ingersoll Watch Company, or Invicta.
While Invicta in general may not be everyone’s cup of tea I’ll give them credit for making some nice looking, affordable timepieces with reliable Seiko movements. For our recent trip to the land where everyone’s dreams come true I purchased two watches out of Invicta’s Disney Limited Edition collection for my wife and me, identical in all but size and dial (her watch being a 40mm with Donald Duck on the dial). Here I’ll focus on the Men’s Automatic 47mm Steel Case Blue Dial model 24497. This one’s a monster, and looks and feels large even on my 7.5” wrist. It’s definitely not something I would wear on a daily basis, but for a trip to Disneyland it worked just fine.
As with the majority of Invicta’s pieces, the branding here is extensive; VERY extensive. Aside from Mickey holding station at the 5 o’clock position we have the Invicta “Wings” logo at pride of place just underneath the triangular 12 o’clock index, with “Invicta” under the logo, the words “Grand Diver” under that, and finally “WR 300M” under that. And it doesn’t stop there folks. Straddling the crown we’re again reminded that this watch is a diver, with “Grand Diver” engraved on the polished stainless steel case side. Opposite the crown we’re assured that this is indeed an Invicta product with an all-caps “INVICTA” engraving. Moving on from the case we find the silhouette of a vintage diving helmet in the center of both bracelet end links, and repeated on the crown. Finally, the Invicta logo and brand name are stamped into the bracelet’s clasp. Rest assured, when sporting this watch you will not forget what you’re wearing. Those who prefer minimal branding need not apply.
The dial wears a bright blue sunburst finish, with lume-filled and applied rectangular indices at 6 and 9, and round indices filling out the remainder of the hour markers. The hour and minute hands are elongated arrows, also filled with lume, while the second hand carries a round pip near its tip that joins the night time light show. The wings logo makes yet another appearance here as the second hand’s counterweight. The date window at three sits underneath a sizable cyclops glued to a flat mineral crystal.
The 120-click, uni-directional, stainless steel bezel matches the dial’s blue color, with a small lumed pip standing proud on the sixty minute triangle. Bezel action is just OK. At 47mm across and 16mm thick, I was constantly banging the watch into door jambs and countertops, and unfortunately the metal insert dents easily. On the underside we find another mineral crystal set into a screw-down case back displaying the Seiko NH35A movement inside. While otherwise undecorated, the movement carries Invicta’s signature yellow rotor. The bracelet is a very basic three-link stainless steel affair with a stamped, fold over clasp.
This particular model rings in right around $160 direct from invictastores.com (ignore the $895 MSRP on invictawatch.com). For that rather modest sum you get a reliable Seiko automatic movement stuffed into a basic, albeit heavily branded diver package. At the end of the day this one’s all about the colorful character on the dial anyway, and with that I was happy to display it on my wrist while enjoying the Magic Kingdom. However, given its gargantuan size it will likely sit in the watch box unworn until our next trip to Disneyland in a year’s time.
- Brand & Model: Invicta Disney Limited Edition Model 24497
- Price: $160
- Who we think it might be for: If you’re looking for a mechanically powered, Disney themed watch and don’t want to spend almost $700 on a dressy version from Ingersoll, give this Invicta a look.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? I did.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Cut the branding by about 90% and the thickness by at least 4mm.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: Mickey of course.
Technical Specifications from Invicta
- Material: Stainless steel
- Size: 47mm x 16mm
- Weight: 211 Grams sized to 7.5″ Wrist
- Crystal: Mineral
- Case Back: Stainless Steel Screwed With Mineral Crystal Display Insert
- Water Resistance: 30 atm/300 m/990 ft.
- Inter-lug Width: 22mm
- MOVEMENT: Seiko NH35A Automatic Mechanical, 24 jewels
- Functions: Hacking and Manual Winding with date
- Accuracy: -20/+40 sec/day
- Beats Per Hour: 21,600
- Power Reserve: 41 Hours
- Custom Rotor
- Material: Metal
- Luminous Material: Tritnite, Light Green
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Insert: Metal
- Rotation: Unidirectional, 120-Click
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Type: Three-Link, Polished Center Links
- Clasp: Deployant With Safety Clasp