PART 2: THE JIM SKELTON INTERVIEW! Oct 2, 2007 19:25:19 GMT -5
Post by Rusty on Oct 2, 2007 19:25:19 GMT -5
Does Jim have any official training in watch making?
Does Jim personally design or give ideas to any of the Invicta watch releases?
Yes. I have "influenced" over a dozen different Invicta watches, but only recently has Eyal granted me the honor of producing one of my personal complete designs. The cases, and dials are ready to go and now we await the movement that I want in there. I won't give the design idea away, but it is in my opinion one of the most elegant designs to ever have Invicta on the dial. It will consist of hand laid Chinese lacquer (such as on a Dupont lighter) a couple of rubies, a few emeralds, and a slice (1/3 slice) of a pearl on the dial. The gemstones are to be set as part of an artistic design inspired by a painting that I have in my home.
I also work very closely with ALL of our vendors, and have so far had 3 of my custom designs made, several dozen of my "influenced" models, and I have a special project that I am working on with Lior for what I believe will be the single most impressive dive watch ever made for under $8,000 retail. As it stands it will be a SWI Limited Edition piece (this may change as Lior is upgrading his Swiss Legend line) and will have key elements now done before on any watch. It is so difficult that his factories initially refused to attempt making it, but now they are dedicated to the project and it may take a full year to go from the wax mold sample I have to the 1st functioning prototype.
I am also very deeply involved with the Renato designs. Daniel and I work closely together on most everything. He is a genius at design and graciously allows me to work with him on them. I am currently redesigning the BEAST for an upcoming "Variant 2" project, and Daniel will take that and create his own artistic impression off of that groundwork. We are also in talks about creating their first elegant dress watch that I will probably begin working on this winter.
Does Jim favor the Reserve line over the "regular" Invicta line?
I wouldn't say that I favor it OVER the regular line, but I do like the additional quality that is built into each one. I still buy as many regular line Invictas as I ever did, but now I add Reserve Collection pieces to my collection as well. To get handmade quality with hand polishing, more intricate dials (or more exotic), and the added finishing on the incredible movements i feel that they are a worthy addition to my collection. As much as I truly love the high end Reserve pieces I still wear my $99 Pro Divers all the time.
What are Jim's thoughts on Swiss Made vs. Japanese made Invicta movements?
You're honestly buying one or the other for a reason. If the choice is there and money isn't a real factor most people would just buy the Swiss version. But the Miyota powered Pro Divers offer probably the best value in the industry. It's still an automatic, still built tough as nails, and works reliably with a great deal of accuracy so for $99-$199 you really can't beat them. I love the Miyota 8215/8205 movements and have yet to own one that did not function flawlessly in every respect. If I see a great watch design and it happens to have a Miyota movement inside I never reconsider the purchase because I know it will run as reliably and in many cases as accurately as most Swiss movements will. One of my favorite watches is the Croton Super C that I helped David to develop. I own 4 variants of them ranging from the carbon fiber dials to diamond Zebra models to a full diamond pave piece (one-off piece) and all but one use the Swiss ETA 2824-2. Which one do I wear most often? My original 21 jewel Miyota 8215 driven model. I LOVE that watch.
Does Jim ever tell Eyal that the forum members have concerns over the quality of his products?
Of course, we speak of this all the time. I also see some of the messages that Eyal sends his CS staff... believe me he cares very much about that end of the business. But that bieng said Eyal is the CEO and cannot really oversee every small thing in his business or his business would suffer. He has restructured his CS a bit and now it is running smoother than it has in the past. Those of you who have dealt with Rebecca know this well. Invict also is currently running one of the LOWEST defect rates in the entire industry. Do we hear more about defective Invictas than many other brands? Yes we do. But the reason why is this... go visit a forum dedicated to a particular high dollar brand and you will see similar complaints (albeit, fewer) about small issues. Now imagine of those collectors were buying 4, 5, 6 of that brands watches EVERY MONTH as we often see with Invicta. Then you'd hear those complaints much more frequently.
Invicta runs a tight ship, but they do make a lot more watches than most companies do. They produce, and sell, over 1 million watches per year. Invicta's defect rate is far less than the industry standard. Eyal and I have spoken personally about this.
What Does Jim think of the Russian Diver series? Are there any more variations in the works?
I am a real fan of the RD. I own an original, an RD2, and a Quinotaur. I am currently waiting on my square RD to arrive as well (see, hosts wait just like customers do!). While I typically don't wear 53mm watches, the RD design works in that size and i love the look and feel of it. Plus as a watch geek I love when people are staring at my watch, and ask me about what I'm wearing... the RD's are very effective in that way.
There are future projects, but none that I can discuss at this time. But rest assured for those that are Russian Diver fans, you will be very, very happy.
What are Jim's thoughts on large watches (>45mm)? What are his thoughts on the trend, fashion, and popularity of large watches around the world?
I touched on the trend earlier in a previous question, but my personal feelings are that I prefer larger watches in general. I wear mainly 42mm-44mm watches, and if the design is balanced enough I will go up to 50mm for a daily wear type of watch. The 53mm+ sizes are normally for me an occaisional wear, but as mentioned before a design like the Russian Diver is so attractive to me that I wear those fairly often. I personally don't wear anyhting below 42mm very often. My Clerc C collection chronometer on bracelet, my "JS watch" made by Jacques Lemans and a couple of my Pro Divers that I love are my main exceptions.
Does he know where the Invicta factories are??? Where are most of the non-Swiss made branded watches manufactured??
Invicta lists the address for their Swiss factory. They also own the S. Coifman Swiss factory as well. The non-Swiss factories are all over the world. As Eyal stated in my 2003 interview with him he has plants in Panama, Asia, and of course the new larger facility in Hollywood Florida where the "Made in the USA Collection" is produced.
What is Eyal's favorite watch?
I have asked Eyal this a few times on-air and his response is always the same... the Subaqua series as a whole is his favorite. He also wears his Anatomics and Russian Diver Quinotaur Anniversary model often.
How does Jim compare the quality, fit, and finish of Invicta watches with Swiss Legend or Jacques Lemans?
It would not be fair for me to make that comparison.
Why don't we see more S. Coifman models, and how come there is not much information on these watches, given that they are made by the Invicta Watch Group.
As they always were, S. Coifmans are limited production pieces that are not as mass produced as many watches are. They are currently in the process of making up some exciting new designs that we should be seeing in the next 6 months or so. I believe that they will also be working on a more detailed website in the future.
How many watches does Jim own? Of those how many are Swiss made?
I honestly stopped counting at 300. But like many WIS I own some that I'll never wear, or some simply fall out of rotation. I keep a steady 10 watch rotation, and often dip into another 30 or so on occasion. Many I am keeping to pass down to my son. I would say approx 60% are true Swiss Made watches. I'm funny that way... I don't care what brand name is on the dial, what the proposed country of origin is, or how many other people think that it's a "cool" watch. I buy for me. If I like how it looks, it fits nicely, has complications I desire, and has something special and unique about it... I'll buy it. I'm as far from a watch snob as you can imagine. I know you guys see me wearing a lot of diamond watches and such, but I own more divers than anything else, and some of my faves were bought for less than $300.
How come there is no recent hardbound book on Invicta watches, detailing the history, its heritage, and its future? Other watch companies do, and given Invicta's popularity, an official book on the watch company is in order.
I completely agree with you. I will bring this up to Eyal when I see him next!
Any idea what the Lalo is planning to do with Technica Ebauche movements in the future? He has hinted at special things to come.
Unfortunatley I can't discuss what little I know, but I'm sure there is also a lot going on that I don't know about. I would expect to see more from Technica in the future though.
What is Jim Skelton's favorite watch by any manufacturer? What does he consider to be the best bang for his watch buck?
Wow, that's a really tough one. I'll use the Grail example.... if money were absolutely no object there are 3 watches that I would have to own:
1) Ulysse Nardin Freak
2) DeWitt New Emotion Tourbillon in rose
3) HD3 Capture Tourbillon in blue
Now real world watches? Impossible to narrow down to one, but some of my favorite non-ShopNBC brands are:
Best bang for the buck? In all honesty I'll say it as I've said in my days long before ShopNBC, and as many of you have said... the Invicta Pro Divers.
Invicta seems to be trying to resolve its customer service issues. What is the best way for watch geeks to resolve their concerns about Invicta customer service?
Contacting Rebecca. If you look on the main forum you'll see a link that's always at the top that has all Invicta contact info including Rebecca's email. If you still aren't satisfied, email me.
What does his wife say if he buys too many watches?
This used to be an issue. Until it lead to my career... now she doesn't say much! I started her off about 4 years ago with her own watches and now she has a collection that rivals most men that I know. In my opinion it is vital to include your spouse in your hobbies (or obsession in this case) and if they take an interest in it you'll do well together. Remember that most guys' hobbies such as cars, golf, watches, etc can drive a wedge between the couple because most men tend to reserve that time as their own AWAY from their wives. I always give my wife an opportunity to try getting into my hobbies, and if she likes them I keep her involved and enjoy it with her. This allows me much more freedom in what I do, and how much I can spend! Try it, you might like it.
Now cars on the other hand.... whole different story! I still get into trouble there.
Can you find out if we can get an INVICTA Planet Ocean homage, 45mm w/ AR coating?
I can ask for you, sure.
Does Jim still enjoy collecting watches or is it more of a job now?
I still enjoy it as much as ever before actually. Especially with the gracious opportunites presented to me where I am able to influence a design, or completely design a watch. But my personal collection suffers a bit because I am constantly wearing/promoting special watches for my shows so I don't get to wear my "other brand" watches as often anymore.
After seeing the inner working of several watch companies, would Jim ever consider starting his own watch line alone or as a joint venture with an established company?
Yes I had considered it when I was approached by a few different people. But honestly it is far too much work, and I enjoy collaborating with my friends David, Eyal, Lior, Wing, Marianne and the rest so much that I wouldn't be as happy. I also cannot imagine the pressures of having to consistently conjure up new and fresh designs as often as they do... it would drive me mad.
Will The Swatch Group's move to limit movements outside the group give other companies like Seiko and Citizen a chance to gain a greater share of the market?
I can't speak for Seiko but I know that as it is Miyota cannot meet the demand for their movements. Unless things change drastically ALL movements are going to be sold on year long (and longer) waitlists.
If you want to know more, you can always swing by my myspace page at www.myspace.com/watchguy and I have several blog entries that might interest you!
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful questions, and for deeming me worthy enough to actually BE interviewed. Hopefully you got the answers you were looking for. Enjoy the watches, and the obsession.....