Invicta is a long-running watch brand, currently known for mid-priced fashion watches.
Raphael Picard is said to have founded his firm in 1837. He and his sons are listed as coming from Fleurier, and the firm of R. Picard is listed there as early as 1848 as a merchant of fabrics, drapery, and other imported goods, not watches. He appears to have moved to Le Locle by 1854 and over time added the import and sale of rubies and other gems for the watch industry (though not watch jewels specifically). Picard opened a shop in La Chaux-de-Fonds by 1861, still focusing on gems rather than horology specifically, and was located on Rue St-Pierre 22 (now Rue Charles-Edouard Guillaume) with an entry on Rue de la Serre.
Raphaël Picard is first specifically listed as a watchmaker in 1864 with his workshop listed at Rue Léopold-Robert 23 along with Henri Picard, toolmaker. R. Picard moved to number 22 in 1867, with Henri (and father) moving to number 19. Raphaël Picard then moves to St-Pierre 14 in 1868. Picard Frères had been listed in the city since 1861 and they took Léopold-Robert 11. Raphaël Picard is listed as a manufacturer of watches as well as a buyer and seller in 1875 but remained at St-Pierre 14 through 1886, when he was again located on Léopold-Robert, this time at number 24. The firm now began to expand, advertising for the first time and offering export services. The firm appears to have taken over all of number 24 by the late 1880s as well.
Fils de R. Picard and Invicta
On June 23, 1882, the three sons of Raphaël Picard took over their father's business. Edmond, Gabriel, and Armand Picard registered the firm as R. Picard, with a purpose being the manufacturing of watches. It was still located at Rue St-Pierre 14 at this time. The company was officially renamed "Les Fils de R. Picard" in 1892.
In 1894 the company boasts of a hydraulic-powered factory in Delémont. This was the former factory of Emile Maître, established there before 1883, into which the Picard brothers invested in 1890. Following the death of Emile Maître the company was listed as a branch of R. Picard. A large advertisement claims that the company specializes in export watches for Russia, Austria, Germany, Spain, Turkey and South America, and has a "complete assortment of simple and complicated watches" including "fancy watches for ladies" and "simple and complicated repetitions, chronographs, chronometers, automatons, independent seconds, calendars, and grandes sonneries."
The Invicta name is first used in 1900 on a repeater watch with a pusher to silence the chime. This was one of the signature products of the company, along with "The Military Watch", a mass-produced watch with interchangeable components.
In 1904 the company is reorganized again. Fils de R. Picard & Cie is constituted on January 1 of that year, with Edmond Picard holding a majority share, Armand Picard as a minor shareholder, and Gabriel Picard, Charles Sylvain Blum, Henri Robert Dreyfuss, and Edmond Dreyfuss managing the company.
By 1908 the company (now using the name "Fabrique Invicta") had moved to a new building at Rue Léopold-Robert 109, and this would be the company's home for decades. The firm was officially renamed "Fils de R. Picard & Cie, Fabrique Invicta" on June 12, 1909.
Edmond Picard died on August 29, 1914, leaving his shares in the firm to his heirs. Charles Blum died a few years later, leaving his share to his widow, Rosalie (née Picard) and to Paul-Maurice Blum. Armand Picard died by 1926, leaving his share to his son Lucien Picard of Paris.
The company was split in 1928, with Fils de R. Picard & Co becoming a real estate company owning the building at Rue Léopold-Robert 109 and a new Société Anonyme, Invicta SA, taking on the watchmaking operation. The new company, established on December 14, 1928, is capitalized at 1 million francs, with contributions from Gabriel Picard, Henri-Robert Dreyfus, Georges-Raphael Blum, and Paul-Maurice Blum.
Invicta SA of La Chaux-de-Fonds was a mass-market brand in the 1950s. The company advertised their watches as "waterproof" and "shockproof".
Sagiter, SGT, ONDIX, Sector
Invicta SA became a member of the Société Horlogeère de Production et de Participation SA (Sagiter) federation by 1970 alongside other mid-priced brands like Sandoz and Camy. Invicta, Sandoz, Waltham, Elgin, and others were members of Société des Garde-Temps SA (SGT) by 1974, giving the brand access to quartz, LED digital, and electronic movements.
Artime and Sector
In 1991, Invicta was re-launched. The modern company claims that this was "descendants of the Invicta family" but it is not clear who they are referring to. Invicta was distributed by the Italian Artime Group along with Sector, Lucien Rochat, Philip Watch, Chronostar, and MoDe.
In 2000, Artime was renamed Sector Group with the primary focus being the Sector brand in Italy, but continuing to market Invicta, Lucien Rochat, Chronostar, and MoDe and launching , Roberto Cavalli. These watches were manufactured in Switzerland at first, with sourcing from Japan and China as well by the mid 2000s. Later sister brands included Just Cavalli, Pzero Tempo, Moschino, Valentino, Xenia, and Mariella Burani. An agreement with Benetton Group in 2003 added Sisley and United Colors of Benetton.
Invicta added Technica Swiss Ebauche in 2000 as a Swiss producer of watch movements, though many were sourced from mainstream or Asian suppliers. In 2002 Invicta was permitted by ETA to continue using their movements, even as Swatch Group began restricting access.
Invicta Watch Group
In 2004, Invicta became part of the American company, Invicta Watch Group. The company sells inexpensive watches with a focus on skeleton movements and cases inspired by Swiss luxury brands like Hublot. But Invicta still sells Swiss-made watches with COSC certifications as well. Invicta presented at Baselworld in 2011, demonstrating their rise as a major world watch brand.