Gérald Genta’s Credor Locomotive returns for the 50th anniversary of the brand (live pics)

Gérald Genta’s Credor Locomotive returns for the 50th anniversary of the brand (live pics)

Zach Blass
  • Credor celebrates the 50th anniversary of the brand with the return of Gérald Genta’s Locomotive design from 1979.
  • This new model is crafted in high-intensity titanium and has an automatic calibre exclusive to Credor.
  • Limited to 300 pcs. Price: US$12,000.
Credor Locomotive Sketch
Left: Genta’s original sketch of the Locomotive. Right: The original Credor Locomotive watch from 1979.

The Credor Locomotive is arguably one of the most under-the-radar creations by legendary watchmaker and designer Gérald Genta. Its existence may be more subtle, with only those in the know aware he actually designed a watch for Credor – a Seiko Corporation brand that is largely sold within the Japanese domestic market. But once you see the Credor Locomotive it is rather clear he was the man behind the design. With its Royal Oak-like bracelet shape, and a hexagonal case that is adjacent to the octagonal Royal Oak case as well. As a result, and due to its abrupt lack of seamlessness between the case and bracelet, it is a rather polarising watch. Some call it lazy, others chic, quirky, and cool. With Genta-mania comes Genta-inflation, and with more and more watch collectors interested in historical Seiko Corporation works, the original quartz-driven Credor Locomotive from 1979 is rather sought after in the pre-owned market – with asking prices around US$10,000 – US$15,000. Credor, however, in honour of the 50th anniversary of the brand and the 45th anniversary of the Locomotive, has now introduced a 300-piece limited edition of the Credor Locomotive I suspect most will find better than the original. Yet, this new Credor Locomotive Limited Edition GCCR999 is priced effectively the same as the prices set by vendors to purchase the vintage model.

Credor Locomotive Limited Edition 21

Why do I infer most will think the new Credor Locomotive Limited Edition is better? For starters, it is actually more faithful to Genta’s original Locomotive sketch with the dial now using double batons for the 12′ index and its screw-down crown now perfectly aligned with the 4′ index whereas the original’s was a little off-centre. Normally revivals tend to deviate further from the original concept, instead, this sequel is more aligned with Genta’s vision – a rare development. Other modern improvements have been implemented as well. This new limited edition takes advantage of the Seiko Corporation’s high-intensity titanium, and further increasing its durability is the new Locomotive’s functional hexagonal screws that now also increase durability and ease of maintenance when they were once merely just aesthetic.

Credor Locomotive Limited Edition 24

Looking at the Credor Locomotive Limited Edition, the bracelet finishing has been improved as well with thicker and more illustrious bevels to the shoulders of the bracelet links. And the bracelet now has a twin-triggered folding clasp, albeit without micro-adjustment. Aside from the double batons at 12′, and the ‘Automatic’ text at 6′, the dial is largely the same as the original – but there are further subtle refinements. At 12′ we simply have Credor branding rather than Credor and Seiko co-branding, and the texture of the dial has been refined.

Credor Locomotive Limited Edition 11

Credor explains: “The black dial takes its inspiration from a steam locomotive. Its pattern was precisely created thanks to advanced technology. Based on Genta’s original sketch, a digital dial rendering with approximately 1,600 radial lines was created, reinterpreting the original pattern. A special machine process was developed so that each line of the pattern could be directly engraved onto the dial. The pattern is carefully crafted to realize a hand-engraved quality and exquisite textured pattern that shines beautifully. The intricately crafted dial imparts a beautiful sparkle from every angle.”

Credor Locomotive Dial dynamics

While described as black, within the lit box I was holding the watch in it came across as ranging from grey to black – or rather a pale black to a rich and dark black. It is very dynamic in its expression, changing in appearance depending on the angle light hits it. Normally I would shout out a preference for a colour-matched date window, but as the 3′ date replaces the index it just blends in, in some respects, with the other applied hour indices. For the record, all of the hour indices and the central hours and minutes hands are filled with luminous coatings that caters to its sporty-chic vibe. And yes, I do consider this watch to be a viable daily wearer.

Credor Locomotive Limited Edition 23
Notice how with a slight tilt of the wrist the dial became much more black.

After all, it is encased in robust high-intensity titanium and it is 100 metres water-resistant with a screw-down crown. I should also mention how versatile its size is, clocking in at 38.8mm in diameter and a very slender 8.9mm thick. From a lug-t0-lug standpoint, the case itself is lug-less – creating its distinct and polarising gap between the case and bracelet. So within this metric, you are really looking at the effective lug-to-lug created by the centre integrating link that connects the case and bracelet. And, while I do not have an exact measurement to offer, on my wrist it was clear this effective span was very compact and will cater very well to smaller wrists and even larger wrists that would like to enjoy its more classic sizing as well.

Credor Locomotive Limited Edition Clasp Bracelet caseback

While it is not visible, beneath its solid caseback the Credor Locomotive Limited Edition departs from being quartz-driven like the original. It made sense in 1979 when the Seiko Corporation was sticking it to the Swiss with its newer and burgeoning quartz technology. In today’s market, however, luxury is, rightly or wrongly, more associated with mechanical movements whereas quartz movements, again, rightly or wrongly, are associated with cheaper watches. So, while the Seiko Corporation remains very proud of its industry-leading quartz movements (as they should), this new Credor Locomotive Limited Edition is powered by a new automatic calibre exclusive to Credor: the CR01. This new movement is not groundbreaking from a specs perspective, offering a just below now-standard 45 hours of power reserve. Credor, which emphasizes aesthetic and ultra-thin whereas Grand Seiko also demands high precision, is not known for having highly regulated mechanical movements – so do not expect COSC-level precision either. The thinner calibre does, however, aid in having a watch that is just 8.9mm thick.

Credor Locomotive Limited Edition 6

I am known to be a bit of a Credor/Grand Seiko fanboy, which is why most of you are probably not surprised to hear I would love to own this watch. With its compact sizing I really enjoyed how it looked on my wrist and, not to be a hipster, but I kind of like wearing polarising watch designs as well. With so much homogenous design in the watch industry today, I welcome love-it-or-hate-it designs. If you love it, buy it, If you hate it, don’t. Ultimately what is on the table is a low-key Gérald Genta-designed watch, that is well-made and manufactured with an elevated level of finish, that, compared to other Genta superstars, is much lower in price. At US$12,000, it is certainly not nothing. With its lore, look, and build though, I feel it is a price that is entirely justified. Especially as a limited edition, and when you consider how much the vintage models are going for on the secondary market. Although, I am keen to see how the existence of this newer limited edition affects the pricing of the original in the coming months.

Credor Locomotive Limited Edition GCCR999 pricing and availability

 

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The Credor Locomotive 50th Anniversary Limited Edition will be available for purchase beginning in August 2024 (although you can inquire now) and is limited to 300 pcs. Price: US$12,000

Brand Credor
Model Locomotive Limited Edition
Reference GCCR999
Case Dimensions 38.8mm (D) x 8.9mm (T) x 41.7mm (LTL)
Case Material High-intensity titanium
Water Resistance 100m (screw-down crown)
Crystal Sapphire crystal
Dial Black
Strap High-intensity titanium bracelet w/ folding clasp
Movement In-house automatic CR01
Power Reserve 45 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability Limited to 300 pcs.
Price US$12,000