Seiko Introduces the Credor Eichi II with a Blue Porcelain Dial

Brilliant blue paired with the same gorgeous movement.

While next year has yet to start, Seiko has begun the progressive release of the special editions marking the 140th anniversary of its founding in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori. Unquestionably one of the most beautiful of the anniversary, despite being only the second commemorative watch announced so far, is the Credor Eichi II with a dial in ruri blue (ref. GBLT997).

The third variant of the Eichi II to date after the original and the rose gold version – or fourth variant if you count the edition for the Wako department store that’s nearly identical to the original – the new model features a porcelain dial glazed in a dark blue that’s reminiscent of lapis lazuli. Requiring two years of development to perfect according to Seiko, the blue glaze is applied in several layers that are individually fired in an oven to create the deep, nuanced colour.

Initial thoughts

The Eichi II is a brilliantly restrained watch that has a gently designed dial and gorgeously finished movement. Even though Seiko does make more complicated and expensive watches, the Eichi II is arguably the flagship watch of the brand’s top-of-the-line offerings, a halo product of sorts.

While the new Eichi II in blue is no doubt beautiful, and perhaps more striking and unusual than the original, it feels like there are too many variants of a special watch. Even though the tangible qualities of the watch remain intact, its status as the ultimate time-only Seiko is being chipped away by the Eichi II iterations, as well as the Grand Seiko models powered by a related calibre.

That said, the new Eichi II costs half of the price of the recent Grand Seiko Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary, making this a good deal in comparison.

Cobalt blue

The deep blue of the dial is ruri, short for ruri-iro, often know as lapis-lazuli blue. Historically the colour referred to a porcelain glaze, ruri-yu, that achieves its colour with cobalt pigments.

Here the dial is porcelain, as it is on the original Eichi II, but covered in several layers of blue glaze, with each layer requiring its own trip to the oven. The finish produces a rich blue surface that is actually rendered in multiple tones, with obvious lightening towards the edges of the dial, and also the centre where there’s an opening for the hands.

While the porcelain dial base is produced by a specialist supplier, the blue glaze is executed in house at the artisanal Micro Artist Studio, as are the hand-painted hour markers and logo.

The rest of the watch is identical to the original Eichi II. The case is 39 mm wide and 10.3 mm, with the 7R14 movement inside visible through the display back.

Produced at Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio, the 7R14 combines both modern technology and traditional decoration. It’s a Spring Drive movement – made up of a mainspring and mechanical going train coupled with an electronically-controlled oscillator – but finished entirely by hand to an exemplary standard. All of the bevelling, for instance, is done by hand the traditional way, and given its mirrored finish with a stick of soft wood from the Gentian tree.

The 7R14

Polishing the bevels


Key facts and price

Seiko Credor Eichi II with blue dial
Ref. GBLT997

Diameter: 39 mm
Height: 10.3 mm
Material: Platinum
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: 7R14
Features: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: Spring Drive
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Crocodile with folding clasp

Availability: At select Seiko boutiques and retailers starting January 2021
Price: 6 million Japanese yen; or about US$57,000

For more, visit Seikowatches.com.


Correction November 13, 2020: The blue-dial Eichi II is the fourth variant of the model, and not third as stated in an earlier version of the article.

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Hermès Introduces the Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpétuel in Titanium

Elegantly quirky and more affordable.

Originally introduced in pricier precious metals – in gold and also platinum – the Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpétuel has been given a makeover that renders it more affordable, and arguably more striking.

And like last year’s time-only Slim d’Hermès, the key feature is a titanium case. The new perpetual calendar features a twin-metal case made up of a titanium middle along with the bezel, crown, and pushers in either rose gold or platinum.

That, combined with the two-tone grey dial, gives it a modern look that goes well with the Slim d’Hermès font that was designed specifically for the model.

The Slim d’Hermes font was created by graphic designer Philippe Apeloig to go with the eponymous watch

Initial thoughts

Hermes’ house style is always elegant, often quirky, and usually distinctive. Already the Slim d’Hermes design is slim and wears well, and probably slightly better in this iteration since the use of titanium would reduce reduce its weight.

A simple design characterised by clean lines, the Slim d’Hermes is recognisable in all its iterations thanks to its smart details, like the angled lugs and custom typography.

Though the layout of the perpetual calendar is fairly conventional – everything is arranged into four sub-dials – it manages to be slightly unusual thanks to the seemingly random armament of numerals for the second time zone at six, a minor, offbeat detail that is in keeping with the brand’s style.

The titanium-and-platinum version

Value wise the watch also performs well. Its price of about US$33,000 puts it in the same ballpark as comparable watches by mainstream watchmakers, but like all watches made by leather goods or fashion houses – many of which are actually very, very good – this is hindered by the fact that Hermes is not a watchmaker. But as this shows, Hermes can make good watches.

Twin time zone perpetual

Case material and colours aside, the new perpetual calendar is identical to the standard model. Inside is an H1950 automatic produced by movement maker Vaucher – a sister company of Parmigiani in which Hermes owns a quarter – combined with a perpetual calendar module produced by Agenhor, the Geneva complications specialist.

It’s a complete perpetual calendar, with both moon phase and leap year indicator, plus a second time zone display that’s set via the pusher at four.

Both versions have a aventurine glass moon phase disc with a mother-of-pearl moon


Key facts and price

Hermès Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpétuel
(Titanium with platinum bezel, with crown and pusher in white gold)
(Titanium with bezel, crown, and pusher in rose gold)

Diameter: 39.5 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Titanium and gold or platinum
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: H1950 with Agenhor perpetual calendar module
Functions: Hours, minutes, second time zone, and perpetual calendar
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 42 hours

Strap: Alligator with pin buckle

Availability: At Hermes boutiques
Price: 
30,050 Swiss francs; or €26,000

For more, visit Hermes.com.


 

Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.

Hermès Introduces the Slim d’Hermès GMT

An artful take on a pragmatic complication.

Hermès Introduces the Slim d'Hermès Perpetual Calendar in Platinum

The perpetual with second time zone now in platinum and metallic blue.

Hermès Introduces the Slim d’Hermès l’Heure Impatiente

Equipped with a countdown function that ends with a single chime.

Welcome to the new Watches By SJX.

Subscribe to get the latest articles and reviews delivered to your inbox.