Seiko Revives the Credor Locomotive Designed by Gerald Genta

The forgotten Genta.

After having designed the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (1972), IWC Ingenieur (1974), and Patek Philippe Nautilus (1976), Gerald Genta also penned the Seiko Credor Locomotive in 1978.

Now Seiko has revived the Credor Locomotive, preserving much of the original’s aesthetics but executing it in the brand’s proprietary “high-intensity” titanium and installing the new Credor CR01 automatic movement.

The 1978 sketch of the Locomotive

Initial thoughts

Probably the last of the 1970s integrated bracelet sports watches Genta designed, the Locomotive is typical of his work of the period. In fact, the design is arguably an amalgamation of his better-known creations. Though it brings to mind his other work, the Locomotive is distinctive and definitely polarising.

The Locomotive isn’t Genta’s best creation, but for some reason I like it. I’m familiar with the original and it has charm, despite being a little weird. I am sure the new limited edition will have far superior fit and finish, which will boost the intrinsic appeal.

At the same time, the retail price of US$12,000 is competitive, especially when set against the Swiss competition like the IWC Ingenieur.

Forward motion

Named locomotive in the hope that it would propel Seiko forward, the Locomotive was designed by Genta at the request of Reijiro Hattori, a grandson of Seiko’s founder and uncle of current Seiko Group chairman Shinji Hattori.

Genta’s original sketch for the Locomotive is dated 1978, and the watch was launched a year later as the reference KEH 018. As was fashionable at the time, the original Locomotive was slim and quartz.

The remake (left), and the original

The new Locomotive reproduces all of the key elements of the original, but with two major upgrades – a titanium case and automatic movement.

Like the original that was in steel, the remake is also water resistant to 100 m but presented in “high-intensity” titanium instead. Seiko’s proprietary titanium alloy has superior hardness compared to conventional titanium and can be finished similar to steel, allowing for the reproduction of the complex mix of brushed and polished surfaces of the original.

The build quality is also better, as would be expected five decades later. The “bolts” on the bezel of the original were decorative, but now they are functional and actually screw in. And the original had a stamped steel clasp, while the remake has a milled double-fold clasp.

The dial on the other hand, is modelled on Genta’s original sketch. So it has the double hour markers 12 o’clock that were missing in the original, and a radial pattern made top of about 1,600 lines according to Seiko.

Notably, the dial does without “Seiko”, reflecting the gradual process of repositioning Credor as a brand rather than a collection.

The Locomotive is powered by the CR01, a new addition to the Credor family. Featuring a 45-hour power reserve, the CR01 shares the architecture of the Seiko 6L35, a self-winding movement conceived to be thin enough for elegant watches.

Unlike the 6L35 that has a no-frills finish, the CR01 has been dressed up with a gilt finish, striping on the bridges and rotor, blued screws, and spiral graining on the barrel ratchet wheel.

Key facts and price

Seiko Credor Locomotive Limited Edition
Ref. GCCR999

Diameter: 38.8 mm
Height: 8.9 mm
Material: “High-intensity” titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: CR01
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Titanium bracelet

Limited edition: 300 pieces
Availability: Available at Credor Salons and retailers starting August 2024
Price: US$12,000, or 1.76 million Japanese yen (prices include local taxes)

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