The Credor Locomotive is a fascinating design from the late 1970s. Today, the brand has brought it back to life. Let’s take a first look at this rather special timepiece and find out more. Anything Gérald Genta once touched (or, rather, designed) may as well have turned to gold. We’ve seen many brands leverage his designs from the ’70s and ’80s in modern timepieces and reintroductions. Most recently, IWC released an Ingenieur based on a series of designs Genta provided for the brand in the 1970s. Today, Credor offers its revamped take on a Genta-designed watch, the Credor Locomotive.

Credor chose to reintroduce the Locomotive to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary. However, Credor initially introduced the Locomotive back in 1979, nearly five years after its birth. It is immediately clear that this is a Genta-designed watch from the era when integrated bracelets were all the rage. The bezel screws, the overall shape, and the angles all amount to a clear example of that decade of design.

Credor Locomotive profile view

The Pinnacle of Gold

Credor was founded in 1974 as a specialist arm of Seiko, specializing in making watches from rare and precious metals. The name Credor comes from the French Créte d’Or, meaning “pinnacle of gold.” Credor is a bit of an enigma as it has produced all sorts of strange, rare, and wonderful watches. What differentiates Credor from Grand Seiko is a totally different design language. One of my favorites from the brand is more on the tool-watch end (even though Credor specializes in dressier watches). That is the Credor Phoenix, which my colleague Thor covered in this feature.

Now, apparently, Genta himself chose the name “Locomotive” for the original design. It came from the notion of a watch design being a driving force for a brand, pushing it into the future by embracing bold design.

The Credor Locomotive 

The bracelet on this Locomotive is not as integrated as that on the Ingenieur (or, for that matter, Patek’s Nautilus or Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak). At the time of its introduction, the Locomotive was a stainless steel sports watch. Credor’s new version ups the ante on the sports vibes while also throwing in luxury elements.

The first way was by making the watch in titanium with a screw-down crown and a 100m water resistance rating. The second was by utilizing Credor’s automatic CR01 movement. This movement is a three-hander with a date complication and sits in a case measuring 38.8mm across and a mere 8.9mm thick. The original Locomotive was a quartz-powered timepiece, but the CR01 movement beats at a frequency of 28,800vph and offers 45 hours in power reserve. You can see an image of the original Credor Locomotive as well as Genta’s original sketch in the gallery above.

Credor Locomotive dial close-up

An enchanting dial 

The clasp is a single-deployant one with a push-button release. And though I’m not a big fan of these systems, they’re tried and proven and make sense given the hybrid sports-luxury nature of this watch. Unusually, the bracelet connects to the case via a single connecting element rather than what you might expect on a true “integrated bracelet” design.

The dial sits within a hexagonal bezel with hexagonal screws holding the bezel in place. Polished sides offset a beautiful brushing on the top of the bezel. Credor says the new watch’s dial uses 1600 radial lines, which, at least to my eyes, creates the impression of a calm lake disturbed by a dropped pebble. The role of this particular design in Gérald Genta’s career signifies somewhat of a crossroads moment. By 1979, Genta had designed the watches he would be most famous for today (though the Nautilus, Royal Oak, Ingenieur, and Polerouter don’t come anywhere close to representing the breadth of his creative work).

Gérald Genta

The Genta connection

The 1979 Credor Locomotive was a departure from some key design elements seen in the three integrated-bracelet designs mentioned above. But it also introduced some of the more unusual, angular shapes and designs that we would come to see more of later. In comments released to the press, Evelyne Genta, the late Gérald Genta’s wife, revealed some of the details as to how the original Credor Locomotive came to be:

“My husband designed this watch following a personal request from Mr. Reijiro Hattori, a member of Seiko’s founding family. Mr. Hattori greatly admired Gérald’s work and invited my husband to Japan on many occasions in the 1970s to give inspirational talks to the Seiko team. Gérald considered it an honor to work for a Japanese manufacturer, not only for himself and Swiss brands.

“As such, Seiko and the Hattori family always held a very special place in his heart, and he thoroughly enjoyed working and designing for Seiko. It was, after all, Mr. Reijiro Hattori who had suggested that he create his own brand. When my husband designed and manufactured his first watches, which were six perpetual calendars, he showed them to Mr. Hattori… Mr. Hattori was so impressed that he said that he would like to exhibit them at Wako. After the exhibition, Mr. Hattori suggested to my husband that he start his own brand. My husband had never thought of creating his own brand, and it was Mr. Hattori who gave him the confidence to do so. Gérald put his name on these six watches, which were then sold to six Japanese collectors.”

Closing thoughts

There is more to this story, and I look forward to seeing my colleagues eventually do a hands-on of this very intriguing watch. The 2024 Credor Locomotive is limited to just 300 numbered pieces, and Credor says it will cost €14,000. The watch won’t go on sale until August and will be available exclusively through Grand Seiko’s boutique at the Place Vendôme in Paris.

In the meantime, it’s good to know that Evelyne Genta feels the Credor release matches her late husband’s vision closely. In her words, “My husband would have loved the new watch because it was made with great respect to his original sketch, capturing all the subtleties he had included in its design. I think the new Locomotive is the perfect evolution of the original as it contains so much of my husband’s creative DNA.”

I would love to read your thoughts on this design! Let me know in the comments.

Watch specifications

Black with 1,600 radial lines and applied luminous indices
Case Material
High-intensity titanium
Case Dimensions
38.8mm (diameter) × 41.7mm (length) × 8.9mm (thickness)
Sapphire with underside antireflective coating
Case Back
High-intensity titanium
Credor CR01: automatic winding, 28,800vph frequency, 45-hour power reserve, 26 jewels, accurate to +15/-10 seconds per day
Water Resistance
10 bar (100 meters)
High-intensity titanium bracelet with folding clasp and push-button release
Time (hours, minutes, seconds) and date
Special Note(s)
Limited to 300 numbered pieces