May the revival of the 1979 Gerald Genta-designed Credor Locomotive be the fulfillment, the end, and indeed the culmination of the Genta-craze in watchmaking? Who knows? What we know for certain is that Credor is stylishly late — by a good couple of years — to ride the tidal wave of resuscitated Gerald Genta watch designs, which, coincidentally, could also render this odd Japanese-Swiss collaboration the powerful final nail in the coffin of lazily conveniently revived watches of old.

Maybe it’s just me, but not even my appreciation for Credor could stop the unpleasant shiver that runs down my body whenever I have to be greeted by another 1:1 revived Genta design. And this isn’t solely Credor’s fault, but rather the dozens of heritage-revival-anniversary-tradition watches that have come before it. At least it is not stupendously expensive, but more on that in a moment.

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Credor’s press release discusses this truly legendary watch designer, once again, with words that we have read dozens, if not a hundred times in recent years, stuck into official presentations of new-old (or just old) watch designs. Beyond much of that, we have a more interesting quote from his wife, Mrs. Evelyne Genta, who states that “[he] always connected with Asia and its cultures. His love for Japanese culture in particular came from the desire to achieve excellence, the attention to detail, and the great value placed upon craftsmanship. He was honored to work for Seiko, and the Credor Locomotive became one of his most important creations. I am sure he would be delighted to know of its rebirth.”

The original Credor Locomotive, left, and the 2024 revival, right.

The original Credor Locomotive watch was launched in 1979 — 7 years after the Royal Oak, and a couple after the Nautilus, Ingenieur SL, and others, but not without their beveled, angular, exposed screw head-fitted bezel. Different for the Locomotive was the absence of an integrated lug structure, in its place were some flying lugs that attached a flat, free-flowing end-link reminiscent of vintage jewelry and dress watches. The Locomotive is a whole lot more filigree and is easier on the eyes, as well as the wrist, as a result.

Gérald Charles Genta (1 May 1931 – 17 August 2011), designer of the original Credor Locomotive and countless other eye-catching timepieces.

Credor claims, “For the new creation, every detail has been re-examined and reproduced based on Gerald Genta’s original sketch. At the same time, Genta’s bold and unmistakable design codes are expressed through modern watchmaking capabilities and expertise, enhancing the depth and beauty of the new creation.” The dreaded i-word cannot be missing from such a launch, and there it is: “The Locomotive’s iconic hexagonal bezel with six screws has been preserved. Only now, the screws have been adapted to be functional rather than merely decorative for the sake of long-term use as well as easy maintenance.”

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What is arguably positive about modern reinterpretations of old designs from three to five, or more, decades ago is that the way they compare with their originals shows off just how far manufacturing technologies have come in that time. The new Credor Locomotive watch promises to be beautifully made from the Seiko group’s “high-intensity titanium,” which Credor shares little about, saying “high-intensity titanium [is] an alloy 30% lighter and more scratch resistant than stainless steel, maximizing durability and achieving long-lasting beauty while enhancing comfort on the wrist.” Thankfully, there is plenty of feedback, reviews, and other information found on the alloy as it has been used in select Seiko and more so Grand Seiko watches.

The Credor Locomotive measures 38.8mm wide and a slender 8.9mm thick — an impressive achievement essential to the overall wearability and elegance of this Genta design. Water resistance is nevertheless 10 bar (100m equivalent), making this a proper luxury steel sports watch, even if its lug and end-link design is clearly more delicate and filigree than the integrated style found on the majority of other watches in this segment. But, again, it is that much more elegant for it.

A set of faceted and lumed hour and minute hands pass over twelve faceted and lumed hour markers, reminiscent of some other popular ’70s Genta designs that had more of a chance to etch themselves into the public consciousness. For better or worse, Genta often relied on tried and tested elements and themes in his designs — why these were approved and chosen by his client brands we will perhaps never know. That said, the designer’s creativity, boldness, and desire to turn watch design upside down and inside out cannot be called into question — it is just that he more often got to experiment with truly novel approaches under his namesake brand and less so with the heavy hitters of the industry.

Inside the Credor Locomotive watch you will find a new automatic movement called CR01, exclusive to Credor. It is a 4Hz, 45-hour, three-hand movement with a date display in this instance at 3 o’clock. The brand consistently praises the CR01 as “less than 9mm thick” but we are pretty certain that is true for the entire watch head — an uncased thickness of 9mm is a lot even for a complicated chronograph movement, let alone a rather basic three-hander with an average-at-best power reserve of 45 hours. Adding Grand Seiko’s 9SA5 high-beat, twin-barrel, 80-hour, self-winding, dual impulse escapement-equipped caliber perhaps would have been a better fit for Credor, the ultra-high-end brand of Seiko Time Corp.

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the revived Credor Locomotive watch is its $12,000 USD price tag (€14,000 EUR). At that, it costs roughly the same as the recently revived and also Genta-designed IWC Ingenieur, and, perhaps more importantly, offers a new-found entry point into the world of Credor. Sadly, much of what has made Credor a watch collector favorite, such as its Philippe Dufour-trained, simply outstanding finishing, is entirely unattainable at this price point.

Whether the Genta heritage, Credor name, a titanium exterior, and a (hidden) new movement with mediocre specs is the right mix at this point in time, we will see, but it feels like Credor could have aimed higher. The good news is that if you simply couldn’t find what you were looking for in all the other Genta and Genta-esque watches that have come in recent years, now you can try it from Credor. Learn more at the brand’s website.

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