The Crest of the Seiko "Mountain"
Known for its dedication to craft and timeless elegance, the Credor line is a subsidiary of Seiko, which is perhaps more well-known for the part they played in catalysing the Quartz Crisis of the ‘70s, as well as their typically affordable watches. Originating in 1974, the name "Credor" is derived from the French word "crête d’or", which translates to "crest of gold". This origin is further mirrored in the Credor logo, as their signature three peaks with accompanying stars are a stylised version of the Japanese word for mountain (山).
With this brand, Seiko created an entirely new persona - producing pieces that used precious metals and required the careful hand of craftsmen and experts to build. Made at Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio in Shiojiri, the workshop consulted with Philippe Dufour, one of the most talented independent watchmakers working today, to help establish the practices and techniques behind the creation of the pieces that now bear the Credor name. In the early days, to perfect their technique, the Credor watchmakers even used the same wood used by Philippe Dufour to bevel his movements, which they collected on a visit to Switzerland.
The Credor Eichi II was released in 2014 to mark the 40th anniversary of the brand. Fittingly, the name Eichi, or "wisdom", indicates the culmination of effort and artistry developed over years and in collaboration across national borders within a single watch. Only 20 pieces are manufactured each year, with a spot on the coveted waitlist being difficult to obtain.
This Credor Eichi II combines simplicity with excellent craftsmanship. At a glance, the watch clearly takes minimalism as its hallmark, with a pure white dial and delicately painted blue index markers. In keeping with their connection to Dufour, Yoshifisu Nakazawa, the master watchmaker of the Micro Artist Studio, has mentioned previously that the watch was also inspired by the Simplicity.
The hand-painted porcelain dial of the watch looks almost translucent, and although the methods used are similar to enamelling, out of all the materials typically used for watch dials, porcelain is one of the hardest to work with. Each dial is handmade, so no two watches will be exactly the same. This porcelain dial was made by a manufacturer in the Nagano Prefecture, and the applied glaze used allows for the pure white of the dial to shine through.
Additionally, each index marker is painted in-house by hand, a time-consuming process that requires the watchmakers to undergo at least three years of training under ceramics masters before they can work on the dials. The hands are steel, flame-blued by experts who are able to create the same shade of blue as the index markers.
The Eichi II is also encased in platinum, including its crown (typically, Swiss watchmakers use white-gold crowns for watches made in platinum). At 39mm in diameter, it is a modern watch that sits comfortably on the wrist of the wearer.
In contrast to the white and blue minimalism of the dial, the movement holds a small surprise in the form of a skeletonised bellflower motif, complete with a delicate stem and two leaves, which also reveal the inner workings of the piece. The bridges of the Eichi II are also made of rhodium-plated brass, which gives it a silvered look. The level of finishing is remarkable, with thoughtful details found throughout.
Although this Eichi II is powered by quartz, it also makes use of the calibre 7R14, a close cousin of the Spring Drive Grand Seiko 9R02 movement, which combines both mechanical and electronic principles for more accurate timekeeping. This watch is fitted with 41 jewels, a torque recovery system, and has a reserve power of 60 hours.
This Credor Eichi II comes with an outer and inner box, a Certificate of Guarantee indicating that the date of purchase was January 2019, as well as an additional Credor black leather strap. Tags indicating the price in Japanese yen are also included.