“Absolutely Subarashii!” Pardon me but it’s not everyday I get up close with the Credor…
Or should I say Credors, even. Yeah, you heard that right. As part of the opening (or reopening, perhaps?) of the Seiko Mid Valley Megamall boutique, Thong Sia Group, AWG Fine Watches and the Seiko Watch Corporation worked hand in hand to bring in not one but three Credor timepieces. However, before we really jump into the thick of things, let’s see why we’re here in the first place. So, the opening of the boutique in MV would make this the second in the Klang Valley after the first in Sunway Pyramid. Of course, to the Seiko faithful, they’ll know that this particular boutique has been operating for awhile now. Well, just think of it as a relaunch with the Grand Seiko brand incorporated into its core architecture.
As expected, the occasion was the perfect opportunity to showcase Seiko’s finest from the home brand, to Grand Seiko and as mentioned, Credor. There was even a roadshow at the Centre Court of the mall that ran from August 8 to 11. No worries if you missed it though, as this is just the beginning for Seiko – even with the Credor line. Yes, the event also marked the official introduction of the Credor name to the Malaysian market.
“So, I can technically walk into Seiko and get a Credor?”
Well, yes. It’s as simple as that although you better be able to chalk up the dough. The
cheapest most affordable Credor on display was the Credor Spring Drive Eichi II (ref no. GBLT998J) in 18k rose gold at RM170,000. I know, right? A complete bargain next to its platinum-cased twin, the Credor Spring Drive Eichi II (ref no. GBLT999J). That one goes for RM220,000. It’s expensive, yes, but can you actually wear a car or a house? Nope, didn’t think so.
Both watches feature the same movement, though. Inside the 39 mm case beats the Caliber 7R14. The Spring Drive, 41-jeweled caliber is a manually-wound movement with 60 hours of power reserve. The quoted accuracy is a mind-boggling +/-1 second per day (+/-15 seconds per month). Also, a power reserve gauge is to be found on the other (better?) side of the case and the watch has a water resistance of ARE-YOU-MAD-TRYING-TO-GET-THIS-WORK-OF-ART-WET?!
Fine. It’s resistant up to 30 metres.
Now, if you thought those Credors were insane…
“YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT COMES NEXT!”
Introducing the Credor Spring Drive Sonnerie (ref no. GBLQ998J). This piece of haute horlogerie is priced at… RM715,000. Nope, not a typo. This one watch costs more than even some heavyweight luxury cars and that is NOT an exaggeration. Don’t believe me, click here to see how much the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is priced at. So what exactly do you get for close to three quarters of a million ringgit? For starters, a 43 mm case made of 18k rose gold and no officially-quoted water resistance. Yes, if you’re planning to shower with your Credors, the Eichi II models are better “value.”
Within the Sonnerie is the Caliber 7R06. The 88-jeweled Spring Drive movement features manual-winding in the 12 o’clock direction to power the watch while winding it towards the 6 o’clock direction juices up the sonnerie assembly. Power reserve is rated at 48 hours with a claimed accuracy of +/-15 seconds per month. There are three modes, if you will, with the Sonnerie. A “Sonnerie” mode will have the chimes sound on the hour, every hour to indicate the hour. Following on from that, the “Original” mode will have the chimes come on every three hours at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock, indicating the passing of said hours. This time, the chimes will ring in three successive tones. Finally, there’s “Silent” mode which is pretty much self-explanatory, really.
“What about the Grand Seikos? They’re more affordable, right?”
HAHAHA! Well, ish. If you’re talking about the SBGD201G and SBGD202G, then the answer is no. The former carries a price tag of RM250,000 while the latter goes for RM185,000. Both are powered by the manually-wound, 53-jeweled Spring Drive Caliber 9R01 which boasts a power reserve of approximately 8 days (192 hours) and is accurate to +/-10 seconds a month. Water resistance? A decent 100 m, at last! A power reserve gauge is present on the other side of the dial. The gauge itself sits on the movement bridge that, when looked at closely, features an outline that resembles the silhouette of Mount Fuji.
Actually, if you happen to look at these two close enough, you’ll realise that they are quite similar from the movement within to the actual overall aesthetics. The case size spans 43 mm and both come with a crocodile leather strap with a triple-fold push clasp buckle. So why the massive price difference, then? The answer, my friend, lies in the case (and strap buckle) material. The costlier version has a case made out of platinum (Pt 950) while the other has one in 18k rose gold.
Now, I’ll be frank. As is the case with the majority of Grand Seiko models, these two are rather straightforward in appearance – some might even accuse it of being boring. However, GS watches require a lot more time before they truly begin to shine and more often than not, the real delights are hidden away within the watch. The main highlight from the twins you see here is definitely the Caliber 9R01. An 80-hour power reserve is no joke and Grand Seiko has managed to pull this off with the inclusion of three barrels into the assembly of the 9R01 instead of the usual one barrel.
“C’mon, man! Is there anything on display that us mortals can afford?”
Well, it is Seiko we’re talking about after all, so yeah. Let’s stray away from the GS and Credors for now and focus on the Seikos instead, then. There’s plenty to choose from within the new boutique with Prospex models aimed squarely at the sportier end of the spectrum to the Presage line for the more subdued clientele. Yours truly even had the chance to get up close and personal with the new Presage SRPD37J1 “Mockingbird.” It’s priced at RM1,432 after discount so if you’re ever in the market for an affordable, eye-catching dress watch, give this one a test drive.
Elsewhere, there’s also the not-so-affordable Seiko Prospex Mobile Suit Gundam Limited Edition that celebrates the 40th anniversary of the debut of one of the most recognizable Japanese television series. Both watches (ref no. SLA029J1 for the green and SLA031J1 for the red) are priced at RM15,900 and will be limited to 1,000 pieces for each variant worldwide.
Based on the Emperor Tuna, both watches sport a 52.4 mm titanium case with a ceramic protector and is powered by the Caliber 8L35. While more conventional in nature compared to the Spring Drive movements above, the automatic 8L35 is a serious bit of kit in its own right. Try 26 jewels, a 50-hour power reserve, a beat rate of 4 Hz and an anti-magnetic resistance rating of 4,800 A/m. Oh, and the water resistance is quoted at an overkill of 1000 m.
“Who’s that guy with the lab coat in the photos?”
He’s none other than Mr. Ikukiyo Komatsu, a Japanese government-certified Modern Master Craftsman. Now that’s a title I’d rather have bestowed upon me instead of the other *cough*TanSriDatoDatukDr*cough* social designations. To say that Mr. Komatsu is a big deal is an understatement, at the very least. He’s spent pretty much his whole life (37 years to be precise) at Seiko and has enjoyed a first place finish at the 1985 Japan Technical Skills Olympic (watch repairing segment) and a gold medal at the 1985 International Technical Skills Olympics in the same segment.
Today, Mr. Komatsu is responsible for training the next generation of watchmakers back in his home country of Japan. At the event itself, Mr. Komatsu showed us what he was made of when he assembled the Spring Drive Caliber 9R65 in front of a live audience under 15 minutes, give or take. I can’t even change my straps without scratching the lugs within that time window.
At the end of it all, it’s fantastic to see Seiko expand at such a rate in Malaysia. I know for a fact that there are plenty of Seiko fans residing here and the presence of another boutique is sure to keep demand boiling over nicely. Additionally, the introduction of the Credor brand and even more Grand Seiko models would help change the perspective that Seiko only produces entry-level timepieces. I, for one, can’t wait to see more and more Seiko pieces (both affordable and sell-my-kidney expensive) hit the display cases in Malaysia. The Seiko boutique in Mid Valley Megamall is located on the Ground Floor at Lot G-042.