It’s not Seiko Credor. It’s Credor Seiko. Or just plain Credor – in the same way it’s Lexus, not Toyota Lexus (even though Toyota owns Lexus). No matter how you say it, Seiko’s Credor sub-brand makes superb luxury watches. Hang on, isn’t that Grand Seiko’s gig? Yes and no . . .
Yes, in that both Credor and Grand Seiko manufacture high-end watches using Seiko’s best time-telling technology, premium materials, world-class craftsmanship and fanatical attention to detail. No, in that Credor’s luxury timepieces aren’t marketed in the U.S., where Grand Seiko has an expanding U.S. dealer network.
There’s a more profound difference between the two Seiko sub-brands. Credor is a bad guy in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Grand Seiko is a British term for an aristocrat who wears a kimono in private. JK. Credor is funky. Bold. Daring. Experimental. Grand Seiko is restrained. Conservative. Stately. Practical.
You could say Credor is to Grand Seiko is what Tudor is to Rolex: a more hip and happening brand. That mischaracterizes the relationship. Tudors cost less than Rolex. Seiko’s upmarket subs compete at the same price points. Imagine BMW owning both stuffy old Rolls Royce and banging Bentley. Which they did – until they sold Bentley to VW.
Seiko keeps Credor out of the U.S. to avoid rivalry and confusion. Besides, American consumers have never heard of Credor, whereas Grand Seiko has huge name recognition. The Seiko bit anyway. Which is both a blessing and a curse (as GS’ sub-Rolex prices indicate). In fact, Credor could make it here – if Seiko kept their name out of it. #aintgonnahappen
True horophiles don’t care about brand perceptions, or a logo that looks like a Saudi Ararbian three-ring circus tent. They care about product.
Between Credor and Grand Seiko, there’s nothing in it quality-wise. Style-wise, there’s more than a little aesthetic overlap. But there’s no doubt that Credor makes more “interesting” watches. When GS gets jiggy, the world keeps on turning. When Credor cuts loose, shit happens. And not always in the best of taste.
If you fancy owning a whacked-out Credor or one of their minimalist masterpieces, check out chrono24.com. (No commission on link.) You can also special order a box-fresh Credor at a JDM-plus-import tax price through one of Grand Seiko’s two American boutiques after plunking down a 50% deposit.
Is it worth it? As Miles Dalby advised Joel in Risky Business, sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and say WTF. Then again, there’s a lot of value in buying a watch that transcends fashion. Like the entire Grand Seiko line. Or the $40k Credor Wisdom II above. Ain’t capitalism grand?