Browsing Seiko’s Japan site, I stumbled upon this beautiful Credor Node J (Ref. GTWE896). Although powered by a quartz movement (albeit a very good one) and possibly offered only as a JDM model, the new timepiece teaches the major Swiss-based watchmakers a lesson or two about creating a watch, which is both elegant and discrete.
As you may remember, the Japanese carmakers conquered the North American and European markets using an avalanche of reliable, compact, fuel-sipping, cars that were giving their local competitors a run for their money. However, as time passed and Honda, Toyota, and Nissan started to gradually move into higher price niches, their advantage became a liability since people expected their cars to be affordable, although modest in terms of features and interior quality. Nobody wanted to pay premium prices for a Toyota, even for a large one.
The problem was solved with the usual Japanese deceptive elegance: almost all major brands of Japanese origin have introduced at least one “premium” sub-brand, which is capable to compete even with such well-established monsters as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Cadillac.
Facing the same problems as the aforementioned carmakers, Seiko used the same approach to enter the niche of ultra-luxury timekeepers. Some time ago, they introduced a number of sub-brands, such as “Credor,” “King Seiko,” and “Grand Seiko” that were designed to fight back the onslaught of Swiss watch manufacturers.
Among the latest entries to the Credor line is this gorgeous Node J limited edition watch. Produced in a small lot of just 30 individually numbered pieces, the watch uses the European “pique” decorative technique with its nice-looking white butterfly shell dial inlaid with elements made of platinum and green gold: a rare alloy of gold (usually around 75 percent), silver (25 percent) and sometimes cadmium.
Together with a pair of rose gold dauphine hands, the dial not only looks highly decorative but is also very, um, Japanese; despite the technique being used was originally invented by the European artisans. Crafted from 18-karat rose gold, the angular body provides an impressive frame for the display. As usual, one can’t but notice the striking similarity between the case and the most famous Japanese edged weapon: the katana sword.
Unlike many contemporary watches of European origin, the new Credor Node J is deliberately compact. According to the official specifications, the watch is less than 31 millimeters in length and just over 18 millimeters in width. Thanks for the compact, magnetically shielded Caliber 5A70 quartz movement, the body is also thin measuring only 6.4 mm in height.
The only thing that looks horrible about the Node J is its price. On their website, the piece is offered at 840,000 JPY, which roughly converts into an impressive $10,700 USD. Well, the watch is a hand-made masterpiece, after all.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Credor Node J in Rose Gold (Ref. GTWE896) specification
Price: Around $10,700 at 2012 exchange rate
Movement: Quartz, Caliber 5A70, antimagnetic shielding, gaining or loosing +/- 15 seconds per month, Made in Japan
Power reserve: 24 months
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case: 18-karat rose gold
Dimensions: 30.70 mm x 18.10 mm
Case height: 6.40 mm
Dial: White butterfly shell
Hour markers: Diamonds
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Chocolate brown crocodile leather strap on 18-karat rose gold buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, curved, antireflective coating on the inner side