Rado's story is fused with nearly three decades of innovation in high-tech ceramic. This challenging and rewarding material has been central to the brand's approach to watchmaking, with its smooth stylish surfaces that can be metallic or matt and crafted in an ever-expanding array of colours. Rado's watches are as much objects of art, glamour and craftsmanship as they are tellers of time.

LIST: Looking back at Rado’s heritage highlights

Rado isn’t a brand that you typically think of when you think about ‘heritage’. On the one hand this makes perfect sense, as the brand is best known for their decidedly modern materials and avant-garde designs. But on the other, Rado has been around for a while (since 1917), and has a host of great old styles to draw on. And, in recent years, Rado has been more active in doing just that, and we’ve picked our favourites. Naturally, the Captain Cook looms large, in both its faithful — near facsimile grade — models, as well as the larger, more modern interpretations. And then there’s the super chunky, super funky HyperChrome 1616, a really cool take on a cushion case. If these watches prove anything it’s that Rado has what it takes to make a heritage release that holds up with the best of them, and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.

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VIDEO: What becomes of the open hearted – the Rado True Open Heart

Really, at the heart of the appeal of a mechanical watch is the ticking, whirring escapement that sets the pace. That and the assemblage of wheel and bridges that powers and supports it. So it’s apt then that this Rado cuts to the core quickly: the True Open Heart lives up to its name, exposing its metal innards enough to satisfy the curiosity of the wearer, while still living up to Rado’s strong, and distinct sense of design, with its slick plasma toned ceramic, and a black dial that maintains legibility despite its pared-back nature. Rado True Open Heart Australian Pricing Rado True Open Heart, $2900

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VIDEO: From ceramic to the Captain, 5 of 2018’s best Rado releases

Rado had a great year of releases in 2018, with a diverse mix of watches that played to their traditional high-tech material strengths, as well as to some of their traditional designs. And while ceramic naturally played an important part, it was used in some surprising ways — like when it was mixed with bronze to create a very cool HyperChrome, and mixed with other metals to create the new alloy Ceramos. And then there were the brand’s tributes to their historic Captain Cook models, two similar but different takes on a great old internal bezel diver. And while the small version is cool, my heart really sings for the 45mm version.

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LIST: Looking back at Rado’s heritage highlights

Rado isn’t a brand that you typically think of when you think about ‘heritage’. On the one hand this makes perfect sense, as the brand is best known for their decidedly modern materials and avant-garde designs. But on the other, Rado has been around for a while (since 1917), and has a host of great old styles to draw on. And, in recent years, Rado has been more active in doing just that, and we’ve picked our favourites. Naturally, the Captain Cook looms large, in both its faithful — near facsimile grade — models, as well as the larger, more modern interpretations. And then there’s the super chunky, super funky HyperChrome 1616, a really cool take on a cushion case. If these watches prove anything it’s that Rado has what it takes to make a heritage release that holds up with the best of them, and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.

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VIDEO: The big-hearted Rado HyperChrome XL Open Heart 

Many of Rado’s case designs lean towards what we can, in air quotes, refer to as ‘designer’. Sleek, modernist offerings that evoke a high-concept design language. The HyperChrome has some elements of these, in the lines of bracelet in particular, but the overall shape is one of their more traditional — a simple, sturdy round watch. However, if that’s the shape, the details and execution here are something else. Firstly, ceramic, and lots of it. And then there’s the open heart, offering a clear view into the inner, automatic workings of this bold watch. And finally, the brown ceramic number adds some diamonds to the equation. So, really, this isn’t your typical round watch. Sure, there’s a lot going on, but it’s all kinds of awesome. Rado HyperChrome XL Open Heart Australian pricing Rado HyperChrome XL Open Heart, $3850, or $6175 with diamonds.

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VIDEO: It’s not ceramic, it’s not metal, it’s the Rado DiaMaster Thinline Ceramos

When it comes to materials, it’s hard to beat Rado. The brand is a master of innovative materials. They pioneered ultra hard metals and ceramics, and continue to push the realms of the possible. The latest is Ceramos, an alloy of ceramic and metal that offers the best of both worlds — the lightness and scratch-resistance of ceramic, paired with the finish and lustre of metal. Here they’ve chosen to deploy Ceramos on the relatively conservative DiaMaster Thinline, a classic two-hander with a date. So, if you like your tradition with a healthy dose of technical, check out the Rado DiaMaster Thinline Ceramos. Rado DiaMaster Thinline Ceramos Australian pricing Rado DiaMaster Thinline Ceramos, $3025.

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VIDEO: Timeless style in a 21st century body – the Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde

Rado’s DiaMaster Petite Seconde is a great contender for a go-to daily wearer, as it offers a pretty good taste of both worlds. The style is restrained without being boring — there are heritage touches there, like the leaf-shaped hands and small seconds, but it’s also pleasingly up to date in terms of fine design details and current colour palettes. Where Rado really stands out, though, is with the strength of the case. And here I mean that literally, as the case is ceramic, and pretty much scratch-proof. The movement, as with most of Rado’s modern movements, is solid, too, with a silicon spiral and 80 hours of power reserve. All told, the DiaMaster Petite Seconde is a solid-looking and performing piece that offers very solid value. Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde Australian pricing Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde, $3450

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