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.

VIDEO: Old meets new in the Rado HyperChrome Bronze

A few years ago we were prepared to write off the use of bronze in watchmaking as something of a fad, limited to a few cult models. Well. We were wrong. The ancient alloy has boomed in popularity, thanks to its warm tones and, more importantly, the fact that it develops a unique patina over time. And while bronze cases look set to stick around, so far it’s a case material that’s found overwhelmingly in the heritage reissue aisle of the watch supermarket — which makes sense as it’s all about the old world charm. But, really, I think that’s a bit of a short-sighted choice. And it looks like someone at Rado agrees, as the HyperChrome Bronze offers a new path forward for the metal. It’s been selectively integrated into the sides of the case, while the bulk of the watch remains touch, and distinctly non-patina prone ceramic. It might be a meeting of new and old materials, but the thinking behind it is decidedly now.

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HANDS-ON: The Rado HyperChrome Skeleton Automatic Chronograph

At Baselworld this year we saw Rado doubling down with two new limited-edition versions of their everyday and sporty HyperChrome chronograph. The first version, the HyperChrome Bronze, takes its form inside a case crafted from a combination of high-tech ceramic and bronze. While the second opens up its ceramic case, foregoing a traditional dial and skeletonizing the movement. Earlier this week I went hands-on with the patina-friendly bronze version, and today it’s time to take a peek at (and through) the stripped back dial of the aptly named HyperChrome Skeleton. Vital statistics Consisting of an inner monobloc ceramic case with stainless-steel side inserts, and chronograph pushers and crown, the 45mm case is water resistant to 100 metres. Steel sides are polished, while the ceramic components are fired with a black pigment inside a high-tech oven at 1450°C, creating the super hard and lightweight case that is then extensively sandblasted to a matt finish – except for the ceramic bezel, which is polished and engraved with a tachymeter scale. Sapphire crystal on the front and back gives a view through to the openworked ETA 2894-2 chronograph movement inside. With its plate and bridges cut away into a latticework, and exposing its… Read More

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HANDS-ON: The Rado HyperChrome Bronze – ceramic meets the bronze age

Rado is synonymous with a pioneering use of high-tech ceramic in watches. Attractively sleek, the material is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and virtually scratchproof, making it perfectly suited to watchmaking. However, not so much for those of us who like our watches with a peppering of patina, and enjoy a little wabi-sabi action every now and again. That’s where the brand new Rado HyperChrome Bronze comes in. Combining one of the most modern materials in watchmaking with the world’s oldest alloy. It’s an intriguing mix. Vital statistics This limited edition of Rado’s everyday HyperChrome chronograph retains its scratch-resistant ceramic, monobloc case. Only now it’s finished in a matt black, and then paired with side inserts that are constructed from a quick-to-patina bronze alloy – including the chronograph pushers and crown. Measuring 45mm across and 13mm thick, the case is water resistant to 100 metres, and features a polished black ceramic bezel printed with a tachymeter scale. While a curved sapphire crystal on the front gives view to the vertically brushed black dial, with rose gold applied indices and hands, and a three-register layout that shows the running seconds at three, chronograph minutes at nine, chronograph hours at six, and a discreet colour-matched… Read More

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VIDEO: Old meets new in the Rado HyperChrome Bronze

A few years ago we were prepared to write off the use of bronze in watchmaking as something of a fad, limited to a few cult models. Well. We were wrong. The ancient alloy has boomed in popularity, thanks to its warm tones and, more importantly, the fact that it develops a unique patina over time. And while bronze cases look set to stick around, so far it’s a case material that’s found overwhelmingly in the heritage reissue aisle of the watch supermarket — which makes sense as it’s all about the old world charm. But, really, I think that’s a bit of a short-sighted choice. And it looks like someone at Rado agrees, as the HyperChrome Bronze offers a new path forward for the metal. It’s been selectively integrated into the sides of the case, while the bulk of the watch remains touch, and distinctly non-patina prone ceramic. It might be a meeting of new and old materials, but the thinking behind it is decidedly now.

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VIDEO: Shape and sculpture – the Rado Ceramica

When Cameron told us about the Rado Ceramica a little while ago, we knew we wanted to get a close look at this squared-off ceramic number. And when we did spend some time with it on our wrists and in front of our lenses, something became increasingly apparent. This is as much a sculpture as it is a watch – I noticed I was spending more time looking at the flex of the bracelet and the gentle curve at the end of the case than looking at the time. And while some might see this as an issue from a functionalism point of view, I prefer to see it more as a triumph of watch-as-design-object. And besides, reading the time was simplicity itself, especially as my inner snob could rest easy knowing this Ceramica is a fully-fledged automatic. Rado Ceramica Australian pricing Rado Ceramica, matte-black ceramic, automatic, $3450

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VIDEO: Rado’s Coupole Classic is an everyday hero

One of the great paradoxes of the Swiss watch industry is that, broadly speaking, it is locked into a cycle that demands shiny new watch releases (often referred to as novelties) on a yearly basis. Pretty much without exception, these are all watches that are often intended to last a generation or three. What this means is that many watch brands continually offer new case materials, dial colours or combinations of complications to tempt us to change our wristwear. It’s a strong-willed watch lover indeed who can resist this siren call, but really, the latest is not always the greatest. Sometimes it’s a better play to go for timeless, and stylish. Which is where Rado’s Coupole Classic comes in; it is a sensibly sized dress watch with an aesthetic that neatly marries Swiss tradition with the chic industrial design Rado is often associated with. As a result the Coupole Classic is a solid automatic option for everyday duties. It’s simple, but with enough detail in the waffle-style dial, blued hands and power reserve to keep it interesting on the wrist. Rado Coupole Classic Australian pricing Rado Coupole Classic, steel on leather, $2225

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VIDEO: Old meets new in the Rado HyperChrome 1616 

When we think Rado, we tend not to think chunky, ’70s-inspired dive watch. We’re much more likely to lean towards chic ceramic minimalism, or perhaps this year’s surprise hit, the Captain Cook. Which is why the HyperChrome 1616 is such a standout, though the impressive 46mm case helps too. Of course, Rado are a brand with a high-tech rep to protect, so don’t expect them to use anything as simple as steel for the case material. Instead they’ve crafted two takes on the theme – one in black ceramic, the other in hardened titanium. The ceramic version is the more modern of the two, lightweight and ultra-hard, thanks to the case, painstakingly crafted from a mix of black ceramic feedstock and polymer binder that’s then injection moulded and sintered at about 1450 degrees celsius. It is then finally given the mix of brushed and polished finishes on the 1616 case. The hardened titanium version is no less impressive (and far more retro in appearance). It has been treated so that it’s four times harder than steel. Add to these hi-tech cases the fact that you get a modified ETA that’s good for 80 hours, and the competitive pricing, and there’s a lot to… Read More

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