If it’s the rugged tool watch charm of the Captain Cook or the historically energised dimensions of the Golden Horse, Rado is probably best remembered in recent years for the watches inspired by the archives of the brand. But there’s a part of the Rado family that watch enthusiasts might be less familiar with, a part that leaves the vintage design cues at the door and instead celebrates space-age materials with a contemporary flair. The Rado True Square collection hails from this lineage within the family. Ceramic cases that appear to be borderline liquid in their appearance, integrated bracelets and curious dials are what you’ll find here. Not a beads-of-rice bracelet in sight.
As we take a closer look at the Rado True Square collection, we’ll be focusing on two references that encapsulate the breadth of what the collection has to offer, despite how similar the specs might read on paper – the True Square Automatic Diamonds and the True Square Open Heart. Siblings in name and body, but watches that present two very different faces to the world.
First focusing on the Rado True Square Open Heart, and an immediate impression is made by the skeletonised dial. While some openworked dials can appear garish, as though you are looking at something that wasn’t meant to be exposed, the True Square Open Heart dial has been sculpted to celebrate the architecture of the movement, rather than simply offering an immodest peek at an oscillating balance spring.
To create real estate for the minute track, Rado logo and hand-stack, the dial has been skeletonised, with black bridges offering an antidote of order to the mechanical chaos of the movement below. The black bridges have also been thoughtfully arranged to run in from each hour marker to the centre of the dial, emphasising each hour marker and making the time easier to read as a result. The corners of each bridge have been carefully faceted at a 45° angle, showing the warmly toned metal that the dial is made from.
Immediately beneath the dial is the automatic caliber C07, based on the famous Swatch Group workhorse movement, the ETA 2824-2. The caliber C07 has been adapted to have a longer power reserve, now running for a healthy 80 hours thanks to an improved mainspring that is visible under the dial bridge at the 5 o’clock position. In pride of place at 12 o’clock is the most animated part of the movement, the balance wheel, energised by the balance spring that ticks at 21,600 vph. The movement is not only visible from the dial side of the watch, but also through the sapphire crystal caseback that allows you to see all the way through the watch.
The Rado True Square Open Heart features a 38mm square ceramic case, the black surface of which has been polished almost to a mirror finish. The bracelet integrated seamlessly into the case, and is also ceramic, with a steel double-folding clasp to secure it. The integration of the case and bracelet gives the impression of them being a single feature of the watch, but are somehow separate from the dial, as though just a vehicle for a portable lesson in mechanical watchmaking. The exact opposite is true when considering the Rado True Square Automatic Diamonds.
As mentioned, despite featuring identical monobloc ceramic case and bracelet, the True Square Automatic Diamonds leaves a vastly different impression on the wrist to the True Square Open Heart. Instead of the intellectually stimulating skeletonised dial, we have an inky black abyss in its place.
Rather than being visually independent of the case and bracelet, it looks to be one and the same in a coherent exploration of negative space. Against the black dial, the gold hands and printed gold dial text stand out crisp in contrast. At the 3 o’clock position you’ll find a date aperture that shows the white text on the black date wheel below.
The almost literal stars of the show are the four diamonds that sit in their gold housings at the compass points of the dial. Against such a deep black setting, they can’t help but remind of stars in the night sky, guiding us around the dial as the stars of the sky guide travellers of old. Far from being ostentatious, they are subtly luxurious reminders of the well-made watch strapped to your wrist.
All things considered, the Rado True Square collection is an interesting part of the Rado family, offering something markedly different from the vintage-inspired designs that have caught many eyes in recent years. Boldly contemporary and unashamedly modern, they highlight the Rado expertise in using ceramics in watchmaking.
Rado True Square collection price and availability:
The Rado True Square Automatic Open Heart is AUD$3675 and is currently available from Rado boutiques and authorised retailers. For more details, visit Rado right here.
The Rado True Square Automatic Diamonds is AUD$3350 and is currently available from Rado boutiques and authorised retailers. For more details, visit Rado right here.
Made in partnership with Rado. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.