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Rado is a Swiss firm with a passion for both watchmaking and materials engineering. This company is part of Swatch Group. In a Rado watch, scratch resistance is of the utmost importance, and this generally influences case shapes and designs. This is because contours and edges are strategically planned for the purpose of deflecting scratches and impacts.
Often, special machining techniques must be used in order to create watch parts from the ultra-hard ceramics in these watches. Keep reading to learn about the history of this watchmaker with a flair for exquisite hardness in watch components.
Otherwise, skip ahead with the links below. Although there were many of these, the most popular were Rado and Exacto. The latter of these, however, was difficult to copyright in Spanish-speaking countries. Its first successful watch in this era was the Green Horse, a variant of the Exacto Oceanmaster.
This was a water resistant watch sold especially to Asian countries, where it performed well. Out of these, the Green Horse and 18K gold Golden Horse that came afterwards are the best-known today. Although steel is harder than gold and silver, it is soft and ductile next to what Rado had in store. The case of the original DiaStar, still available today, is made from golden or silver-colored tungsten carbide, also known as hardmetal.
Together with a sapphire crystal, this case protects an automatic ETA mechanical movement with a date display. Sapphire watch crystals had been around since the s, however, no one had yet embraced them like Rado.
Tungsten carbide is usually used for drill bits and other components that must endure high temperatures and pressures without deforming. It rates the same as sapphire, for example, on the Mohs hardness scale. Because of its extreme hardness, shaping hardmetal into intricate shapes is a difficult proposition. Because of the cutting techniques used, the shape is almost gem-like, similar to a cabochon.
Because diamonds are the hardest natural material, it stands to reason that Rado would pay them tribute. Besides setting watches with diamonds, Rado has, naturally, used diamonds specifically for their hardness.
On the V10K, nanocrystalline diamond coats the case during its vapor deposition process, resulting in a hardness of 10, Vickers. The watch itself has an ultra-minimalist aesthetic; to illustrate, three rectangular planes define the case, which lacks even a crown.
Although watches with ceramic bezels and dials are common, few brands offer fully-ceramic cases and watchbands.
Because ceramics start with malleable clay, ceramic cases can take on a wider range of shapes than carbide cases. Rado offers watches in two different types of ceramics besides traditional ceramics: The plasma ceramic is similar to the company normal high-tech ceramic, but a plasma treatment melts the outer surface.
This creates an exterior that is smooth and shiny, due to a surface with fewer microscopic pores than untreated ceramic. Metal ceramics, such as Ceramos, include a metal alloy in the ceramic mixture.
This gives a bright and unmistakably metallic appearance to the watches, whether with a matte surface or smooth polish.
Because they resist denting and scratches more readily than metals, hard materials are prone to cracking rather than denting. This is similar to the tradeoff between, for example, acrylic and sapphire crystals. Sapphire does not need regular refinishing, but can shatter during a fall. Ceramics are also hypoallergenic, in contrast to, for example, rose gold, stainless steel, and other nickel-containing metal alloys.
The Integral used ceramic in both its rectangular case and linked bracelet. Stainless steel appeared in both of these, in order to support the ceramic components. The outward-facing black ceramic panels of the bracelet links afforded high scratch resistance, while steel elements added appealing contrast. In , the first Ceramica arrived on the market, sporting a case of the same width as its bracelet. Though the Ceramica has a minimal, modern aesthetic, its shape recalls the rectangular watches popular before World War I.
Like many Rado watches, most Ceramica watches use quartz movements , however, an automatic mechanical variant came out in The True series, with sleek monobloc case and linked ceramic bracelet, offers both minimal simplicity and eye-catchingly unique visual design.
Also, a limited edition True Automatic Open Heart a 0. Besides these, Rado works with fashion and interior designers to come up with unique ideas for new True models. For example, Swiss interior design studio Big Game collaborated with the brand to create the True Phospho.
This is an open heart watch, however, one with an industrial take on the concept.
Indoors, the dial is totally transparent, giving a clear view of the movement below, but becomes near-opaque black in sunlight. The True Thinline certainly lives up to its name with ultra-thin fully ceramic style.
With a modern-looking round monobloc monochrome case, the True Thinline fits a 1mm-thick quartz movement into a 4. This collection also comes with automatic movements; here, a 3. This automatic movement displays itself prominently in the limited edition True Thinline Skeleton, but this model is exceedingly rare. For example, the DiaMaster is a classy dress watch with a round case, straight lugs and narrow bezel. The Power Reserve indicates how much remains of its hour reserve in 8 increments, therefore each increment represents 10 hours.
Finally, for more high quality brand histories, guides, and reviews on watches, visit the links below:. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.
Learn how your comment data is processed. The Art Of Scratch Resistance. Rado watches Reviewed by Paul Anthony on June 6th.
Metal Vs Ceramic Rado Watches. Use the links below to jump head or scroll down to keep reading: Surface Treatments The Rado Way: The V10K Besides setting watches with diamonds, Rado has, naturally, used diamonds specifically for their hardness. Modern Design, Ceramic Durability Although watches with ceramic bezels and dials are common, few brands offer fully-ceramic cases and watchbands.
Ceramic Without Bounds True: Ceramic Without Bounds In , the first Ceramica arrived on the market, sporting a case of the same width as its bracelet. Fresh Concepts, Tough Exterior The True series, with sleek monobloc case and linked ceramic bracelet, offers both minimal simplicity and eye-catchingly unique visual design.
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