In 2016, Rado relaunched its iconic Ceramica line, following a complete design refresh by highly respected industrial designer Konstantin Grcic. The geometric watches were certainly appealing from an aesthetic standpoint, however, they were powered by quartz movements and consequently didn’t really make it onto the Monochrome radar. This year, Rado unveiled three new additions to the Ceramica family and we are happy to report that, for the first time, they are all powered by automatic movements.
The Rado Ceramica
For many watch lovers, Rado will always be considered first and foremost a fashionable design brand. No one expects the company to come out with super complicated watches or unveil grounding breaking technical advancements (like the Zenith DEFY LAB). And yet, Rado is still a pioneer in its own right. When the Ceramica collection was unveiled in 1990, it was a big deal. This was one of the first examples of this hi-tech material being used in large scale production in the luxury watch industry, and helped changed the perception that ceramic was only suitable for industrial fields such as medicine and aeronautics.
Nowadays, of course, the use of ceramic is widespread in the watch industry, with many brands incorporating it into their watch cases – such as the Rolex Daytona with Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel. High-tech ceramic is hypoallergenic and adapts readily to the wearer’s body temperature, making it gentle and comfortable against the skin, plus it’s possible to produce it in a broad array of colours. Following the positive reception of last year’s debut models in matt ceramic (it won the 2017 Red Dot Product Design award), it makes sense that Rado should continue to reinvigorate the Ceramica line, which is so closely associated with the identity of the brand.
Three New Radio Ceramica Automatic Models
As I mentioned previously, three new models are joining the collection this year, one in matt black hi-tech ceramic, and two in grey hi-tech ceramic – one polished and one matt. The design follows the same geometric aesthetic with a slightly curved silhouette that Konstantin Grcic introduced as part of the revamp in 2016.
All three versions are offered in rectangular-shaped, hi-tech ceramic monobloc cases, measuring 30.0mm x 41.7mm x 12.3mm (WxLxH), complete with titanium case-backs. For the matte black version (Ref. 561.0808.3.015), the titanium case-back is black PVD coated and the dial is vertical brushed black, with contrasting white printed indexes coated with Super-LumiNova®. The hands meanwhile are matt grey with white lume. Just above six o’clock is a date window with the date disc matching the colour of the dial. The smooth-looking bracelet is also in matt black hi-tech ceramic and closes with a brushed titanium 3-fold buckle.
What’s more interesting for me, however, are the two grey versions. This is the first time this colour has been used in the Ceramica collection, and it certainly highlights the minimalist appeal of these watches. The polished version (Ref. 561.0850.3.011), is paired with a lacquered polished grey dial with printed indexes and hands in natural colour SuperLumiNova®. The watch almost has vintage feel to it, although I’m not sure if that was the intention. This time though the date wheel just above 6 o’clock doesn’t match the colour of the dial, which makes it a bit more legible but slightly less attractive, in my opinion at least.
The matt grey version (Ref. Ref. 01.561.0846.3.010) meanwhile, offers a vertical brushed rhodium coloured dial with black recessed dots that function as indexes. For some reason this model is a limited edition of 701 pieces, and has the words “LIMITED EDITION ‘X’ OUT OF 701” engraved on the titanium case back. Again, the date is in contrasting black which I don’t like but it does match with the indexes. Unlike the other two models, however, there is no lume on the indexes or the hands, so you will struggle to read the time in low-light conditions.
If you looked closely, you would have no doubt already noticed that all three models feature Rado’s moving anchor symbol just beneath 12 o’clock, which is indicative of an automatic movement. Of course, if you still weren’t sure, the word ‘automatic’ is printed on the dial just above the date. This is the first time watches in the Ceramica line have been equipped with an automatic movement, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction, even if the movement is just a basic ETA 2671, an automatic calibre with three hands and date display.
Both the matt black and polished grey versions retail for EUR 2,410, whilst the limited edition matt grey version is EUR 2,860. It’s not really clear why the matt grey version is more expensive but I guess that’s the premium you pay for an LE watch.
Admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea, these new Rado Ceramica models will suit those who favour a minimalist aesthetic but still want to be on the cutting edge of fashion. More details on www.rado.com.
Technical Specifications – Rado Ceramica 2017
- Case: 30.0mm x 41.7mm x 12.3mm – hi-tech ceramic in matt black, matt grey or polished grey – sapphire crystal on front – titanium caseback – 50m water resistance
- Movement: ETA 2671 – automatic – 4Hz frequency –Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
- Bracelet: Ceramic with titanium 3-fold buckle.
- Reference: 561.0808.3.015 / 561.0850.3.011 / 01.561.0846.3.010 (limited edition of 701 pieces)
- Price: EUR 2,410 / EUR 2,410 / EUR 2,860