This article was originally published in the Design 2023 Issue of the WatchTime print magazine.
When Rado was still operating as Schlup & Co., the company decided to create a watch “that could outlast, outshine and outlive practically every other fine timepiece on the market.” With that goal in mind, the company’s engineers and designers had to explore the use of new materials for the case and the watch crystal. To build a watch that would be scratchproof, Rado eventually turned to an alloy of tungsten carbide called “Hardmetal.” On top of that shiny, highly resistant case, a sapphire crystal —almost as hard and durable as diamond — was added (hence the name DiaStar). On Nov. 28, 1961, Rado officially patented the use of said metal alloy for watch-case manufacturing and became the first company to combine such a case with a sapphire crystal. Unsurprisingly, the DiaStar was advertised as “a watch like no other watch.” Perhaps more importantly, the DiaStar became the blueprint for what Rado should become known for in the years to come.
The 38-mm 60-Year Anniversary Edition (Ref. R12163118) is framed by a radial-brushed Ceramos coiffe with polished angles and detailing set over a matching, monochrome stainless-steel case. Ceramos is a composite material with the hardness properties of ceramics and the resistance of a metal alloy. With approximately 90-percent titanium carbide content, the material is quite a bit lighter than its “hardmetal” predecessor but it carries the same scratch-resistant qualities, according to Rado. The special edition also features a sapphire crystal with hexagonal facets to mark six decades since the original watch. The case and dial are made in a monochromatic color scheme, whereas the hands and hour markers are discreetly colored thanks to the use of Super-LumiNova. Inside the 100-meter water-resistant case, the gold-plated R764 automatic movement offers 80 hours of power reserve when fully wound. This edition comes with a gray pouch with a woven stainless-steel mesh “Milanese” bracelet, as well as a mottled grey textile strap. List price is $1,950.
The DiaStar Orginal, on the other hand, comes with either a gray (Ref. R12160213), blue (Ref. R12160103) or green (Ref. R12160303) dial, all priced at $1,450. They are equipped with a parallel-stripe-faceted sapphire crystal and mounted on a polished and brushed stainlesssteel bracelet. Rado CEO Adrian Bosshard commented, “This iconic product is totally unique in both shape and design. The choice of the material for the case — Hardmetal before and now Ceramos in the new collection — makes the watch practically indestructible. It is truly a watch for a lifetime.”