Avant garde design-oriented Swiss brand Rado, which last year captured the attention of Baselworld with its vintage-inspired Hyperchrome Captain Cook dive watch, is this year leaning again toward the historical in an expansion of its Hyperchrome Ultra Light series. This series, which was noted for having an incredibly light weight, first came to the market in 2016, and since then has expanded into a number of futuristic and minimalistic designs, though not until now in a vintage-oriented style.
This year’s release comprises two new models, limited to 500 examples each, inspired by 19th-century pocketwatch designs in earthy bronze and matte brown cases. Both of these watches are made with Rado’s unique ultra-light high-tech ceramic case construction, produced by a combination of silicon nitride and titanium nitride parts, and weigh in at just 56 grams with a 43-mm diameter. This material is noted by the brand to be half the weight of Rado’s standard high-tech ceramic, but without sacrificing any of the former’s properties, being both harder and more scratch-resistant.
The bronze edition uses a brown, sunburst ceramic dial, with bronze-printed Roman numerals for the hour markers; has simple bronze-colored hands, and arrives on a vintage-style leather strap. While the matte brown model also uses a brown sunburst dial, it comes accented instead with a printed “black gold” thin outer minute track and sandblasted hands of the same color. This watch comes mounted on a brown NATO-style strap. The first model makes a clear allusion to the Roman numerals commonly used on pocketwatch dials at the end of the 19th century, while the matte brown model may be referencing the “railroad” style pocketwatches known for their distinctive outer minute track. Each of two watches features a 3 o’clock date window with beveled edges.
Powering the Ultra Light watches is an similarly lightened movement, which is a Rado-modified and exclusive ETA A31.L02. Unique to this caliber are the black anodized aluminum bridges and plate, for which aluminum was chosen because of its lightness compared to the standard steel. The automatic movement has a 64-hour power reserve and 21 jewels, and uses a black oscillating rotor, which is visible through a sapphire caseback also produced with the ultra-light high-tech ceramic material.
Both new limited-edition pieces will be priced at $2,950, and will be available for purchase in September.