Rado is known to most watch enthusiasts for both its creative takes on classic watch designs and its innovative use of materials. At the start of this year, we had a chance to see the brand flex its muscles in the former area, unveiling new green-dial models to its popular Captain Cook line; in the summer, we saw the latter at work, in the ceramic-cased, skeletonized True Thinline Anima. In the new True Square Designer models, released this fall, Rado deftly brings together uncommon creativity with novel materials.
To produce the trio of collaborative models, Rado partnered with the Italian duo FormaFantasma, British designer Tej Chauhan, and Japanese team YOY. Each timepiece uses Rado’s classical True Square model as a stage for its design partner’s unique take on the watch’s design. Separately or together, they showcase the versatility of the Rado canvas when placed in creative hands.
True Square Formafantasma
The True Square Formafantasma is co-designed, as its name indicates, by FormaFantasma, an Italian design studio led by the duo of Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin. The model has a 38-mm x 10.4-mm square ceramic case produced in a light gray color and featuring a small, signed crown on its side. The lugs of the watch stem smoothly from the case, integrating the 50-meter water-resistant square case to a three-link bracelet.
The dial is essentially a further expansion of the case, with only a small circle at its center revealing the timekeeping features of the watch. This center circle is protected via a sapphire crystal, while the obscured hours, minutes, and seconds hands within its border differ from each other in their relative thickness. Powering the movement is an unnamed mechanical caliber capable of an 80-hour power reserve, according to the brand.
The design of the True Square Formafantasm is rather understated, with its mysterious dial as a centerpiece. What’s interesting about the design is the choice to obscure the view of the dial with the expanded ceramic case — which in comparison to the typical “mystery” dial, which often uses floating hands, seems to be a novel and cost-saving alternative. The usefulness of this type of timekeeping arrangement is fairly limited, but the watch certainly makes a fashionable statement.
True Square Tej Chauhan
Turning from the understated Formafantasm, we now turn to the most vibrant of the three models, the True Square Tej Chauhan. This model is produced in collaboration with Tej Chauhan, a British industrial designer, and is characterized by its pops of color, interesting alternating textures, and contrasting shapes.
Like the previous model, the True Square Tej Chauhan has a square 38-mm case, this one in a burnt yellow-colored ceramic which contrasts with its black dial and signed metallic crown. The bracelet again uses the integrated construction, though this time it’s in matching-colored leather rather than of the three-link ceramic type.
Underneath the square sapphire crystal is the matte black dial, which opts for an outer and elongated minute ring accented at each hour. The period from 9 to 12 o’clock is highlighted in blue, the brand says, to “refer to the time of day when things start moving – in the morning at the office or in the evening on a night out.” Deeper on the dial, concentric rings steadily decrease in size toward the unique set of hands at their center. At the 3 o’clock position we find another pop of color in an orange-accented date window, itself parallel to a subtle Rado logo at 9 o’clock. Another unspecified automatic caliber beats inside the watch’s gray PVD-coated caseback, offering an 80-hour power reserve.
True Square Undigital
Rounding out the True Square trio is the True Square Undigital, designed in partnership with Tokyo-based design studio YOY, led by Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto. This model is less mysterious than the Formafantasma, and less complex than the Tej Chauhan, instead placing its modern and minimalist style in full view.
The ceramic case, in the same dimensions as the other two models, opts for matte black and integrates into a three-link bracelet and crown in the style of the the Formafantasma. Underneath the sapphire crystal is a matching matte black dial with three features taking center stage. The first and most prominent of these is the digital-inspired analog hour and minute hands, taking direct influence from digital timekeeping mechanisms. Both hands are the same length, though the hour hand is half-white/half-black while the minute hand is in full-white. The other two are the tone-on-tone Rado logo below the center of the dial and an even smaller “Swiss Made” script below it in the same style. The True Square Undigital uses presumably the same 80-hour power-reserve automatic movement as its siblings.
Price and Availability
All three watches are available now, both through authorized Rado dealers and via Rado directly. The True Square Formafantasma sells for $2,550, the True Square Tej Chauhan for $1,800, and the True Square Undigital, for $2,350. As of now, Rado has not indicated that any of the models will be produced as limited editions; however, since they are being released specially for 2020, it is very likely the brand will eventually stop producing the models to make way for 2021’s designer collaborative releases.
To learn more and inquire for purchase, you can visit Rado’s website, here.