The Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde watch hands-on
The time when Rado was synonymous with squared, rectangular shapes with integrated bracelets and a glossy black color is now gone by. It was during the 80s and the 90s, when the Rado Ceramica was popular everywhere; it was almost a challenge to the world of watch-making that a modern Swiss watch-making brand had just started, a brand that was fighting its way up against style and technical conventions. That (won) challenge is now just a memory, today, a Rado Ceramica is almost a collector's item that I am madly in love with, simply because it is so original and ahead of its time, a design object that should be showcased in a museum of modern art and whose value on the second hand market is quite interesting considering that the chrono version, its most famous version, has reached really important quotations for a quartz watch already.
Those past times have opened the door to the present and have suggested Rado to explore new technologies and, above all, new shapes that do not replace the original ones, because the Rado Ceramica timepieces were born again thanks to Grcic's design, but they obviously show their newly acquired power in collections like the Hyerchrome. In the end, if you want to broaden your customer portfolio, the circular shape still remains the shape best linked to time measurement, and Rado, inevitably, had to "give in" or simply "investigate" new shapes (at the end of the 60s those shapes formed the brand's DNA). The manufacturer never denied its roots - those linked to an extraordinary laboratory of Materials Science that knows no rest and no limits when it comes to researching and discovering a new material with better anti-scratch characteristics or properties better than those offered by other brands and competitors.
If you are looking for a more sporty Rado, the answer is this new real hero; the Hyperchrome collection, which, however, can't be really defined as 'classic'. Whether in its time only or chronograph version, the Hyperchrome is a sporty watch; I have seen many of them and I have written often about them in the last two years, but this is not exactly the Rado watch that I would choose for an evening out or, simply, for any other occasion that wouldn't involve time-keeping or if I were a big fan of classic three-hands-timepieces with a round case. The answer that Rado gave to this type of request, or rather Rado's proposal in this sector, is the Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde, and the name itself is already a declaration of intent, because the statement "Grande Seconde" is a sentence that rhymes with the historical heritage of watch-making. Is this a nonsense or rather Rado's new challenge? Neither of them; the Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde positions itself very clearly.
If we imagine Rado's world as if it were a whole set separated from all the rest as, in my humble opinion, it actually is, due to the singularity of its characteristics, a Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde represents the extreme of this whole set that is tangential with the one that encompasses the classic three-hands-watches. Rado, however, features two areas, where it is different from its similar timepieces; it is not really a classic three-hands-watch with small seconds - a choice that would have placed the Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde ahead of the many already existing classic three-hands-timepieces just in terms of material.
Rado isn't a trendsetter only when it comes to new materials and it showed this when it decided to add in a decentralized hours and minutes dial connected to a smaller one for the continuous seconds. It was a simple but original idea, because the two counters are built on a very modern base with a soleil finish that makes this timepiece look very similar to a steel watch; the main difference lies in the case that is made of plasma ceramic and has a finish vaguely similar to that of steel, actually closer to that of titanium, which was chosen for the see-through case-back.
Too bad for the autonomy, because a watch like the Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde would deserve a power reserve of more than 42 hours given by the ETA 2899 caliber, in a competitive environment, where high usage watches like these are often able to provide at least three days of power reserve. It is a lightweight and hypoallergenic watch and timepieces like the Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde also have an undeniable advantage; the 43mm diameter case will maintain its look for a long time, precisely because of the characteristics of the ceramic material that is anti-scratch.
This will translate into reduced servicing costs, because the case will hardly need a good polishing. This is one of the reasons why I always suggest friends to own a watch with a ceramic case, because ceramic is perfect for a watch that can be used every single day and, in the case of the Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde, even in formal occasions, as its design is expressly reassuring. The Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde is available in three versions with different dials; blue, anthracite, black or champagne to start off, but the dial / index combinations are many more. Retailing at €2,950 the Rado Diamaster Grande Seconde is an alternative choice, if you are an avid fan of the Legnau brand or early adopters but with more than one good reason; if the usual three-hands-timepiece made of steel has bored you and you want to opt for something seemingly similar but completely different, this watch is perfect for you.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®