The Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde Automatic COSC and the Rado New DiaMaster
Hi-Tech plasma ceramic is undoubtedly one of the most interesting patents of modern watchmaking, and it is one of those technologies that best combine the characteristics of a ceramic case (and its superior scratch resistance) with the (opaque) sheen of metal.
In its gray version, it approaches the gleam of steel and the tones of titanium, preserving the hypoallergenic properties, the lightness and the athermicity of ceramic, which make it a pleasant material to wear on all occasions, especially in summer.
They are all advantages that, combined with the single-piece construction of the case (a construction that increases its shock-resistance), have made it a pillar of the DiaMaster and HyperChrome collections, as well as a perfect material even for fine watchmaking: the Bathyscaphe Gray Plasma has drained this technology, to make it one of the most successful Blancpain diver's watches ever.
High Tech Plasma Ceramics and the DiaMaster
Plasma ceramics and the DiaMaster collection are an almost perfect match. More than in the HyperChrome collection, where it also gives way to other materials, in the DiaMaster the single-piece case is not mixed with any other material, except for the titanium case-back and the folding clasp.
As I said nearly a year ago, in an article dedicated to the DiaMaster Grande Seconde, it is the perfect collection to represent this material, because it enhances, especially in the colour gray, the most popular, the characteristics of a material close to steel in terms of sensory perception making it, coupled with classic dials, more reassuring for a certain type of clientele, including those who are intrigued by Rado but never bought one.
From the Grande Seconde to the Petite Seconde
The title indicates how much Rado loves to play with the classic watchmaking standards, and how it uses the DiaMaster collection as the ideal communication bridge between its philosophy and the more traditional one.
The Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde COSC collection confirms my feeling, because each watch is certified as a Chronometer and the words "Officially Certified Chronometer" are in the foreground, inserted within the recessed register of the small continuous seconds.
At a time when chronometers were simply measuring instruments, before they became objects for enthusiasts, the adjustment to the second was essential, and the Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde COSC is a wise reminder of those origins.
The case of the Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde COSC is the typical DiaMaster for men, wide but curved at the sides, and 12.3mm thick; but do not let yourself be fooled by the dimensions, because the glossy gray color makes it look like a 41mm diameter three-hands watch, and the lightness of the Plasma ceramics slims it down further. Rado has also developed a clever extension system for the folding buckle that allows you to easily close it around the wrist, without pinching yourself.
Together with the back cover, a titanium ring with a sapphire crystal in the middle, which perfectly matches the case, the inner part of the deployant clasp is the only section made of steel. Those who work with different materials and composites of various nature, know how difficult it is to couple such two different materials, but Rado has proved once again to having achieved an exceptional level of execution.
Chronometer certificate and 80 hours of power reserve
As I have already written in other articles, the Swatch Group is currently using all its technical capability, and the process of standardization of movements in progress in ETA, together with their unstoppable technological development, has meant that the brands are enjoying a general increase in performance and finishes, as never seen before.
The automatic caliber within the Petite Seconde COSC thus combines the COSC certification with the 80-hour power reserve (and a silicon hair-spring), a plus that strangely (and inexplicably) Rado does not promote on its website, yet having more than three days of charge, is at present an exclusive feature of the Group's brands, in their respective segments.
The high range New DiaMaster 2018
Rado has added a superb new flagship version to the DiaMaster 2018 collection, equipped with small seconds, and a dial of offset hours and minutes, but ideally linked by an opening on the eight-shaped dial. The full black dial has in fact an opening in its centre, in sapphire crystal, on whose upper part the hour and the minute markers are applied, while the scale of the small seconds is, in serigraphy, applied at the bottom. The gearings of the two measurements are covered by a tiny bridge, that is screwed to the movement's bridge that is Côtes de Genéve decorated.
The design work is incredible, one has the impression of getting lost in the depth of the watch, while the black reminds of cool Rado's full black dials from the nineties.
The flaw is that the time is difficult to read, especially in semi-darkness and in the dark, because the hands are so small that it was probably not possible to insert even one point of SuperLuminova®. And it's a pity because this new DiaMaster is a beautiful exercise in style indeed.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Peter Tung and Simona Bertogliatti)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®