The Rado HyperChrome Chronograph Match Point Limited Edition watch hands-on
Since I was a young boy - and as an amateur tennis player - I have been following tennis for a long time. I lived the era of Becker and Edberg, Sampras and Courier and in many of their matches the Rado logo would be present on the timer at the end of the court. We are talking about matches that happened over twenty years ago, but this is the proof that the link between Rado and the world tennis is long-lasting and, probably, it also represents the longest partnership existing between the Swiss brand and the world of sports (Rado is also the official timekeeper of many official tournaments).
In those years the concept of resistance was entrusted to the Ceramica collection, even before the HyperChrome collection was created – a collection that changed the balance within the Rado collections. If I were to compare that era with the modern one, I would say that not only has tennis radically changed radically, but the image of the brand has also transformed itself, because it has gradually reduced its focus on non-roundly-shaped watches to move towards collections with a round case that, whether you like it or not, gather a broader customer base than a non-roundly-shaped case.
The HyperChrome is the original watch of tennis
Not only is Rado the official timekeeper of several ATP tournaments, but the brand has also started several programs aimed at supporting tennis. The Rado Young Star Program is one of these programs and its aim is to support a team of young ambassadors from all over the world; Jason Wu, Jared Donaldson, Carina Witthöft join well-known tennis players like Agnieszka Radwanska (the brand ambassador).
For years Andy Murray was also the face of Rado in men's tennis. Ambassadors change; new ones would arrive, but the world of tennis is now inextricably linked to the HyperChrome and the chronograph version, so much so that Rado traditionally launches a limited edition of the HyperChrome Chronograph every year. If we exclude the name that does not help to immediately discern between the two versions of the HyperChrome, the difference becomes quite interesting when you look at the dial, because the Rado HyperChrome Match Point Limited Edition 2018 features a completely new dial.
The new features of the Rado HyperChrome Match Point Limited Edition 2018
The case is the HyperChrome Chronograph’s traditional one; it is made of plasma ceramics and steel according to the colour scheme that is naturally associated with the HyperChrome Chronograph. Although I consider versions like the HyperChrome Bronze a beautiful novelty, I think that this mixture of different shades of grey, materials and finishes is what suits a HyperChrome Chrono best.
What changes on the dial if compared to last year's edition is the vertical satin finish that replaces the soleil finish and goes hand in hand with the two-counter-display with a "reverse panda" pattern and Arabic numerals. In the sun of a tennis court this dial lights up almost like the SuperLuminova® material would glow in the dark;
an outcome that we witnessed on the central court of the Tennis Club Napoli that was founded in 1905 and that is one of the oldest and most prestigious tennis clubs in Italy. Although I have always preferred the HyperChrome with baton-style indexes, this version marks an important step if compared to the 2017 version.
Kudos to the designers for being able to transform a chrono with three V-shaped counters and with circular intersecting registers into a vaguely bi-compax chrono in a modern attire.
The treat is on the dial
The dial has become less crowded, simpler, more readable and visually lighter. This formal cleaning operation allows the user to better read all the writings; on the left side, from 6:30 to 11:30, are the words "Time between 2 points" and on the opposite side, from 15 to 25, the ten seconds that would pass by between the end of a point and the beginning of the next are clearly highlighted in red.
The blue vertical satin finish makes the whole set quite intriguing. The case, made up of four different materials: Steel, Plasma High Tech Ceramic, Titanium, Ceramos™ is significant in size, but it hasn’t varied; 45mm in diameter to accommodate the ETA caliber with its Rado-customized rotor. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful Rado HyperChrome Match Point Limited Edition since Rado firstly launched the series dedicated to the world of tennis. In my personal opinion, this timepiece is only surpassed by the HyperChrome Chronograph Skeleton that was presented this year and that we will discuss at a later stage. The retail price remains unchanged too and totals € 4,650.
For further information please visit the Rado official website.
(Photo credit: Sky Sport, Rado and Tennis Club Napoli, Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®