Rado Hyperchrome Ultra Light - Less is more
The industry of watch-making owes big time to Rado and especially to the Swatch Group that were the lucky enough to already own innovative material-making-workshops when the new fashion of ceramic-made watches boomed and with it the desire to wear anything that would be different from metal-made timepieces and that would be lighter and more resistant too. Crafting a ceramic-made timepiece is no big deal for Rado but while all their competitors are currently offering timepieces featuring cases made using this technology, the brand from Legnau is currently creating new watches using materials that the other brands will probably start utilizing in ten years and that will retail at a price that won’t be comparable to Rado’s.
If you were asked what collection is the most representative and the most successful one when it comes to sales volume, you could easily reply that it is the “Hyperchrome” collection. You don’t need to physically have access to the collection’s sales figures to support your answer because this collection’s sales performance has been extremely successful since its debut if you just take a look at its development and revamping stages. Rado have decided to choose yet again one of their Hyperchrome pieces to create one of the lightest watches in history and, probably, the lightest automatic timepiece in the world available today.
The Rado Hyperchrome Ultra Light only weighs 56 grams thanks to its silicon nitride ceramic-made case with hardened and sanded grade 5 titanium inserts. Rado guarantee that this timepiece’s resistance equals their high-tech ceramic-made timepieces’ but at half of their weight. I definitely believe Rado’s claim and I would love to witness their crafting process but I am pretty sure that the brand is extremely jealous when it comes to disclose details about their manufacturing technologies.
If compared to Rado’s models from the past – where ceramic material was utilized to convey a message of durability and full scratch-resistance – the latest technologies deployed by the manufacturer aim at shifting the user’s attention on to other values, namely style and lightness. The main objective of the Rado Hyperchrome Ultra Light is to transform Rado into a brand that is capable of crafting outstanding, enduring and particularly resistant timepieces that are also real style icons.
The matted grey colour, the dial designed as if it were a Zen-inspired garden and the NATO strap all represent a very first for the brand. The dial sports a minimalistic style but that doesn’t mean that it is simple too; a cusp located at 6 o’clock travels along the vertical sector of the dial and it indicates the final geometry of the Zen-inspired garden with its printed “Automatic” writing designed in a bright black colour.
Another interesting detail is the window of the date, it is the most refined and elaborate window I have ever seen on a three-hands tiempiece. I am not sure this effect is given by the material used to craft the dial – not too much information available about this feature on Rado’s press release – or maybe by Rado’s will to spend more time working on details but it is quite obvious that this timepiece’s designer put lots of effort and passion in their job. If I were to use a car-related comparison to describe the Rado Hyperchrome Ultra Light, I would say that the manufacturer applied the weight-reducing “gram strategy” that is supported by the ETA A31.L01 movement too, whose bridges are made of black anodized aluminum.
This timepiece is a pure and technological three-hands, a guarantee of style and understatement, extremely light in weight and a milestone like the 1962 Diastar 1 and the 1982 ceramic-made Integral - the first timepiece ever crafted entirely in ceramic in Rado’s history -. The Rado Hyperchrome Ultra Light will be released in 500 pieces and will retail at a price of 3100 Euro from next Autumn on. From what I can see from the press’ reaction when this timepiece was unveiled in Basel and thanks to the technologies used to craft it and its limited-series pedigree, this watch will soon become a must-have-item for all the fans of this genre and, most likely, because of its scarce availability, it will become a collector’ piece in no time.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting by Entropik)
Gaetano C @Horbiter