Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light Limited Edition 2018
The return of the Ultra Light
Do you remember the first Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light? In 2016 Rado launched an ultra-light version of the HyperChrome which is still, to this day, the lightest mechanical Rado, because it stops the scale's needle at 56 grams. It is also the most minimalist HyperChrome: the brand's designers have reproduced a miniature version of a Zen garden, a terminology that, as I have discovered, is improperly used in the West to describe a "karesansui" garden, in which nature is dry, and the geometry is essential, but regular.
The purity of the first HyperChrome Ultra Light impressed enthusiasts and critics (even myself), and it earned itself the Australian Good Design Award, as well as debuting a new type of ultra-light ceramic. In times when Rado takes pleasure in complicating the HyperChrome, our article on the Skeleton dates from only a few days ago, ...
...it is right not to lose sight of its authentic nature, made of a pure, regular aesthetics, worthy of an object of design rather a simple watch, as it has accustomed us on many occasions, whether we are talking about True collections, interpreted by internationally renowned artists, or dedicated for example to nature's elements. The HyperChrome Ultra Light is, to all effects, a milestone for the brand, as well as a heritage to be preserved and perpetuated.
To promote this line of ultra-light products, Rado has launched two new limited editions (500 pieces each) that do not boast the same minimalism, extreme but immortal, of the first Limited Edition, but that are closer to the standards of the brand's current stylistic tendency. This trend has discretely evolved during the last two years. The version with Arabic numerals is the one that inherits the spirit of the original version, whose appearance reminded more of a concept watch, with the NATO strap, of the same brown as the opaque ultra-light ceramic case: made of a single piece, it is completed by two bronze-colored titanium grade 5 hardened inserts, exactly like the crown.
Coupled in such way, these two parts work very well together, aesthetically speaking. In this variation, the HyperChrome Ultra Light becomes more "urban", to use an adjective dear to marketing experts, and "less enigmatic" than the "no logo" look of the watches of the first of the series, to use my own words instead.
The second version is decidedly more classical, and more contradictory at times: the shiny bronze-colored case has the same tone as the Arabic numerals printed on a shiny brown dial and, if we exclude the lightness, the only aspect of a HyperChrome Ultra Light that it preserves, it is indeed a classic three-spheres Rado with date. However, it is fitted with an aged brown leather strap with slightly hinted stitching, and a very traditional pin buckle.
It is beautiful, it is comfortable, but I have a hard time associating it with the spirit of a Rado. The case back allows not only to see the caliber, realized by ETA following Rado specifics, which asked them to blacken the bridges (in aluminum) and redesign the winding rotor, to give the ceramic effect to metal parts, but to appreciate, above all, the construction of the case and the case's back, which is fixed to the first exclusively by means of four screws.
Shiny and bronze coloured on the version with a leather strap, and mat brown on the version with the NATO strap, the case is not as small as photos would suggest: the Ultra Light is 43mm wide and 11mm thick but colors, tones and lightness make it look more like a 40mm. The most interesting aspect, however, is that to make a HyperChrome Ultra Light, Rado uses two light metals, Aluminum and Titanium Grade 5, two surface treatments (hardening and blackening), and a central ceramic monoblock.
It is a very complex construction, that is easier to find on high-end watches and that, given its placement at less than €3000, indicates the unique ability that Rado has achieved, of using and combining extremely different materials, making them accessible to many.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Simona Bertogliatti)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®