Rado True Square Open Heart
Plenty of watch brands can manufacture ceramic watches, yet when looking back at those who introduced ceramics in watchmaking, there's a handful of them led by no other than Rado, the one to be unequivocally associated with timepieces this unique. Although the Swiss brand didn't manufacture the first-ever zirconium oxide base wristwatch, it developed the technology to such an extent that today's offering is unrivaled in both options and models. As a result, the Swatch Group took the most out of this technological advantage, thus extending the Rado-developed technologies across mid and top-end watchmaking, including the likes of Longines, Omega, and Blancpain. The Rado True Square 2020 collection is bridging past and present, promoting the squared case shape, a brand's hallmark.
If you're scrolling Rado's history, you'll discover milestones like the 1967 Rado Dia67 Glissière, the 1986 Rado Integral, the original Rado Ceramica introduced in 1990, and the 1993 Sintra. The cherry on the cake, how could we ever forget the Rado V10K, the only ceramic watch in history to feature a 10,000 Vickers hardness, introduced in 2002? The timeline mentioned above includes only square-shaped wristwatches, whose modern counterparts, the Ceramica and the Rado True Square collection, are going under the spotlight, after Captain Cook, in steel or bronze, and the Golden Horse, have covered the headlines in the last two years or so.
The 2020 Rado True Square has set a new standard by adopting a one-piece case, on par with the Rado True Thinline, paired with a skeletonized dial, as far as this top-end model concerns. Rado is not new in this business, as proved by the round-shaped True Open Heart and a "talking piece" like the Rado HyperChrome Skeleton Automatic Chronograph Limited Edition.
The Rado True Square Open Heart looks smoother than the edgy Rado Ceramica or Integral; it's a combination of flowing surfaces, from the case down to the integrated bracelet, skeleton dial excluded, featuring sharp edges instead. The dial's design is as busy as it is meticulously engineered, but it's not my cup of tea, because of the chosen chromatic combination. The "Open Heart" extension refers to the regulating organ, seen through the sapphire glass and open dial, intermingled by the hours and minutes hands.
Rado's designers opted here for a rhodium-plated finish contrasting glossy and matte black parts (a color combination rooted in Rado's DNA), where the dial looks crowded in an attempt to hopefully make the watch look more luxurious and enhance the engineering beneath. The 38mm case is superbly finished and is mirror-polished so far as to hardly believe it can withstand scratches and dents due to harsh conditions. Superior scratch resistance is all but negligible; a ceramic case cuts down maintenance and mirror-polishing costs compared to steel during the product's standard lifecycle; unless you're exposing your timepiece to severe operating conditions.
The see-through case back is the only non-ceramic part, as it comes in PVD-treated, screwed-in, titanium. The Rado True Square Open Heart houses the ETA C07.631 self-winding movement, showcasing a Côtes de Genève pattern surrounding it, on top - it is visible through the dial - but no silicon hairspring as found on sister brands' similar timepieces. Featuring eighty hours of power reserve when fully wound, it is top performing in terms of power reserve in its class of products, which is hard to identify; love it or hate it, the Rado True Square is a class of its own. Also available with grey plasma ceramic case and bracelet, along with a skeletonized dial and blued bridges, the Rado True Square Open Heart costs 2,380 Euros.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®