Rado True Stratum
A rare mixture of minimalism and avantgarde design
A while ago, Rado’s Marketing Vice-President called it ‘cross-fertilization’, that is to say that process, where a brand would draw on different sectors; study them to explore all the different sides of its personality to then multiply these features infinitely. It was last April, when Andrea Caputo said those words during our video interview that took place on the occasion of the Rado Star Prize event. No other watch-making brand is currently exploring all of the existing design sectors so specifically and deeply as Rado is doing and no other manufacturer is more entitled than Rado to do so due to fact that this brand is not as deeply linked to tradition as other Swiss makers are and that, in my opinion, is definitely an undisputable advantage.
The Rado True is Rado’s ode to simplicity, its purest collection that speaks exclusively through its trademark (ceramics) and that leaves to other collections both complications and a more elaborate design made up of different materials and calibres. Despite all, this is also the very collection that Rado decided to re-interpret through the drawing pen of some famous international designers.
Among the 2017 special series, it is the Rado True Stratum that really stands out; the result of a cooperation project with Rainer Mutsch. Rainer Mutsch is a prominent Austrian designer that focuses on minimalism and simple geometries and sizes that repeat themselves endlessly without ever losing sight of the object’s functionality; a rare example of fusion between style and pragmatism.
The Rado True Stratum seems like the avant-gardist watch-making alter ego of projects, like the Cliffy or the Ray; an elegant, but extremely simple – and always functional – way of editing the minimal style and spirit of the Rado True. This design and customization operation of an existing collection gives the Rado True Stratum its unique look; this is not a simple declination of a Rado True (that would look quite reductive), but rather an entirely new timepiece that looks like a classic True only when it comes to the original sizes and proportions.
Rainer developed a third dimension – that was missing before – without even touching the sizes of the men’s True and its 40mm case. Quite the opposite; the designer used his linear language to create a series of (concentric) circle-likes that stem from the basis of the inner flange and then constantly taper towards the middle of the raised hours, minutes, and seconds hands. The result is the creation of a hypnotic effect, where the gaze seems to be “plunging” into the watch itself. All in all, it was quite a mammoth task that culminated with the introduction of the yellow colour on the seconds hand and on the contrasting yellow Rado logo that seems to levitate on the dial, also thanks to the circular serigraphy in the middle.
If you take a look at the macro picture above, you will notice that the dial has a fine grained texture and a rectangular plaque bevelled on the corners that also appears on the case-back, and through which you can see the movement; this is a clear reference to a specific design style from the 70s and, it also reminds me of the typical geometric shapes of the cinema from that time, like, for instance Space: 1999 or Kubrick’s masterpiece. The limited series figure (1001 pieces in total) randomly reinforces this link with the space-apocalyptic genre from that era.
Rainer shares with Rado his passion for new materials and, in my opinion this is the perfect combination, as Rado could learn a lot from this experiment and could start exploring new possibilities for its True collection. In the meantime, if you are ready to spend 2,170 euro, you will be able to acquire the most expensive Rado True timepiece ever crafted (after the Phospho) that is also a design object that will very soon become a design icon and a future collectible item.
(Photo credit: property of Rainer Mutsch; Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®