The Swiss watch industry is one that is revered and respected globally, synonymous for its heritage, craftsmanship, design and style. It has presented a luxurious standpoint for centuries, with many of its brands not only standing the test of time (excuse the pun) but relishing in its respective history and flourishing with modernity. It’s a careful balancing act but one that has proved enviable all the same.
Rado is no stranger to the watch world. Renowned for its quality and craftsmanship, the Swiss brand founded in 1917 is not only one of the oldest but one of the most respected in the industry.
Synonymous for innovative designs and its use of revolutionary materials to create some of the world’s most beautiful and durable watches, Rado fostered an approach that envisioned “if we can imagine it, we can make it”, which, despite current troubles amidst the watch industry as a whole, still holds true today.
A brief history
Although founded in Lengnau, Switzerland in 1917, it wasn’t until the early 1950s that the then ‘Schlup & Co.’ brand began selling watches under its new brand name: Rado.
The iconic 1957 Golden Horse collection was the first debut for the new Rado brand, and what an introduction it was. The Green Horse collection followed in 1958 and was one of the first Rado models marketed on its unique water-resistance capabilities. By the end of the decade, Rado was a truly international workhorse with a dominating presence in over 61 countries.
The 1960s era saw many great timepieces launch from other well-respected brands in the industry, but it was also a time for exploration; it wasn’t uncommon to see watch brands delve into unfamiliar territory in terms of style and form. The formidable ‘Diver’s’ watch was one style adopted by many, and Rado was no exception.
The prominent release of the Rado Captain Cook, named in honour of the 18th Century explorer Captain James Cook, is a piece that still resonates with watch lovers and aficionados alike today.
The 60s era also saw the birth of a true star; the DiaStar 1. Marketed as the world’s first scratchproof watch, the DiaStar 1 was a watch designed for the people. That is, it was the direct result of customer’s demands for a watch that was designed for comfort, robustness and style.
Today, Rado continues to push the boundary of what is possible with luxury timepieces, operating with a real zest for innovation. It revolutionised the watch industry with its use of scratch-resistant high-tech ceramic, it welcomed the innovative eSenza – the first Rado watch designed without a crown. And the launch of the True Thinline presented an ultra-slim ceramic masterpiece never seen before, measuring in at an unimaginable 5 mm.
A Ceramic Revolution
There are very few design feats that are more prominent to a watch brand than Rado’s innovation of its use of ceramic materials in its timepieces.
For three decades, Rado has continued its use of high-tech ceramic in watchmaking, which very quickly became a signature staple of the brand – its use was innovative and enduring.
Moreover – and more importantly – its use is garnered by true artisans of the highest calibre. High-tech ceramic timepieces are objects of pure art and craftsmanship. They are also a gentle approach to glamour; lightweight and hypoallergenic, high-tech ceramic watches are incredibly comfortable and can be worn by anyone.
The launch of the Rado Ceramica in 1990 introduced the world to a completely integrated watch case and bracelet made of sapphire crystal and high-tech ceramic. And the Rado Sintra, launched in 1993, was the first Rado watch made of cermet, a titanium-based ceramic combined with metal.
As aforementioned, the original Rado Captain Cook of 1962 was a diver’s watch intended for actual diver’s – rather than mere naval looks – and was a real workhorse of the horological world.
Rado has since recreated its 1960s classic with a collection that pays absolute homage to the original.
“The Captain Cook is a model deeply rooted in Rado’s history and DNA; a timepiece that was originally released in 1962 inspired by exploration, diving and adventure,” Rado CEO Matthias Breschan told Man of Style.
“As such, its design and functionality was created accordingly then and also today.”
The team at Man of Style have been hands-on with a range of Captain Cook models, from the revered Captain Cook Bronze to the Captain Cook Blue Dial and Captain Cook Green Dial.
What immediately captures your attention is the sheer beauty of its ceramic bezel, balanced with the richness of its coloured dials. It wears extremely comfortable on-wrist, sitting at 42mm for each respective model.
The 80-hour power reserve is the result of a complete Automatic Swiss ETA movement which we have come to rely on heavily; it’s a godsend to be able to put your watch away on a Friday and have it still ticking away come Monday morning.
Despite uncertainty within the watch industry as a result of COVID-19, Rado continues to do what it does best; craft timeless timepieces that are transcended through time.
For more information on the Rado brand and its collections, please visit the website here.