Rado is one of the biggest watchmakers from Switzerland, focusing on unique high-tech materials, new technologies, and innovative designs. This article will take a closer look at the company—we will explore its history, some of its iconic watches, reputation, and other essentials.
Read on if you’re thinking about purchasing your first Rado or just want to learn more about the brand. We’ll provide you with some of the most important things you need to know. When you’re done reading, be sure to check out our picks for Best Rado Men’s Watches Here.
The company had its beginnings in 1917 in Lengnau, Switzerland, founded by brothers Fritz, Ernst and Werner. Before it was named Rado, the watch factory—a converted part of a house—was called Schlup & Co. The name was officially changed to Rado in 1950.
By the 1960s, the company’s watches were available worldwide, sold in over 60 countries. This is also the same year that they released its iconic DiaStar 1, known as “the world’s first scratch-proof watch,” This watch showed Rado’s innovation, introducing materials such as hardmetal and sapphire crystal, which were still relatively unknown at the time.
The brand continued to produce innovative products in the 1970s, introducing timepieces with advanced technologies, such as the Rado Integral, a scratch-resistant and high-tech ceramic bracelet that would become one of the brand’s signature materials.
Fast forward to the 1990s, the year of what the company calls “the ceramic revolution.” This was the period when the Rado Ceramica (sapphire crystal and high-tech ceramic), the Rado Sintra (cermet with metal), and the Ceramica (high-tech plasma ceramic, a combination that has a metallic glow but contains zero metal materials) were introduced. Below, we will explore this technique further.
There is also the “Plasma High-Tech” Ceramic, which is forged in an oven at extremely high temperatures: “Gases activated at 20,000°C transforms finished white ceramic into a unique material with an otherworldly metallic shine – but without the use of any metal.” You can read more about this revolutionary technology here.
Another material used by Rado is Ceramos, a combination of High-Tech Ceramic and metal alloy. This material also promotes durability, lightness, and comfort. Watches made with this technology are last a lifetime, so the watches are an excellent investment. To learn more about this process, visit this page for a more in-depth look.
Rado’s philosophy is “if we can imagine it, we can make it,” and it’s reflective of its creativity with its materials and processes. Below, let’s look at how these technologies are translated into their watches.
Click here to read more about the pros and cons of ceramic watches.
Rado Watch Collections
Rado has a wide collection of watches, all of which you can access here. Below, we’ll zero in on top watches and provide details about some of the most innovative models.
Rado Hyperchrome Collection
If you’re looking for a Rado everyday watch, this is the collection that you should be taking a closer look at. Inspired by the brand’s vintage watches, a Rado Hyperchrome watch is every day, any-occasion timepieces that you can match with different outfits.
Rado calls the collection “sporty chic,” which means it will look great on casual and dressier occasions. These watches are available in both automatic and quartz movements.
There’s the Hyperchrome Chronograph collection, which has more than a dozen choices of colors and designs.
One of the designs that stand out in this collection is the Limited Edition Hyperchrome Skeleton Automatic Chronograph, a 45mm watch that’s excellent for those who want something a bit flashier—the skeleton design that exhibits the movement will get a second glance. According to Rado, this watch was created “by firing ceramic components at 1,450°C in a high-tech oven,” with a high-tech ceramic that develops a sleek black matt finish using a sandblasting and finishing process.
The collection also has a Diamond line, which has sizes for both big and small wrists (42mm and 36mm). As the name suggests, these are luxury watches lines with diamonds, which also means they have pretty hefty price tags.
The Diamond Hyperchrome 1314 model (called such because it only has 1,314 pieces) has 12 diamonds (0.078 carats) and a plasma high-tech ceramic Ceramos bracelet. Available in 42mm and 36mm sizes, these automatic timepieces have a movement power reserve of 38 hours and water resistance of 50m.
Last but not least is the brand’s Captain Cook line. This collection of watches pays homage to Rado’s vintage collection, first introduced in 1962. One of the models that has received lots of praise from experts and collectors is the Captain Cook Automatic 2019, a 37mm timepiece that’s perfect for everyday wear.
The first issue of this vintage-style diver was in 2017 (see them compared here), and Rado released an updated model this year, which is limited to 1,962 pieces. This one’s an excellent gift, as the watch is packaged in a leather pouch with a strap tool and two additional straps (stainless steel and NATO-style army green).
Rado Diamaster Collection
This is the collection perfect for those looking for a classic look. In line with the brand’s philosophy of creating versatile and stylish watches, the Diamaster collection has sleek pieces with an old-school simplicity.
One example is the Diamaster Thinline: a clean case, large open dials, a date display, and a leather bracelet. Rado refers to this line as the “new face of an old legend” and has the brand’s CeramosTM (90% high-tech ceramic and 10% metal alloy).
For those who want something a bit, for those who want a minimalist and unique design more elegant, there are the Diamaster Diamonds. This line has different dials (such as mother of pearl), a leather bracelet, and 49 diamonds (0.142 carats). The elegance is seen in the jewelry and the sleek design—there’s an off-center ring on the dial and a simple date window at six o’clock.
Rado Ceramica Collection
Ceramica is a unique collection that features watches with a minimalist rectangular design, like this Men’s Ceramica in White. These watches are available in both automatic and quartz movements. Most watches of this collection have sizes that will fit nicely on all wrist sizes (30.0 x 41.7 mm and the smaller 22.9 x 31.7 mm), and a high-tech ceramic bracelet. There are also some models that are lined with diamonds, such as this one.
These are updated, contemporary versions of the Ceramica line that debuted in the 1990s, the “ceramic revolution.” In 2017, had a special limited-edition collaboration with industrial designer Konstantin Grcic—a matt gray high-tech ceramic, as well as an automatic movement—which gave the watch a simple yet sleek design, made with avant-garde materials.
Rado True and True Thinline Collections
The True Automatic Open Heart, which is under the Rado’s True collection, is a redesigned model that showcases the brand’s focus on both design and quality. The cut-out dial allows the wearer to see the Swiss automatic movement, and the signature Rado high-tech ceramic construction assures that the watch will shine for years. Rado boasts of its lightness, too—the monobloc case is the reason behind its lightness. Check the price on Amazon.
If you want something simpler-looking, check out the extensive True Thinline Collection. Introduced in 2011, this line has the thinnest watches of Rado (the cases of quartz models measure 4.9mm). These are made with high-tech ceramic, so while it is thin, it has the same durability as the brand’s thicker watches.
Thinline watches also feature a monobloc ceramic case, which is ” a never-before-seen type of case construction featuring solid ceramic with no need for a stainless steel core.” See all Thinline watch choices here.
Rado and Design
In addition to revolutionary technologies in watches, Rado is also a big supporter and promoter of design. They have collaborations with award-winning designers like graphic designer Leslie Chan, industrial designer Konstantin Grcic (who we talked about above), and furniture designer Jasper Morrison.
In addition, the brand also has more than dozens of award-winning watches, such as the Hyperchrome Ultra Light, Ceramica, True Open Heart, and Hyperchrome Automatic Chronograph. See all the models and their respective awards here.
The company is also behind the Rado Star Prize, a competition that supports up-and-coming designers from all over the world. There are a number of Star Prize events held in different cities (such as Mexico, Madrid, Milan, and New York City), and all search for and promote the work of new designers. The brand provides a platform for these designers to showcase their work and develop new products with materials that Rado is known for.
In an interview, Rado CEO Matthias Breschan talked about working with industrial designers. To create fresh and innovative designs, the company chose designers who are not part of the watch industry but have specializations in their respective fields. He then talked about the brand’s successful collaborations with Japanese fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga and interior designer Sam Amoia.
Are Rado Watches Good?
Rado overall gets very positive reviews from watch enthusiasts and beginning collectors. While the brand is not as popular or talked about as some of the other brands in the Swatch group, such as Longines or Omega, there is one thing that Rado is famous for – its high-tech ceramic technology. There’s the High-Tech Ceramic is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and durable and Rado is known for making some of the best ceramic watches on the market.
Watch enthusiasts are quick to comment on the durability of Rado watches, calling them super-tough and built to last.
Apart from their ceramic watches, buyers are attracted to Rado for its unique and innovative designs. Uncommon case shapes and styles, like the square Rado Ceramica or aesthetic design elements like a full skeleton dial or “Open-Heart”, are some of the things that set Rado apart. But the brand also has classic designs like their Captain Cook – an iconic-looking dive watch.
As with any brand, there are critics. Some of the most common complaints include price – most Rado’s sell for around $1,000 or more – and there are no real budget options in their ceramic collection, although to be fair that’s not that hard to understand considering the cost and exclusivity of ceramic watches. Another complaint we’ve heard about some Rado models is when it comes to accuracy with buyers saying the watch loses too much time, although these can be one-off complaints and realistically that issue mostly comes down to the movement – and most Rado watches use Swiss-made ETA movements that are well respected.
Overall, apart from isolated complaints about specific watches or problems that consumers encountered, most buyers are happy with Rado and the brand does have loyal followers that rave about their innovative designs, especially when it comes to their ceramic watches that beat out many other brands in that very narrow sub-niche.
Is Rado a Luxury Watch Brand?
When it comes to watches, luxury is one of those words that’s hard to pin down. There are clearly some brands that are true luxury but Rado is a bit of a grey area. Some watch enthusiasts call Rado an “entry-level” luxury watch brand.
If you read through Rado’s marketing and press releases, they don’t often use the word “luxury” but focus more on iconic designs and innovative watchmaking. Even when interviewed, the CEO of Rado (Matthias Breschan) “Rado operates in the $800-3000 price category and there’s no reason to go above our price point because we have Omega there, no reason to go lower because we have Tissot. So we stay within our price segment and try to be the best within this category.”
If you want a better understanding of where the Rado brand lines up, you can see a list of all the brands in the Swatch Watch Group here.
Where Are Rado Watches Made?
Rado, part of the Swatch Group, is a Swiss company producing their timepieces in Lengnau, Switzerland, their headquarters. They produce an estimated half a million watches every year.
Where to buy Rado watches
You can buy Rado watches on its official online stores. At the moment, it’s available in four locations: Deutschland, Österreich, United Kingdom, and the United States. Each watch page will have a recommended retail price—you can either order online or find a retailer near you.
The Rado website has a Store Locator page where you can search for Rado branches (service center, retailer, or boutique) anywhere in the world.
Rado is also available on Amazon and eBay, but some of these watches may not be under warranty, which we will discuss below.
Rado warranty policy
According to Rado’s website, all of the company’s watches come with a two-year warranty. The warranty certificate should be dated, completed, and stamped by the official Rado dealer when presenting to a repair center.
The warranty covers material and manufacturing defects during this two-year period. If these repairs can no longer restore the normal conditions, they will replace it with the same watch (or something identical).
The warranty, however, does not cover the following: battery life, normal wear and tear, damage from abusive use and negligence, and handling of non-authorized repair centers.
You can learn more about the two-year warranty here.
Thanks for reading!
We hope this article answered your questions about Rado and its watch collections. With an extensive collection and awards under its belt, this Swiss company has proven that they are truly one of the top brands when it comes to relatively affordable Swiss watchmaking. Rado continues to create and innovate. The unique technologies we discussed above took years of development and continue to be improved today, so you’re sure that the Rado watch you’re purchasing will last a very long time.