Rado has a long history of materials innovation in their watches, most famously with super-hard ceramics that hold a mirror finish. Here for review is something entirely new to me, a plasma-infused ceramic watch that looks like stainless steel. Let’s take a look.
This watch’s name is the Rado D-Star Gents L, Plasma Ceramic. The model reference number is 658.0760.3.010. They call the movement a caliber 658, but you and I name it ETA 2824-2. It’s 144g on the bracelet, water resistant to 100m despite the non-screwdown crown. The case is 40.8mm by 11.4 to the top of the domed sapphire crystal, and 46.9mm lug to lug. The integrated bracelet tapers from 23.4mm down to 21.0 and is 3mm thick, with a push button clasp and titanium folding bits.
Fit and finish is excellent. The case shape is complex, with many surfaces, uniformly finished with a metallic grey color and polished finish.
I’m not a big fan of integrated bracelets, because they make it very difficult to wear a watch with any other strap. Though this might just be a negative for me. At the same time, an integrated bracelet does add a custom look to a watch. Having said that, from the look of the lugs on this Rado, a semi-custom strap should be doable. The case shape is a tribute to designs from the 1970’s, and I’m still not sure what I think of it.
The crown is inset into the case and is well protected, and the caseback gives a nice view of the movement. (This is a loan from Rado, so I didn’t remove the bar code). Looking at the material, you can see one consequence of the exotic material – sweat and skin oils look like dark smudges. Though they wipe off rather easily.
That’s a thumbprint there on that link. Not super visible, but it definitely has a different feel and appearance than metals I’m used to like steel or titanium.
As a former materials science guy, ‘plasma coated ceramic’ is descriptive but unspecific. Equivalent to ‘polymer coated metal.’ Plasma is just a state of matter, kind of like an excited gas, and ceramic is a whole class of materials too. Given Rado’s long experience with exotic materials, I expect this to be super durable, but I also wonder what it is!
In the hand, it feels lighter than you’d expect. Less dense. Very smooth and polished.
On the wrist, it’s a classic all-round men’s watch. Sunburst dial, applied markers, date at six for symmetry, minute hashes on the rehaut, inset applied logo, creased hands. Timeless design done in a high-tech material.
Nice low-profile push-button clasp.
Dial and hand closeup. Good attention to detail – I like the faceting on the date window and markers.
It wears well. There’s no lume; definitely not a sport watch.
Clasp detail – the folding inner bits are matte-finished titanium, machined and not stamped. Well-made.
List price on the Rado D-Star is $2,695. Given the ETA movement and durable, well-finished case, that seems reasonable to me. I see this as a nice Swiss watch for the man or woman who just wants a handsome classic watch that will last for a long time given the durable, highly scratch-resistant case material.