October 29, 2018
Those are the smaller (but critical) details on the dial of the Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde, but the eye is quickly drawn to the small seconds. Sure, the name of the watch calls it Petite, but that subdial is anything but petite. This brings some dimensionality to the table (as the subdial is concave to the surface of the dial), and you’ve got that same light-catching polish on the second hand and numerals. Perhaps not nearly something you’d consider “necessary” for a dressier piece like this, but it marks it as something other than just another three-hander.
Now, if you’ve noticed, I’ve been very positive about how Rado has made use of high-polish surfaces on the Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde as a whole. There is one spot on the watch, though, that could do without the sheen. Any guesses? Yes, that’s right – it’s on the date window. Here, we’ve got that bright white date disc which stands out – and not what I consider in a good way. Then, on top of that, you’ve got a polished outline surrounding the date cutout. For as well-sorted as the rest of the watch is, this just has me scratching my head. I personally find date complications immensely valuable, but here, it is a distraction to the design, and I, for one, would not be heartbroken to see a dateless Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde released into the market.
On the flip side, there is a fun bit of nonsense on the dial that I hope never goes away. That, of course, is the little anchor at the 12 o’clock position, just above the Rado logo. This serves no purpose other than to let you know that the watch has an automatic movement inside. That said, I love it. It’s so much more subtle than printing the word “automatic” on the dial, and I really, really dig the whimsical kinetics it puts on the dial side.
As long as we’re flipping things, let’s flip our wrists and have a look at the strap of the Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde. Okay, a croc-embossed leather strap, we’ve seen that before, nothing new there. Where this Rado shines is with the clasp. You see, this is unlike anything I’ve seen from another brand, though it apparently shows up on a few different Rado models. The feature is subtle, but it’s a sliding extension that hides in the clasp. At first, I didn’t even realize what it was doing – I just thought the leather was slipping somehow in the clasp as I put the watch on (one never quite knows what to expect from watches that live on the review circuit).
It was so much more than that, though. By having the single-sided deployant (rather than, say, a butterfly clasp) you’ve got something that is more compact on the underside of your wrist. There are other brands that have these single-sided sorts of clasps, but then you’re trying to split the difference between what you can fit your hand through and getting a good fit on the wrist when you close the clasp. Given that I like a tighter fit, this is a fight I normally lose. With this Rado clasp, though, it expands to let you slide your hand through, and then it collapses back down to get that fit that is just right.
As you can probably surmise from what I’ve written here, I rather enjoyed my time with the Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde. The 43mm case wears just like you’d expect – not too big, not too small – but the use of ceramic (and then titanium for the caseback) keeps the weight down to a rather svelte 90g, which means it’s not a nuisance at all.
Frankly, if this was in steel, you’d probably expect at least another third in the weight, so the ceramic once again brings another positive to the table. For it being my first intro to the brand, I’m afraid that the Rado DiaMaster Petite Seconde may have spoiled me, but I guess I’ll have to get another one in from the brand to know that for sure. Stay tuned for that, and we’ll see what we think up. For now, though, it’s safe to say that how Rado is using ceramic here is unlike anything else you’re seeing from other brands, especially when you consider the price of $2,250. You can learn more on the Rado watches website at rado.com.