Although Rado has a history that dates back to 1917, the brand really started to become the watch company that exists today during the 1960s, when it decided to fully embrace modern materials. Today, Rado is considered to be an industry leader when it comes to ceramic watches, and the ultra-hard material plays a central role in the brand’s catalog, with a wide variety of different colors now available. With that in mind, much of Rado’s modern brand DNA can trace its roots back to the original DiaStar watch, which debuted in 1962 with a strikingly futuristic design that showcased a number of state-of-the-art manufacturing materials. At the time of its release, the original Rado DiaStar was positioned as the world’s first “scratch-proof” watch, and it laid the foundation for the fluid designs and ceramic alloy cases that serve as the foundation for much of the brand’s contemporary lineup. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the original DiaStar model, Rado has unveiled a trio of new DiaStar Original watches, along with an additional Anniversary Edition model that has been created in collaboration with Swiss designer Alfredo Häberli.
The case of the new Rado DiaStar Original watches stays remarkably true to the overall core design of the original model, and it features a rounded cushion shape that measures 38mm in diameter by 45mm lug-to-lug, with a slightly conic profile on the upper surface. The top part of the case is made from Ceramos, which is Rado’s proprietary ceramic alloy that first debuted in 2011 and benefits from the highly scratch-resistant properties of ceramic, while still offering a shiny metallic appearance. On the trio of standard production models, the upper Ceramos part of the case is left in its smooth polished form, while it receives a prominent radial brushing pattern with contrasting polished edges on the 60th Anniversary Edition version. Meanwhile, the lower part of the case on all four Diastar Original models is crafted from stainless steel and it features a solid caseback that helps provide the new watches with 100 meters of water resistance.
Unlike most watch crystals that either have a flat or domed profile, all of the crystals fitted to the new Rado DiaStar Original models feature a striking faceted and sculpted shape. While all four of the new watches feature crystals made from scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire, the trio of standard models includes a parallel-stripe faceted crystal, while the 60th Anniversary Edition model receives a sapphire crystal with hexagonal facets to represent the six decades that have passed since the original Rado DiaStar watch made its inaugural debut. Due to this difference in crystal shape, the standard models measure 12.1mm thick, while the 60th-anniversary edition DiaStar Original comes in slightly taller at 12.3mm. Additionally, while the standard versions are all fitted with stainless steel H-link bracelets, the 60th Anniversary Edition model comes with both a stainless steel mesh bracelet and a gray textile strap that is fitted with a deployant buckle, and both options come fitted with Rado’s EasyClip quick-release system to make swapping between the two option a quick and tool-free process.
As far as the dials of the new Rado DiaStar Original watches, each of the three standard models features a different color (gray, blue, or green), while the 60th Anniversary Edition version gets fitted with a light gray metallic dial that compliments the tone of its case materials for a sleek and monochromatic overall appearance. The dial surfaces of the standard models are finished with a contrasting brushing pattern that alternates directions on each different quadrant of the dial, while the metallic gray dial of the 60th Anniversary Edition features a subtle circular brushing pattern. Additionally, both dial finishes are further accentuated by the facets on the sapphire crystals above them, which distort the brushing lines on the dials and give them a more intricate overall appearance that changes depending on the angle that they are viewed. At the top of the dial resides Rado’s signature moving anchor logo, which freely rotates as the watch moves around, adding a unique dynamic element to what is typically an entirely stationary component fixed to the dial’s surface.
While all of the new Rado DiaStar watches include a trio of centrally-mounted hands with luminous inlays for the hour and minute hands, the shape of the handset fitted to the 60th Anniversary Edition model offers a noticeably more smooth and rounded shape. Not only do the tips of the hour and minute hands taper to a more prominent point, but the seconds hand on the 60th Anniversary Edition model features an elongated teardrop shape with a completely rounded base that lacks any type of counterweight. The overall effect is decidedly more sleek and modern, without being too much of a significant departure from the core design of the original DiaStar model. Similarly, while the dials of the three standard production models do not feature any type of hour markers or a minute track whatsoever, the dial fitted to the 60th Anniversary Edition includes small circular luminous plots for the hour markers, which are sunk almost sandwich-style into the dial’s surface to add further dimension and visual depth.
Additionally, while both models feature virtually-oriented day and date displays at the 6 o’clock location, both their appearance and the way that they choose to display their information differs. On the three standard models, both the day and date are displayed through a single rectangular aperture, with the day of the week appearing in its three-letter abbreviated form. On the 60th Anniversary Edition model, the date is displayed through a small circular aperture, while the day indicator appears as a separate thin linear cutout above it. Rather than having the day of the week appear as letters, the passage of the days is displayed graphically, as the linear aperture fills up with lume throughout the weekly cycle. This approach helps play into the watch’s minimal overall aesthetic, with the only text on the dial being the Rado name on the upper half and the obligatory “Swiss Made” signature at the 6 o’clock location.
Powering the new Rado DiaStar Original watches is the Caliber R764 automatic movement, which is based on the core architecture of the popular ETA 2824 but includes a number of notable upgrades over the standard version. Like other brands that are a member of Swatch Group, Rado gets to benefit from this next generation of calibers that combine well-known and proven designs with updated materials and components to achieve increased performance metrics. In addition to featuring gold-plated plates and bridges, the Rado Cal. R764 includes an antimagnetic Nivachron hairspring and it offers users an extended power reserve of approximately 80 hours. Additionally, Rado states that the movement exceeds standard test requirements from three to five positions for additional accuracy, and all of the movements fitted to the new Rado DiaStar Original models include day and date discs that are color matched to coordinate with their dials.
Today, the luxury watch industry is littered with hi-tech modern materials, and the concept of a watch that is virtually impervious to scratches has become something that a number of different brands now offer within their respective lineups. However, back in 1962 when the original Rado DiaStar made its inaugural appearance, the concept was truly revolutionary, and it could be argued that the DiaStar paved the way for countless other watches that now exist today. While the new models feature updated materials and movements, they are still instantly recognizable as Rado Diastar watches, and they carry on the model’s rich legacy of pushing the boundaries of resilient materials and modern designs. The three standard-production Rado DiaStar Original watches are each accompanied by an official retail price of $1,450 USD, while the 60th Anniversary Edition model is priced at $1,950 USD. Additionally, it’s worth noting that despite being a celebratory anniversary model and coming with an additional strap and travel pouch, the 60th Anniversary Edition DiaStar watch will not be produced as a limited edition, meaning that those who wish to purchase one should be able to add one to their collections without having to pay a steep premium to acquire one on the open market. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.