Rado is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its classic DiaStar model with a reference reimagined by Zurich-based designer, Alfredo Häberli.
The Rado DiaStar Original 60-Year Anniversary Edition features a slightly refined version of the 1962 DiaStar’s distinctive case shape, while Häberli has reduced the number of facets applied to the DiaStar’s sapphire crystal watch glass from 12 to six for a ‘pie-pan’ effect.
The new watch is made from Ceramos – a proprietary alloy formed of 90% titanium carbide – rather than the revolutionary tungsten carbide ‘Hardmetal’ used for the original, making it considerably lighter. Rado presents the watch with interchangeable stainless steel Milanese mesh bracelet and grey fabric strap while inside is a gold-plated automatic R764 movement, displaying the date at the six o’clock position.
The 60-Year Anniversary model is joined by the day-date Diastar Original with linear brushed stripe dial, available in blue, grey and green.
Hardmetal — a name that, for a former music journalist with a specific interest in all things metal, always had a special ring to it. I was into thrash metal, speed metal, and also funk metal, but hard metal would surely also have been a subgenre I was down with. Hardmetal is an alloy that Rado patented in 1962 when it released the DiaStar, the very first scratch-resistant watch ever created and also the first timepiece featuring a sapphire crystal. The watch has been in continuous production ever since and has become the best-selling Rado model ever. But for the jubilee watch that debuts in 2022, Hardmetal was canceled. Instead, Rado “booked” another even harder star material to shine on the Rado DiaStar Original 60-Year Anniversary Edition and its bandmates. Its name is Ceramos.
While Hardmetal gives you the illusion that you’re in a mosh pit, the name Ceramos might sound like the name of the lead singer of a sinister metal band. But it’s not. Ceramos is the ceramic material that Rado chose as the perfect substitute for its famous Hardmetal alloy. Hardmetal is created from tungsten carbide powder that’s injected into a high-temperature oven. The sintering process that follows transforms the powder into a new mass. The result is a new material that is five times harder than steel. The big plus compared to a scratch-resistant surface coating like DLC or PVD is that Hardmetal is hard through and through. There’s no coating that can be penetrated. But Hardmetal was not hard enough for the new DiaStar Original. Ceramos is even harder and is therefore the material of choice.
Renowned designer Alfredo Häberli, who worked for various and diverse big brands like BMW, Camper, Iittala, and Vitra, made his opinion very clear when Rado’s CEO Adrian Bosshard asked him if he would be interested in designing a new DiaStar. “I didn’t want to create a new vintage watch,” Häberli says the day before the big launch in a Zürich design hotel. “The DiaStar was, when it came out in the early ’60s, an avant-garde, polarizing watch, and I wanted to keep that spirit and build on it. I have to be brutally honest now. The DiaStar is the only Rado I would wear. No offense, Adrian. The three DiaStar Original references on a steel bracelet have the shiny, prominent bezel that has become so easily recognizable. But instead of Hardmetal, Ceramos is now the material that shines.”
All of these watches have a Ceramos bezel and a steel middle case, case back, and crown. Häberli redesigned the side of the case, and the result is a sleeker and slimmer DiaStar. The three new shiny DiaStar Original models measure 12.1mm thick, as opposed to the 12.6mm thickness of the models in the current collection. The Anniversary Edition measures 12.3mm thick due to the slightly taller facetted crystal. The diameter and length of the case, however, remain unchanged, coming in at 38mm and 45mm respectively. The slightly different shape and thickness do make the watch feel more “in” than “on” the wrist. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing when wearing a watch with such a specific shape (and shine, for that matter). Inside all of the new DiaStar Original iterations beats the gold-plated Rado caliber R764. It’s an automatic movement with an 80-hour power reserve and an anti-magnetic Nivachron hairspring. This special version of the Swatch Group’s shared Powermatic 80 movement hides behind a closed snap-on case back. Yes, you read that right: there’s no screw-down case back. Nevertheless, the new Rado DiaStar Original is water-resistant to 100 meters.