Rado, a brand aptly known as the “Master of Materials” for its pioneering use of ceramic in many of its uniquely-shaped watches, is in Miami today to announce the return of a watch from ’80s past: The Anatom.
The curved rectangular watch returns in 2023, paying homage to the original Anatom released in 1983 but using modern Rado Diastar Anatom design codes to create a fully modern variation on the theme. I am here in Miami for this launch and have had a chance to dig a bit deeper into the legacy of the Anatom after spending some time with brand CEO Adrian Bosshard. At a small event last night, he briefly spoke about the impending release by pulling out one of the original Anatom watches from the ’80s: a very cool, and (perfectly) small watch, in two-tone on a bracelet.
What always made the Rado Diastar Anatom special – and what was apparent in looking at the vintage watch – is the curved case, and the convex sapphire crystal. Then there’s the way the case seamlessly gives way to that industrial bracelet design. The whole package is just Rado through and through and speaks to the brand’s penchant for modern watch manufacturing.
But even the 1983 Rado Diastar Anatom has its own legacy of rectangluar watches from the brand. From the 1960’s Manhattan watch to the ’80s with the Diastar Executive, the brand spent the better part of two decades preparing for the Anatom. In the years that followed its release, Rado continued to work through its love of this case shape in the Sintra, Ceramica, Integral, all the way up to the True Square in 2020.
Now, 2020 is a significant year for the brand because that is when Bosshard took the helm as CEO (following a distinguished tenure with Certina). Last night, he spoke briefly about his first meeting with the Rado product team shortly after he arrived, when he decided to zero in on the Anatom as one of the brand’s future releases. The previous watch was in steel – and the main direction for the model was that it had to follow suit with the brand’s modern identity, but be produced in ceramic. You’re right to think that a watch of this shape and form would prove difficult to create in this material. Which brings us to today’s unveiling of the watch, in ceramic, and in celebration of 40 years since the launch of the original Diastar Anatom. It’s the latest evolution of the brand’s mastery of materials and speaks to a new kind of homage: One that’s less about a direct connection to the past, and more about winking in the rear view mirror and creating a true modern watch with bona fide heritage. In keeping with modern trends, the first thing that’s been changed from the original Rado Diastar Anatom is that the case size has been increased from having a 28mm case width to a 32.5mm case width. It’s larger, but still conservatively sized. The bezel is a matte black ceramic but the overall design maintains the same cylindrically shaped sapphire crystal construction.
The original model had horizontal striping on the dial that gave symmetry to the lines on the bracelet. This new watch comes equipped with a rubber strap instead of one made from ceramic (though I have to imagine a ceramic bracelet for this one is in the works). The dial here instead has a horizontally brushed finish and a smoked effect in three colors: blue, cognac, and green with the signature Rado anchor at 12 o’clock (something the original did not have). In terms of overall case construction, the bezel top of the case is the aforementioned matte ceramic, with a black PVD steel mid-case, and a steel exhibition caseback giving way to the automatic movement inside, a departure from the quartz caliber in the 1983 Anatom. This movement is the Automatic Rado calibre R766 with the six o’clock date aperture and 72 hours of power reserve.
In addition to the three standard colors at launch for the Anatom, Rado Diastar Anatom is also unveiling a special 40-piece limited edition black dial model called the Jubilé with a black lacquered polished dial, 11 baguette diamonds as indexes, and a rhodium-colored moving anchor motif against the black backdrop. So how do I feel about this release? Well, while this wouldn’t expressly be my cup of tea in terms of design and aesthetics – something about this just works. Having seen the 1983 version and understanding the design history, I am struck by the brand’s steadfast willingness to go full-modern in appearance for the 40th anniversary. Honestly, when I think about Rado, my mind goes three places: Captain Cook, square, and ceramic. We’ve basically got two of the three covered here.
I’ve always loved a good rectangular curved case as well, and the new Anatom strikes me as the perfect 21st century play on that look in a way that feels entirely contemporary without feeling the need to call back to every component of the 1980s original. It would have been easy to make an all-metal version of this watch, but we’ve got enough easy homages on the watch market today.
I am excited to get this one Rado Diastar Anatom on my wrist and give it a test drive, to see how the rubber strap works against the matte ceramic case. I’ll be sure to report back on wearability, legibility, and my overall thoughts in a hands-on soon. Signing off from Miami.