A retro look with truly sporty attributes brings something new to Rado
When one looks into the windows of a certified Rado dealer, chances are what he’ll see is row upon row of high-tech ceramic watches crafted with sleek, modern lines. The color palate of these watches will be dominated by black and white. Rado’s strategy of creating ceramic watches with impressive design pedigree—Jasper Morrison, the English product and furniture designer, has worked with the brand—has garnered it an international following over the years.
Still, by succeeding time and again within a familiar template of design and materials innovation, Rado ran the risk of becoming predictable in its own way.
Perhaps this explains the fact that when Rado launched the D-Star 200 last year, the entire watch industry took notice. The brand that famously invented the high-tech ceramic watch had gone in a completely unexpected direction by producing a retro-inspired dive piece in stainless steel. In one of the executions, the only bit of ceramic to be found on the entire watch was its bezel.
While I was at BaselWorld, Rado was nice enough to allow me to test drive one of its D-Star 200 dive watches. I’d wanted to get this simple, affordable, retro-styled timepiece on my wrist for several months, so I eagerly accepted delivery of my test model at Basel and wore it for the duration of the fair.
The D-Star 200 is consistent with modern watch design trends, yet it incorporates a singularly vintage-inspired look on the wrist. The time and date version I wore measures 42 mm in diameter. I think this size is a good choice for a timepiece with a vintage-inspired design.
The lines of the case, the hands, the hour markers and the graduated minutes chapter ring all suggest the best of tool watches from the 1970s, while the case size reminds consumers that it’s a modern watch. The chronograph version’s 44mm case is a full two millimeters larger.
Rado executives were confident that this size would be a hit—though for my taste, the 42mm version is the clear winner. Forty-four millimeters may also be considered oversized for one of Rado’s strongest regions, Asia.
The movement powering the time-and-date D-Star 200 is the ETA 2824-2, not a rare, complicated or exclusive caliber by any stretch, but one of the most durable automatic movements available anywhere, and supremely suitable for a sports watch that can expect bumps and shocks along the way. In keeping with its sporty character the bracelet—the D-Star 200 is available only on a bracelet—is as comfortable and sturdy as any I have experienced.
Rado’s anchor symbol graces the watch’s dial, and even oscillates like a watch rotor when the wearer moves his wrist. It’s a minor detail to be sure, but one of the many treasures that this watch’s design reveals over time. The decorated rotor on the chronograph version bears this same rotor design. Another clever detail is the magnified date window, found on both the three-hander and the chronograph. When one glances at the dial, he expects the crystal to bubble up, but it actually bubbles down, leaving the crystal totally flush along its surface.
The very first run of D-Star 200s included a crown that was a little small for large-handed wearers to use, especially since the watch includes a screw down crown. If you have large fingers that make manipulating small watch crowns difficult, then you will want to make sure to seek out a later production model, in which a larger crown was used.
At $1,795, the time-only version is a bargain. The slightly more pricy chronograph has a proprietary movement at its heart, the ETA A05.H31, which is actually a version of the Valjoux 7750 that Rado modifies to achieve an extended power reserve.
Rado has very generously offered to make the D-Star 200 three-hander available to an iW reader through an easy-to-enter online contest. See below for details. Good luck!
Enter to Win a Rado D-Star 200
We will pick the lucky winner on Wednesday, July 18
***Winner is selected based on dedication and consistency with tweeting @iwmagazine—as well as following the other steps. The more tweets the better.