Recently, lumiere photographie and I were invited by Rado Australia to view their Baselworld 2015 novelties here in Sydney. The new releases that we saw were a mix of quartz and automatic models, but it some of the latter which shall be shared with you today.
Interestingly, we both had the same favourite – the Rado Damaster Grande Seconde, which is available in half a dozen different ceramic options including a new chocolate ‘plasma ceramic’ one and a matte black version. Both have an Australian RRP of $3,775. Using an automatic Calibre 2899, they have a 43mm diametre. These two versions, because of the combination of colour and material, are visually attractive propositions.
In fact, the new chocolate brown ceramic models were of particular note on a general level in terms of the new releases.
The Hyperchrome Ceramic Jubile comes in a limited edition of 600 pieces, with the limitation number engraved on the caseback. With the chocolate ceramic and rose gold, it has 56 Top Wesselton diamonds in the bezel. There are other similar HyperChrome Ceramic Jubile models in different ceramics, so what is special about this is the colour, which is a deep brown that was difficult to properly capture that day. The Australian RRP is $9125.
With an automatic 2681 movement, it is made with what Rado calls ‘Plasma Hi-Tech Ceramic’, a patented material (and process).
Let’s look at ‘carburisation’, the process that Rado says is involved in these watches.
Well it involves heat, naturally. It is the process by which iron or steel absorbs carbon when the metal is heated with carbon-bearing material such as charcoal, with the goal of making the metal ahrder.
Plasma carburising is the means by which the hardness of low carbon steels is increased in a more energy efficient way than tradtional carbonisation, but which is also easier to repeat and control, process-wise.
In gas carburising, the component is held in a furnace containing an atmosphere of methane or propane with a neutral carrier gas. At the carburising temperature, methane (or propane) decomposes at the component surface to atomic carbon and hydrogen, with the carbon diffusing into the surface.
Any metal that can be gas carburised can also be plasma carburised. The principle of the process is the same and it aims to increase the carbon content at the surface of a component to allow formation of a deep and hard layer.
According to Rado, their patented method uses gases that activate at 20,000˚C and alter the composition of high-tech ceramic without affecting its properties but which changes the colour of the ceramic.
Staying on the ‘material’ theme, which I think is an important one when it comes to Rado, there is a new ‘HyperChrome hi-tech plasma ceramic Match Point’, in a limitation of 999 pieces. For those who are unfamiliar with the ‘Match Point’ pieces, the name will give a hint – tennis is the theme, and the visual references are the ‘net’ on the sub dial at 6 o’clock, and ’00’, ’15’ and ’40’ on the minute counter, referencing point scoring. This one is reference R32024102. This chronograph contains the automatic 2894-2 movement inside its 45mm case (note that the tachymeter on the bezel is engraved) and has an Australian RRP of $6,225. Tennis player Andy Murray, a Rado ambassador, wears one of these.
A chocolate ceramic/ RG model is available (R32175302) with the same RRP.
For more information about Rado’s other new releases, go to their website