Whether it’s because of the emphasis on innovative use of materials or because of the inherent coolness of that material itself, the ceramic stylings of Rado can come across as cold. That’s not to detract from the complexity of what Rado do. For nearly three decades, it has been at the heart of ceramic innovation. It patented a way of activating gases at 20,000°C to create a white ceramic with a metallic shine.
Over 10 years ago, it fulfilled its long-held dream of creating a ceramic as hard as natural diamond. Thanks to years of painstaking research and the use of cutting-edge nanotechnology, it was able to launch the Rado V10K replica watch, which had a hardness of 10,000 Vickers. It has also managed to incorporate touch technology into its cases, which led to crownless designs such as the Esenza Touch, patented ways of setting precious stones in ceramic and even invented a brown-coloured version of this super-hard material.
It’s impressive, but it doesn’t really have any of the romance of brands with a more traditional material focus. Which is why the Rado Open Heart feels like a brand trying to warm up its ceramic ticker. Being Rado, it couldn’t resist doing something tricky with materials. In this case, the challenge was cutting mother of pearl into a disk that was substantial enough to use as a dial but thin enough for the movement to be seen through it.
The resulting pearlescent sliver is 0.2mm thick, which allows you to see the ghostly outlines of the mechanics as if through a Vaseline-coated lens; an opacity that seems to change depending on the light. The ridiculously light monobloc ceramic case is 40mm, which would suggest that Rado has created this replica watch to appeal to both sexes; however mother of pearl is so closely associated with women’s replica watches it might be a tad too feminine for members of the hairier sex.
The only downside to this launch is that it is only a limited run of 500 in each colour. Hopefully the top brass at Rado will take this replica watch’s success as a sign that it should be added to the core collection because it’s too great a piece to just be owned by 1,000 people. It seems that Rado has found its heart at last and, if this replica watch is to go by, it isn’t as cold as you might think.