Inside the Egg: Rado’s DiaStar Original Skeleton
Well-known for pushing the limits on artful design and edgy materials, Rado taps into a purely classical approach in its latest redux for its unmistakable signature timepiece.
When the uncanny DiaStar wristwatch from Rado debuted in 1962, it solidified the watchmaker’s ongoing reputation as a singular producer of visually unexpected timepieces utilizing new-bordering-on experimental materials. Simply put: The high fashion, ovate, biomorphic case absolutely jumped off the wrist.
However, despite the DiaStar clearly having some of the “space age” design inspiration typical of the era, Rado also created one of those watches that, while unmistakably recognizable, even from across the room, is enduring in its appeal. Moreover, promoted as the world’s first “scratch-proof” watch, the DiaStar’s gleaming, innovative tungsten-carbide case also tipped a cap to Rado’s forward-looking materials DNA.
Thus, the pivot to skeletonization in the new DiaStar Original Skeleton is a firm lean into the classical that succeeds on a Rado-essence level because it is unexpected. And, of course, the designers wouldn’t merely make the timepiece’s inner workings visible in a traditional skeleton watch manner: They added their own visual twist (more on that later).
Down to the Bones
The idea of “good bones” seems to be a thematic trend for Rado currently. The spectacular skeletonized version of its more traditional Captain Cook sports watch, the High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton, is the perfect example of this because while the High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton nevertheless told the story of the Captain Cook’s design philosophy on a basic level, Rado was still able to inject its own drive-to-innovate via materials and details.
That said, at 11.9mm thick, we can all but guarantee that when you look into the DiaStar Original Skeleton’s “egg,” you’ll see something you haven’t seen before.
How and why are we making this claim? Because, as it turns out, the inherent depth and dimensionality, along with the abundant, sloping, ascending surfaces of the DiaStar Original Skeleton’s 38 x 45mm case, is an undeniably ideal platform for showing off a skeletonized movement. Luckily, sapphire crystals on the front and back give you a marvelous view of the 80-hour-power-reserve Calibre R808-variant movement with anthracite and gold-tone detailing, which makes for a very pretty animated picture, indeed.
Through a Glass
Interestingly, the front crystal is faceted, almost “polarized.” Thus, light catches and plays with the nine sections of the sapphire crystal differently, creating a varied view down that can be reflective, over-lit, crystal-clear, and darkened, all at the same time. It is a more grid-like departure from the faceted gem-cut crystal of last year’s non-skeleton DiaStar Original reboot.
But the geometry is apt. Instead of giving a straight-ahead view of the movement, this faceted crystal creates an artful, perception-bending, almost Cubist optic for the overall presentation, making it modernist eye candy that is pure Rado in its effect.
Meanwhile, the minimal gold-edged bar indices and hands (which are also lumed), gold sweep hand, subtle DiaStar badging below the center of the dial, and relocation of the red-and-gold anchor Rado logo to a small overhang on the 9 o’clock indicator ensures that the view is uninterrupted.
That case, that case, that case! There are so many things to say about it!
Enhanced by a single crown that rides nearly flush with the edge, the DiaStar Original Skeleton case is crafted from Ceramos, Rado’s proprietary ceramic composite that delivers the expected hardness and lightness.
However, perhaps more interestingly, Ceramos also evinces the shine and luster of a metallic alloy. Add the DiaStar’s unique case into the mix, and the Ceramos’ shine and luster create a near-jewelry moment for the watch.
The bezel receives a gray-tone finish to mimic the anthracite components of the visible movement. Mid-case, case back, and crown are made of straight-up stainless steel. Ditto for the H-link bracelet, which receives an alternating brushed and polished finish that injects a shot of the same gray tone as the bezel to the mid-links, bridging together the understated colorway (and a detail, frankly, most watchmakers would have skipped).