When you think of two-tone you probably think of steel, gold and designs that we already know since the eighties. I have for a while now been expecting a return of mixing materials in the making of a watch. What I have not expected though is that Rado of all brands would present us with the most contemporary version of this old concept. Using arguably the most popular materials right now, the new Rado Hyperchrome Bronze could give the words two-tone a whole new meaning.
With their new CHF 4,900 expensive automatic chronograph it is clear that they are going after the big boys, as this is the price point where you could find yourself a nice Omega Speedmaster. Unlike a Speedy, however, you do not get an in-house movement, but instead an ETA 2894-2 movement with a 42-hour power reserve. In spite of the customised black rotor from a value perspective that is a bit lacklustre for a watch that costs five grand, but Rado has never been about movements.
What Rado has been doing better than everyone else though is using Ceramics to create unique cases, long before it was trendy to do so. This model then is no exception to that line of thinking. The main element of the case is made out of black ceramic. A clever use of a matte finishing on the lugs and a polished one on the bezel and caseback the design manages to exude a certain sense of class that can easily be lost when trying to capitalize on trends.
The selling point that sets this watch apart from other ceramic watches is the decision to include bronze on the sides of the case as well as for both the crown and the pushers. What this does is explore a contrast that whose beauty will require time to fully explore. On the one side you have ceramic, a material so scratch-resistant in 10 years time it will still look like it left the boutique the day before. On the other side you have bronze, known primarily for the fact that it develops patina both quickly and intensely.
Other features to this timepiece include a discrete date window with a black background at 4:30 and a water-resistance to 10 bar. This watch really is not about the individual parts, but more how they work in unison. Take for example the case where bronze curves smoothly out from beneath the ceramic to fool you into thinking it is all one part. Rado has never been a brand for everyone. Their appeal has always been more from a fashion perspective than a mechanical one, and the Hypercrhome Bronze is no different. The price is steep but in return, you will get something unique, well relatively speaking as the watch is limited to 999 pieces. To sum up, I believe that the Radio Hyperchrome is not for everybody. It offers something truly unique, whether that is worth CHF 4,900 is up to you to decide.