RADO HYPERCHROME ReplicaNovember 27, 2020
The Rado Hyperchrome replica collection is full of ceramic watches, innovations, unprecedented watch construction and sleek design, delivering a groundbreaking Rado timepiece. Dynamic, attractive and sporty chronograph watches, the Rado HyperChrome timepieces are designed to look just as good with a business attire as it does with a casual outfit or even sports gear. A watch that delivers all the functions with the style you want. Inspired by vintage Rado timepieces, the sporty-chic HyperChrome family was unveiled in 2012 as Rado’s signature all day, every occasion timepiece. With over 70 different models, the HyperChrome family is as versatile as watch lovers’ tastes are diverse.
Rado offers versions of the Rado HyperChrome Chronograph with an automatic ETA 2894 caliber and a monobloc high-tech ceramic case or with a quartz movement and a stainless steel case. It’s easy to tell the two apart: Automatic models have their 30-minute counter, 12-hour counter, and small seconds dial at 9, 6, and 3, o’clock, respectively, and their date display sits between 4 and 5 o’clock.
It was about 2012 when Rado first released the HyperChrome collection of watches which, in my opinion, represents an interesting character and dimension to the brand. Rado’s self identity has been in flux over the last few years as the brand seeks to position itself appropriately in today’s market. The Swatch Group-owned brand has had considerable historic success with timepieces ranging from sport models to distinctive formal watches in ceramic. The Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph continues the brand’s strength in ceramic, an honor it earned long ago, for a new generation of mechanical watch lovers. So let’s check out this easy-to-wear and -enjoy ceramic sports watch and discuss where I think it fits into the overall picture of modern timepieces.
On various occasions over the last few years I’ve had opportunities to discuss Rado’s history and ceramic watches. It was in the early 1980s, I believe, that Rado began to produce watches with zirconium oxide cases and bracelets. Zirconium oxide is the particular type of ceramic which most ceramic watches are made of. Oftentimes in watchmaking this is known as “high-tech ceramic.” Rado was the innovator in ceramic watches, which is a fact lost on many people today given that ceramic as a luxury watch material has been used prolifically.
Credit probably goes to Chanel for making ceramic a popular material for modern watches. In the early 2000s the Chanel J12 collection brought both black and white ceramic to the masses, which made the material a real phenomenon. Ceramic is a useful material in watchmaking for a range of reasons. Principle among them is that ceramic is very difficult to scratch, meaning that ceramic-cased watches do not appear to age, really. The color is permanent, in that it won’t fade or blemish over time, and that the material is both non-magnetic and hypoallergenic. The downside of ceramic is that because it is more rigid than metal, it can crack if subject to enough force. I’ve never personally cracked a ceramic watch, but it has been known to happen.
In my opinion, the drawbacks of ceramic watches are far outweighed by the positives which include the wear-resistance, as well as the colors. Looking on Rado’s website right now, I can count at least eight different color styles of the HyperChrome chronograph. These include the ceramic case material rendered as three shades of gray, brown, white, black, yellow gold tone, and rose gold tone. Few brands have the sophistication of Rado when it comes to using ceramic materials for cases and bracelets. The brand definitely deserves a lot more credit for its innovation in ceramic as a case material, which is credit the brand no doubt wants to have more of. A close inspection of the way their cases are made reveals a level of technical ingenuity really not found in most other ceramic-cased watches – especially at these prices.
The Replica Rado HyperChrome Chronograph watch cases are monobloc, meaning they are produced from a single piece of ceramic. These models have interesting designs which include PVD-coated rose gold-toned steel flanks and combination of both the brand’s “plasma high-tech ceramic” as well as “Ceramos” ceramic parts for the case and bracelet components. This results in both a range of colors as well as finishes, as the ceramic parts of the watch are offered in both high-polish and matte surfaces.
At 45mm wide, the Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph wears more comfortably than you might assume. It isn’t a small watch, but it doesn’t feel massive either. I see it as an intentionally bold “statement watch” which is exactly how Rado sees its appeal. Wearing this watch, I thought to myself, “at what point in my life would I have most appreciated it?” The answer (for me) was in my early 20s given what I feel is a very youthful appeal to the design. At its heart, you have a conservative profile, functional layout, and wearing experience. The watch is not at all offensive or divisive, but it does have a traditional look with attention grabbing materials, finishes, and a modern, architectural design which I think is absolutely ideal for young people with an artistic heart who have something they want to communicate about themselves.It isn’t as though you can’t wear the Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph if you are more mature and the design appeals to you. It is rather that I think a timepiece like this makes a great item for people just entering the world of “serious watches,” and who want something “different” from an otherwise established brand. Part of the youthful appeal comes from the way the design tends to exaggerate the proportions of a classic chronograph layout. The chronograph subdials – which are made three-dimensional by applied frames – overlap one another a bit, creating an interesting sense of “artistic tension” which adds character.
The dial leans a bit more to the artistic versus legible side, but that doesn’t mean all the elements aren’t really well done. Fit and finish is very good, and my only gripe is really the date window. A small round window shows a view of the stark white date disc which distracts from the elegance of the design, at least in my opinion. Rado probably should have found a matching date disc color to match the gray tones of the dial. This element won’t bother most wearers, I am sure, but it is a small area upon which Rado can improve. There are small bits of luminant applied on the periphery of the dial, as well as on the hands. I personally would have opted for more luminant, but overall the dial is handsome, albeit more youthful and edgy in design compared to more classically traditional watches out there. One of the more quirky design elements on the dial is the Rado logo. Above the logo text is a small anchor which is designed to act like a rotor. While it isn’t the most fluid motion in the world, the small anchor logo actually moves around, attempting to mimic the motion of the automatic rotor in the mechanical movement. This isn’t the first Rado watch to have this feature – which has been around for decades, as far as I know.
The case is water resistant to 100 meters and is sandwiched with sapphire crystals – over the dial as well as over the movement. Inside the watch is a Swiss ETA 2894 automatic chronograph movement which is nicely decorated and given a custom Rado automatic rotor. This movement has about two days of power reserve operating at 4Hz (28,800bph). The chronograph pushers are nicely designed into the case along with the crown, making for a strip of rose gold-toned elements on both sides of the case to match the accent colors on the dial. Around the bezel is a tachymeter scale engraved into the ceramic which adds an additional sporty element to the design.
Attached to the case is a matching ceramic bracelet which is quite comfortable. The outer links are polished while the center link is brushed, adding a slightly more dynamic if not masculine quality to the design – which is important as “overly glossy” watches can come across as feminine sometimes. The bracelet is closed with a sort of part butterfly clasp, part traditional locking, folding deployant. Basically, there is a small extra section of the deployant which opens up allowing the watch to fit over your hand onto your wrist. It would be too small to fit without this extra opening element, and with a larger folding section the deployant would be too long under your wrist making for an uncomfortable fit. I do appreciate this attention to detail in bracelet and deployant design by Rado ensuring both ergonomic comfort and welcome aesthetics.
It is easy to mistake one Rado HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph watch for another. This particular model is the reference 01.650.0118.3.010 (aka R32118102) which is gray. I actually mistook it for the brown model at first, as gray ceramic can sometimes look a bit brown in various lights. The brown one is actually a lot more richly brown, and you need to appreciate that there are other gray tones in other models of the HyperChrome collection. My best advice for someone interested in the HyperChrome collection but undecided about what color style to pick, is to see them in person as the colors react differently to light, and looking at the marketing images is not always the best way to choose in this instance.