I knew I had to have it the minute I saw it. Essentially it's the guts of a Breitling Aerospace put into a very sleek and modern ceramic Rado case.
I really love my Breitling Aerospace for its practicality and good looks, but I've always felt like it just doesn't need a rotating bezel, since it also has the digital alarm, chronograph, and timer (in addition to a second time zone, day, and perpetual calendar. Why not just keep it simple? And that's exactly what this watch does, and as a very coherent expression of a simple idea I think it's really excellent.
There's so much to appreciate about this watch, I'll just start listing what I like about it...
- The size. The case is 40 mm across, not counting the crown. It's not small and it's not big...it's just a well-proportioned, normal size.
- No pushers...all digital functions operate by rotating, pushing or pulling the crown. I like the fact that the digital aspect of this watch is hidden. It has all the elegant simplicity of the most basic analog watch design, until you want more...and then it pretty much has it all.
- The open jet-black dial...no conventional dial with holes poked in it, like the Aerospace has.
- From reviews I've read this ceramic case is tough. People who've worn these watches daily for a decade or more say they still look brand new! I gather that the ceramic case is nearly as hard as the sapphire crystal.
- No coating on the crystal. It reflects more light, but it also lets more light out, and so the digital display is appreciably easier to read than it is on my Aerospace.
- The font of the digital display is a little bit fatter-bolder than on the Aerospace. So it's a little easier to read for that reason also.
- The hands are thin, so that they never cover up any digits of the display.
The case is thin, just 9.3 mm, and I feel like that's really in keeping with the overall modern sleekness of the design.
- It's light. My Aerospace, sized for me weighs 87 grams, and this one comes in about the same...94 grams.
- Extremely comfortable...every surface that meets your wrist is rounded in every direction.
- Butterfly deployant is made of titanium, and seems to be as solidly engineered as any bit of any watch I've handled. Very nice feeling to it.
- The first link immediately on either side of the is attached rigidly, and this keeps the case centered on the wrist.
What's left to want?
- Well there's no backlight, and no lume either...seems like an obvious oversight, eh? Fortunately the hands are very reflective and stand out dramatically against the solid blackness of the dial, so that in very low light it's very easy to catch a reflection and see the time. If there's one thing I'd change, it would be to fit it with lumed hands.
- It's only pressure tested to 30 meters of water-resistance. If it was rated higher I'd enjoy feeling that the watch was tough in this respect in addition to its hardness and scratch resistance. Still, even if it was rated higher I probably wouldn't trust it. My Aerospace is rated at 100 meters, but with the crown operating the digital functions as it does, rather than screwing down solidly, I don't trust that either. Out of curiosity I searched around the internet to see if anyone had posted bad experiences of water getting into their Rado watches and I couldn't turn up one. It makes me wonder if Rados actually are decently water-resistant but that they've chosen to low-ball their spec. Pretty minor issue though for me.
- Now if they could make the battery charge by solar energy and have it sync to a radio signal as the Casio waveceptors do...well that'd just be the be-all and end-all for me. :)
The movement is functionally just like the Aerospace, with a few exceptions. It's not thermocompensated, it has no backlight, it *does* have a perpetual calendar, and it has separate split and additive chronograph modes. Incidentally, mine seems to be keeping better time than my thermo-line Aerospace...happenstance I guess.
I *really* dig the overall aesthetic and idea of this watch. Other Rados I've seen didn't particularly appeal to me because I'm kind of stuck on the idea that a watch dial ought to be round, since the hands travel in round arcs. Just a personal preference I guess. But in that way, I really like how this watch is a thoroughly modern take on a very traditional form...and by it's own logic and design goals, it's very conservatively executed. And it's clearly extremely well-engineered and flawlessly built by any standard.
I have no doubt half of everybody here might say that it looks goofy...or maybe that it looks like plastic. That's okay...I like it just the way it is. I like it alot.
Here's a bunch more shots for a better view...