We look at Swiss watch­maker Rado as its an­nual emerg­ing tal­ent award makes its UK de­but

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If one of the tenets of de­sign is a com­mit­ment to de­tail, then watch de­sign takes that to a whole new level – as in­dus­trial de­signer Kon­stantin Gr­cic quickly re­alised when he was tasked with re­design­ing Rado’s clas­sic ‘Ceram­ica’ watch. ‘ We’re talk­ing about ra­diuses of 0.2 or 0.25mm,’ he said upon its re­lease last year. ‘It’s very dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend the dif­fer­ence, but it mat­ters a lot.’ It is, of course, this very at­ten­tion to de­tail – in both de­sign and func­tion – that has made the Swiss brand a go-to for both watch- and de­sign-en­thu­si­asts alike. The ‘Ceram­ica’ is a case in point. The brand’s first high-tech ce­ramic watch (Rado’s sig­na­ture ma­te­rial is harder than metal, scratch-re­sis­tant and both light and com­fort­able to wear), with a com­pletely in­te­grated watch case and bracelet, it was ground­break­ing upon its ini­tial re­lease in 1990: Gr­cic has de­scribed its de­sign as ‘ab­so­lutely iconic and pure’. Now, his ex­pert re­design – in which the case it­self is sub­tly en­larged to be­come ‘vis­ually dis­tin­guished’ from the bracelet – hon­ours that legacy, while evolv­ing the ‘Ceram­ica’ for a new gen­er­a­tion of watch wear­ers. Find out more at


Rado has a long his­tory of seek­ing in­spi­ra­tion from de­sign­ers in fields as di­verse as fash­ion, ar­chi­tec­ture and graphic de­sign. No­table col­lab­o­ra­tions in­clude Jasper Mor­ri­son’s ‘r5.5’ de­sign in 2009 and this year’s lim­it­ededi­tion Rado ‘True’ watches, of which in­te­rior de­signer Sam Amoia (above) was one of six renowned de­sign­ers to ap­ply his vi­sion. ‘I wanted to cre­ate an in­no­va­tive piece that re­flects my aes­thetic and per­sonal de­sign phi­los­o­phy,’ Amoia said. His state­ment time­piece fea­tures a plasma high- tech ce­ramic case and what looks like a layer of sil­very metal­lic sliv­ers on the watch­face to cre­ate an ef­fect that has been com­pared to a ‘disco ball’. An­other bold first for Rado.


Es­tab­lished in 2008 to show­case and sup­port the work of a new gen­er­a­tion of cre­ative tal­ent, the an­nual Rado Star Prize of­fers un­estab­lished de­sign­ers a plat­form to show their work to ex­perts from the de­sign field and gen­eral pub­lic alike. Held in the con­text of larger de­sign events, such as Paris De­sign Week or De­sign Prize Switzer­land, the com­pe­ti­tion is awarded across Europe, Asia and the US, and is com­ing to the UK for the first time this year. Pre­vi­ous win­ners in­clude a com­pact printer that ‘eats’ through the pa­per stack it sits on (above), chairs crafted from re­cy­cled plas­tic ( left) and a set of chairs de­signed to evoke the move­ment of a dancer’s chore­og­ra­phy (right). ‘ We live and breathe fear­less de­sign,’ says Rado CEO Matthias Breschan, ‘and we want to pro­mote this mind­set in the next gen­er­a­tion of cre­ative minds’.

‘ We live and breathe fear­less de­sign and we want to pro­mote this mind­set in the next gen­er­a­tion of cre­ative minds through the Rado Star Prize’

Left and top In­dus­trial de­signer Kon­stantin Gr­cic with his ‘Chair One’ and at work on his re­design of Rado’s iconic ‘Ceram­ica’ watch Above In­te­rior de­signer Sam Amoia wear­ing his lim­ited-edi­tion take on the Rado ‘True’ watch, which has a face that has bee

Clock­wise from above ‘Glow’ chairs by Kim­berly Markel, RSP USA, 2017. ‘Stack’ printer by Mugi Ya­mamoto, RSP Switzer­land, 2015. ‘The Once Liq­uid Plas­tic’ by Julien Manaira, RSP France, 2017. ‘Dancers’ chair by Aurélie Ho­egy, RSP France, 2015

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