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Rado’s ardent spirit of innovation and their use of state-of-the-art materials such as their signature high-tech ceramic has unquestionably groomed the brand to become the prestigious and globally recognized Swiss watch manufacturer it is today. However, before a time when Rado became synonymous with producing avant-garde timepieces with ceramic, there was a collection of exquisite Rado timepieces from the late 1950s that held a rather simple but exquisite appearance - it was none other than the legendary Rado Golden Horse. First debuted in 1957, this classic three-hander was a huge leap for Rado as the first ever collection presented under the brand’s name. The Rado Golden Horse Hyperchrome Automatic collection creatively fuses Rado’s high-tech ceramic and the Golden Horse’s retro design to create a compelling timepiece full of contemporary character while closely upholding the design of the 1959 original.
|Rado Golden Horse HyperChrome Classic Automatic Blue Ref. R33101203|
From a brand that was initially conceived as a small atelier, to become an industry leader for innovation more than a century later. Rado is a well-respected name that is no stranger to the watch world, producing incredibly robust timepieces that pushes the boundaries of what was achievable with luxury watchmaking with top-class Swiss craftsmanship, revolutionary high-tech materials and outstanding timekeeping performance. While originally founded in Lengnau, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland in 1917 as ‘Schlup & Co.’ by brothers Fritz, Ernst and Werner Schlup, it wasn’t until the brand took off in the early 1950s, selling watches under the ‘Rado’ name we’re familiar with today.
Ever since its founding, Rado has fostered the philosophy “if we can imagine it, we can make it”, which still holds true today, reflected by the brand’s highly-durable, innovatively designed timepieces. Rado is perhaps best known for their innovative use of technologically advanced materials, being one of the pioneers in the watchmaking industry adopting high-tech ceramics in their watches. Although the implementation of ceramic is widely seen across innumerable watch brands in this day and age, Rado revolutionized the industry with the birth of the Rado Integral back in 1986 with its use of scratch-resistant high-tech ceramic in the bracelet.
|Rotatable anchor logo|
Visually contrasting from the 37mm period-accurate limited edition Golden Horse, the Golden Horse Hyperchrome Automatic Blue - Ref. R33101203 comes in a modern 42mm case, displaying a modest size that boasts a stronger, and bolder wrist presence. Constructed out of 316L stainless steel, the case measures with a lug to lug distance of 49mm and a case thickness of 10.4mm. While it may seem rather overwhelming for a dressy-casual piece, the slim case profile and downward sloping lugs certainly help to create a comfortable fit on the wrist.
Finishes on the case are executed impeccably with a mirror-like polish on the top of the lugs, transitioning to a vertically brushed surface at the side of the case. Viewing the watch from the side, the push-pull crown at the 3 o’clock position showcases a striking red Rado logo, adding an attractive visual touch to the case. Nevertheless, that’s not the only thing that is aesthetically pleasing here, the watch is paired with an extremely comfortable 22mm beads-of-rice stainless steel bracelet with a push-button seahorse-signed deployant clasp showcasing highly polished ‘rice beads’ flanked with outer links, beautifully complementing the brilliant case finishes while fluidly conforming around the wrist.
|Perfect all rounder at only 10.4mm thick|
Here’s where things get exciting; the fluted bezel on the Golden Horse Hyperchrome Automatic Blue - Ref. R33101203, in a slightly darker shade than the case, is forged using Rado’s pioneering plasma high-tech ceramic that is lustrously polished to a high shine. Thanks to the bezel’s grooves and ridges, the polished surfaces capture the light to produce an absolutely attractive and elegant appearance.
The main highlight of the Golden Horse Hyperchrome Automatic Blue - Ref. R33101203 is perhaps the magnificent sunburst blue dial that is simply a treat to view at different angles. Capturing the look of the 1957 Golden Horse, the dial features a set of slim applied hour indices, alongside the faceted dauphine hands and the red-tipped needle second hand that modernizes the look of the classic dial. Other than the iconic freely-swinging Rado anchor logo at the 12 o’clock position, the 6 o’clock position of the dial showcases the most distinctive trait of the Golden Horse collection - the emblem of the dual seahorses. Applied with a lustrous polished finish, the two inward-facing seahorses utilizes the retro font of the text found on the original. To top it off, the thick highly-domed sapphire crystal offers exceptional resistance to scratches while mimicking the attractive distortions of the original vintage acrylic crystal.
|Open case-back exhibition showcasing the Swiss ETA C07.611 movement
Under the hood, the Golden Horse Hyperchrome Automatic Blue - Ref. R33101203 is driven by the Swiss ETA C07.611 self-winding movement based on the ever-reliable Powermatic 80 movement. Featuring a power reserve of a whopping 80 hours, this 25 jewel movement beats at a 3 hertz rate of 21,600 beats per hour (BPH) with hand winding and hacking capabilities. Encased within an exhibition (sapphire) caseback and a push-pull signed crown at the 3 o’clock position, the Golden Horse is equipped with an adequate water resistance of 50m, easily handling splashes in daily use.
The Golden Horse is probably one of the most versatile pieces from Rado for an everyday timepiece that effortlessly manages to look amazing in just about any occasion. Perfectly blending the vintage elements of the original with Rado’s modern watchmaking capabilities backed by the Swatch group umbrella, this exceptional piece from Rado offers great value in this price segment with great mechanical performance and a historic design that will continue to stay timeless for many years to come.