The Ceramica has always been an important watch for Rado. But even, or maybe especially, these watches need a refresher every once in a while. Rado trusted this to the capable hands of Konstantin Grcic, an industrial designer best known for his Chair_One design.
The biggest change Grcic made on the new Ceramica was the use of matted High-Tech ceramics. It does indeed give the men’s model a completely different look and feel, not to mention make it look far more masculine. Of the two models, the signature model is limited to 700 pieces, plus one for Grcic himself. Here the typography is making a difference. Grcic says that he was inspired by aviation watches, when he designed the dial. We can most certainly see that, and although it suits the watch, we prefer actually the non-limited edition. Perhaps it is familiarity, since that dial is more in the line of what we are used to from Rado. Or maybe it is the date that is placed at 12 o’clock, while the watch also features a sub-dial at six, which provides a nice balance on the dial.
The ladies models come in white and black monobloc case with a slight polish. Grcic left the dial here more elementary. The result is that the watch looks more like a bracelet, something that most likely will be appreciated by Rado’s clientele. Often these are not the typical watch connoisseurs or collectors, but people who appreciate a well made watch, many who are attracted by Rado’s distinct designs and high-tech ceramics.
Those high-tech ceramics are indeed rocket science, and should therefor alone be a reason why a Rado belongs in any decent watch collection. For more information about Rado’s high-tech ceramics check out the Winter issue of Watchisthis?! Magazine.
Rado also interviewed Konstantin Grcic. Normally when we post interviews on Watchisthis?!, we ask our own questions, but we thought that given some of the answers that Grcic gave it would be interesting enough to post an excerpt of this interview:
- What is your relation to time / watches?
I have a strong sense of time. I would even go so far as to claim that time really matters to me. Timing is discipline, but also something quite sensual, elegant. The right timing plays a key role in life. I have always been very aware of that.
I got my first watch when I was six years old and I have been wearing watches ever since. I get up and put it on; I go to bed and take it off.
- Rado is known as a pioneer in material innovation – how important are materials in your work as a designer?
Materials are definitely key. Everything we design has a physical dimension. What is something made of, and how? The right choice of a material determines a product ́s performance and longevity. And even before that, it determines how something is produced, which is a crucial business consideration. I am not a materials expert, by no means, but I have a huge interest in and curiosity about understanding as much about materials as possible. The more I know about them, including their constraints, the more efficiently I can apply them. The intelligent and economical use of material forms an important part of my understanding of good design.
- Did you have any personal connection to Rado before this project?
At the very begining of my career, German Vogue asked me to participate in a promotional photo shoot for watches. Different people wearing different watches – that was the idea behind the story. And for whatever reason, Vogue ́s art director decided that I should wear a black Rado Ceramica. Somewhere in their archives they must have that photo documenting this first encounter between the very young me and the Rado Ceramica. Interesting how, quarter of a century later, I was asked by Rado to redesign this very same model.
- What was your inspiration / idea for the redesign of the Rado Ceramica?
The redesign of a classic is always a challenging brief. As a designer, you take on a clear responsibility not to spoil the legacy of the original. The design process forces you to decide how close to stay with the original, and how far to depart from it. The original Ceramica still looks pretty amazing today. It is absolutely iconic and pure and that clearly inspired my new design – not only in a formal sense, but also in terms of its uncompromising attitude. I chose to approach the project from a very subjective point of view. I asked myself: what would change the original Ceramica into a watch that I would wear today?
- Is this the first time that you have collaborated with a watch brand?
Yes, my collaboration with Rado marks the first time I have worked with a watch brand. The watch industry, and in particular the one “made in Switzerland”, seems to be quite closed to outsiders such as me. There is something very understandable about keeping specialized knowledge within an inner circle of experts. The car industry is set up in a similar way. However, whenever there is a chance to enter such a world with a fresh and impartial mind, it can trigger interesting creative potential for both sides. The Ceramica project offered such an opportunity.
- What were the challenges compared to other products you’ve designed before?
The real challenge for me was the scale. A watch is just so much smaller than any of the other things we normally design. On the computer we zoom up to ten times the original scale of the watch in order to evaluate the smallest details, proportions etc. You’re hardly ever working on the watch in 1:1 scale like we do with a chair or other products. Watches are about details in the smallest scale – 0.2 mm, or 0.25 mm. It is very difficult to comprehend those nuances, but they matter a lot. Between my two fingers I can gauge 2 mm, 3 mm, 4 mm – I know exactly what they mean. In contrast, a dimension of 0.05 mm is very difficult to grasp. It was like learning a completely new language.
- How long did it take to develop the design of the new Rado Ceramica?
My first contact with the Rado team dates back exactly three years ago. From there, it took us around 4-5 months to come up with the initial design concept. After that, it’s all development. Going over every detail of the watch in incredibly small steps of refinement. Its not unusual that the development of a new product takes that amount of time. A watch is like a tiny engine. It has to work in every aspect. Now, after all that time, I am very excited that I will be able to wear my own Rado Ceramica watch.
More information on the Rado Ceramica can be found here