The Swiss luxury watchmaker has collaborated with Samuel Amoia, Rainer Mutsch, and design trio Big Game on three limited-run timepieces.
Designer collaborations are a priority for Rado. The Swiss watchmaker has long invited collaboration with multidisciplinary designers from around the world, including product and furniture designer Jasper Morrison, graphic designer Leslie Chan and, in 2016, industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, on the redesign of its iconic Ceramica collection (see the full story in the October issue of Azure, available now).
Rado most recently tapped American interior and furniture designer Samuel Amoia, Swiss design studio Big Game, and Austrian industrial designer Rainer Mutsch to collaborate on watch designs that would express each designer’s unique aesthetics and philosophies, while utilizing the housing of Rado’s most popular watch family, True, and the high-tech materials that have become Rado’s signature.
The fruits of those collaborations are True Blaze, True Phospho and True Stratum. Available in limited runs of just over 1,000 pieces, the three exclusive timepieces are intended for wear by both men and women.
Amoia is the principal of two namesake firms: Samuel Amoia Associates, his interior design practice, and Amoia Studio, a furniture design studio that he runs with his brother and sculptor Dominic Amoia. His penchant (and flair) for working with natural, often unusual materials to produce luxe but never ostentatious results earned him a Rising Talent honour at Maison & Objet in 2016.
True Blaze is an expression of Amoia’s aesthetic. It features a glittery metallic silver dial that looks as though it’s covered in hundreds of ultra-fine, light-catching diamonds. To create the textured, sparkling effect, a galvanic process that replicates the crystalline structure of diamond powder was used.
Amoia placed the gold-coloured indices on the underside of the dial’s glass housing, rather than on the dial itself, to preserve its textured surface and to make the indices and logo appear as though they were floating. The watch otherwise has a minimalist feel; the 40mm case and bracelet are made from a high-tech, metal-coloured ceramic that’s both lightweight and durable.
“I wanted to create a simple but innovative piece. Something that reflects my aesthetic and personal design philosophy,” says Amoia of the watch. “The result is an understated and innovative piece.”
Since 2004, this Switzerland-based design trio — Augustin Scott de Martinville, Elric Petit and Grégoire Jeanmonod — have created both products and spaces that they describe as “simple, functional and optimistic – as well as charming and useful.” Big Game has designed children’s chairs for Magis, coat racks for Hay and storage boxes for Alessi, amongst numerous other projects.
For Rado, the studio developed True Phospho, a playful watch with unexpected elements. A 40mm matte black high-tech ceramic case and matching bracelet house a perforated black brass dial that reveals the watch’s Swiss automatic movement below. Further intrigue is offered by luminescent indices, created by filling some of the perforations with Super-LumiNova, a non-toxic phosphorescent pigment, to create geometric shapes representing the hours. To add additional glow, the hour and minute hands are also tipped with Super-LumiNova, while the second hand is coated in the glow-in-the-dark substance.
“We like the contrast between the matte black ceramic and the phosphorescent Super-LumiNova coating,” Big Game says. “This colour is not only beautiful, but also functional, as it allows the wearer to read the time in the dark.”
Mutsch is an Austrian industrial designer who doesn’t commit to any particular aesthetic. After working as a senior designer with Werner Aisslinger in Berlin, Mutsch opened his own studio in Vienna, focused on experimentation with innovative materials and production techniques.
With True Stratum, Mutsch played with “materiality, manufacturing processes and the idea of ambient light. I was trying to re-question, in a subtle way, how time is displayed by introducing an element of three-dimensionality on the dial,” the designer says.
Like the True Phospho, the True Stratum features a matte black bracelet and case, crafted in Rado’s signature high-tech ceramic. The star of the show is the dial, which uses delicate and asymmetrically arranged descending steps to reveal the dimension and depth of the watch’s concave surface.
A slightly raised plate featuring the logo in neon yellow, along with a matching yellow second hand and matte hour and minute hands, impart additional texture and provide easy readability. A black dot placed on the underside of the dial’s glass housing appears to float over the dial, casting a shadow. “The appearance of the dial changes constantly depending on the light, always creating new reflections and gradients,” Mutsch says.
Three more timepieces round out the Rado True designers’ series: True Shadow, a collaboration with Kunihiko Morinaga of Japan; True Cyclo, a collaboration with Philippe Nigro of France; and True Face, a collaboration with Oskar Zieta of Poland. Discover the entire collection here.
This content was published by Azure on behalf of Rado.