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Rado Unveil Ultra-Modern DiaStar Original Skeleton

Rado DiaStar Original Skeleton

While modern Rado might be all about the Captain Cook, the Swiss watchmaker has a long history of innovative designs, including the instantly recognisable DiaStar 1 from 1962. Now, the retro watch has been given an aesthetic overhaul in the DiaStar Original Skeleton.

The defining trait of any DiaStar, DiaStar Original Skeleton included, is its case, a curvaceous, almost fluid lozenge of material blending bezel into case. It’s gorgeous and 60 years on there’s still nothing quite like it except perhaps some of the funkier Omegas. It was designed to be scratchproof (it was among one of the first watches to use a sapphire crystal, incidentally) and in that pursuit it used Tungsten Carbide for the case.

Rado DiaStar Original Skeleton

The problem is that Tungsten Carbide is notoriously difficult to work with (hence the DiaStar 1’s unusual shape) and is incredibly heavy. So, when they were celebrating the 60th anniversary of the DiaStar 1 last year, Rado instead opted for what they’re best at: ceramic.

Rado DiaStar Original Skeleton
Rado DiaStar Original Skeleton

That continues into the Diastar Original Skeleton, the same gunmetal colouring and ultra-hard, ultra-tactile properties that ceramic is known for. It also uses the incredible, vertically faceted crystal that made an appearance on the previous anniversary collection, though if there’s any reason for that other than aesthetics, I don’t know it. The difference here, as the name suggests, is that the dial has been skeletonised to show off the movement underneath, with indices apparently floating, supported by a layer of sapphire crystal underneath.

Rado DiaStar Original Skeleton

Evidently, Rado are proud of their movements these days as this is exactly what they did to their recent Captain Cook Skeleton. And they should be; the Rado Calibre R808 is a polished up version of Swatch Group’s seminal Powermatic 80 movement, 80-hour power reserve and Nivachron hairspring included. It’s reliable, long-lasting and accurate, everything you need in a movement.

Rado DiaStar Original Skeleton

Being able to see the movement not only adds a more technical flair to what’s always been a structurally led watch, but the components on show counterbalance the grey ceramic and brushed stainless steel bracelet with flashes of gold brass and rubies. I’m not normally sold on skeleton watches, but for the DiaStar Original Skeleton I could definitely make an exception.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Rado DiaStar Original Skeleton
  • Ref: R12162153
  • Case/dial: 38mm width x 45mm length x 11.9mm height, polished stainless steel case and Ceramos™ bezel, black annular dial with flying yellow gold colour hands and indexes and white Super-LumiNova®, square faceted sapphire crystal front, white printed minute track, gold coloured moving anchor symbol on red background, transparent case back
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
  • Movement: Rado calibre R808, automatic, 25 jewels, 3 hands, antimagnetic Nivachron™ hairspring, exceeds standard test requirements from 3 to 5 positions for higher accuracy, movement fully coated in anthracite
  • Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 80h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
  • Strap: Polished and brushed stainless steel bracelet with 3-fold clasp EasyClip system
  • Price/availability: £1,850

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.