Rado Vintage Watches Review: Voyager, Diastar, Green Horse
Rado vintage watches, interesting both as collector's items and as working automatic and quartz instruments, provide a glimpse at how the brand's latest designs evolved, from bracelet to case.
In most cases, early Rado pieces tended towards conventional watchmaking: stainless steel and other familiar materials, and more or less orthodox case modelling. Still, there's something of today's philosophy in every vintage Rado piece, even if these qualities elude perfunctory examination.
In general vintage timers demonstrate openness towards color, and contain a day/date complication, paired to be displayed via a single prolonged aperture at 3 or 6 o'clock – not unlike in Seiko 5 watches. Indexes and/or numerals become the norm rather than the exception, while many of the timers feature simple flat hands – a trend that continues until today.
Rado voyager presents a case that might seem odd at first: there's something of Original and Sintra in it, all at the same time – and even a reference to the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak octagonal geometrics, as well some Patek Philippe Nautilus traces.
It appears that this collection still tries to get out of a cocoon; later Rado creations, like the ones mentioned above, separated these characteristics, discarded the imitations, and developed a unique look that we know today.
Diastar emerges as the precursor of Original: it lacks the sophistication of the newest collection when it comes to dial organization (especially the skeleton model) and to caliber complications, yet displays essentially the same recognizable space shuttle case. This collection is too notably liberal when it comes to color: yellow and red models can be found on eBay (it appears that collectors, watch keepers and masters still offer new dials).
Most vintage pre high-tech ceramic Rados encase an automatic movement, and only occasionally incorporate diamonds – the company's luxury department wasn't as developed as it is today, and most watches can be categorized as suitable for casual wear.