At 56 grams the Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light is about half the weight of most watches. Made of lightweight materials such as hardened titanium and silicon nitride for the case and anodized aluminium for the movement bridges, the watch is also reduced to the essentials in terms of visual appearance, one of the brand’s principal characteristics.
The dial is pure simplicity: just the Rado anchor logo that spins with every movement of the watch, “automatic” written vertically, a date window, three baton hands, and the words “Swiss made”. These elements are placed on a silicon nitride dial with an unusual brushed finish that starts circular and ends in a downwards vertical band. There are no indices for hours and seconds. The date window (as usual I think that the watch would have been better without) is fairly close to the centre of the watch. Its position is dictated by the relatively small size of the movement, 11.5 lignes or just under 26 mm.
Silicon nitride, a lightweight ceramic material (Si3N4), is also used for the 43 mm case, with hardened titanium inserts on the caseband. Silicon nitride has the exceptional hardness of 1,400 Vickers, making it very scratch-resistant. The watch is 11.2 mm thick.
The lugs are continuous with the lines of the case, and hold a Nato fabric strap with a pin buckle in hardened titanium. The crown is also made of hardened titanium and has a slim shape with knurled ring and the anchor logo.
Caseback and movement
The caseback is normally covered by the Nato strap that runs underneath it, but by lifting it up you see an attractive view, with an exterior caseback ring in silicon nitride engraved with texts including the limited edition “one out of 500” phrase and the 10 bar (100 metres) water resistance. The sapphire glass window reveals the automatic movement, with its bridges in black anodized aluminium. The movement is the self-winding ETA A31.ALU, a new ETA version of the 2892 with lower balance rate (25,200 vibrations per hour, 3.5 Hertz) that helps extend the power reserve to about 64 hours. It has a balance positioned at 12 o’clock, and an oscillating weight that looks similar to the black aluminium bridges.
Price and reference
56 grams makes the watch exceptionally light, but not to the degree attained by Richard Mille with watches such as the RM 27-01 which weights just 19 grams, almost indiscernible on the wrist. There is a slight difference in price between the two products: the Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light, reference 766.0069.3.111, costs €3,100 (US $2,850), while the Richard Mille RM 27-01 costs about €616,000 ($690,000). The Rado HyperChrome Ultra Light will reach boutiques in autumn 2016.