We had the opportunity to make a quick trip to food haven Penang for the recent reopening of Rado’s boutique in Gurney Plaza. Registered guests assembled at the ground-floor location, careful to stay socially distanced, for the exciting reveal. While sipping champagne, we waited for our turn to tour the boutique and have a peek at a few new timepieces.
Big and bold, covering a large portion of the wall at the entrance, is a close-up image of the new Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic, a 43mm piece that has the essence of the vintage 1962 original, with modern elements. What makes it so visually striking — especially zoomed in on the wall of the boutique — is the tinted black sapphire crystal dial that makes the beating heart of this watch, the R734 automatic movement, visible. For added impact, the actual pieces are exhibited in a display case right next to a screen playing videos of Rado’s True Square collection.
Following a muted beige carpet through a glass door, we arrive at the centre of Rado’s boutique. Warm and welcoming, the long space is made cosy by the soft carpeted floor. On the left is a black wall with a built-in display and large image of the True Square Automatic Open Heart. Two glass-case displays with a black-and-gold base are positioned in front of this, with two matching chairs for customers. On the right side of the room is a muted gold panelled wall with more built-in watch displays. Finally, completing the black, gold and beige colour scheme is another display case with two more seats and a metallic back wall adorned with Rado’s branding and a picturesque image. Despite its narrow layout, the boutique has a spacious and exclusive feel about it, and the incredible Rado range is displayed proudly.
This boutique features the brand’s “Master of Materials” customer experience, embodying the modern and vanguard Rado aesthetic. It is designed with the brand’s pioneering spirit in mind, taking into account its guiding principles, visionary research, cutting-edge technology as well as exemplary craftsmanship. Rado’s affinity for new materials is visible in the mix of textures and almost futuristic feel. Yet, it remains warm and approachable.
Known for its unique designs and high-tech materials, Rado was established in 1917 in Lengnau, Switzerland. Producing durable timepieces that are hard and scratch-resistant yet comfortable for the wearer has always been a main aim of the brand. The list of its achievements over the years is rather impressive: In 1962, it launched an iconic scratch-resistant watch; in the 1980s, it began high-tech ceramic watchmaking, which resulted in the monobloc injected ceramic case and, later, plasma high-tech ceramic. Rado’s mission is made clear with its inspirational motto, “If we can imagine it, we can make it. And if we can make it, we will.”
After exploring the new boutique, guests were treated to dinner at G Hotel Gurney’s ballroom, where we are pleasantly surprised by a viewing of three auspiciously red timepieces to ring in Chinese New Year. First up is the Rado Captain Cook. Powered by the inhouse Calibre R763, it has an 80-hour power reserve and a red printed date at three o’clock. The dial has an understated red-to-black gradient and white printed indices with Super-LumiNova. Water-resistant up to 300m, this Captain Cook has a sporty polished stainless steel case, a polished stainless steel bezel with high-tech ceramic insert, and a matching polished and brushed stainless steel bracelet that sports Rado’s EasyClip system.
The Rado True, Reference R27242742, is an elegant creation featuring a 30mm diameter polished black high-tech ceramic case with monobloc construction. With the R561 movement, this watch boasts a 38-hour power reserve. It also has a red-to-black gradient dial but, for added sparkle, it features four diamonds in place of indices. Standing out from the dial, the hour, minute and seconds hands are rhodium-coloured and the former two have a matt black veneer. Protecting this piece is a curved sapphire crystal that has an anti-reflective coating, and the polished black bracelet with titanium three-fold clasp allows the watch to sit comfortably on your wrist.
The Rado True Secret is powered by the Rado Calibre R734. Standing out at 12 o’clock against the red-to-black gradient dial is a circular window that allows the wearer to have a peek at the beating heart of its mechanical movement, also known as the balance spring. Indices are replaced with 12 diamonds, adding to the opulence of this timepiece. A silver-coloured printed Rado logo sits at three o’clock and, like the Rado True, the Rado True Secret has rhodium-coloured hands. Completing this watch is a polished black bracelet. Despite its hefty 40mm size, it sits comfortably even on a smaller wrist, and all the diamonds give it that extra something.
The Rado Red Selection comprises elegant and stylish pieces that have just the right amount of red to avoid being flashy. Between these Chinese New Year must-have watches and viewing the gorgeous new Rado boutique, our time in Penang was definitely well spent.
This article first appeared on Jan 31, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.