8 Modern Rado Watches That Look Vintage

Feb 19, 2021
8 Modern Rado Watches That Look Vintage

Rado watches don’t get much love compared with other big names in the watch industry. I guess many watch enthusiasts would agree with that statement. However, despite not having a long list of fans, Rado is still something you should look out for as they have produced many appealing vintage watches.

Why collect vintage Rado watches?

Rado is one of those Swiss brands that often gets overlooked. Despite being an underdog, Rado watches are a treat to own. Here are some of the reasons why this brand deserves a spot in your well-curated watch collection.

Rado watches are easy to acquire.

Unlike vintage Rolex models, Rado watches are relatively easy to find. In fact, it is not common to see Rado watches that are overpriced on online watch shops. If you want a good vintage watch minus the headache brought to you by hunting for one, Rado watches should be on your list.

Rado watches are unique.

If Rado watches have only one defining characteristic, it is their unique and distinct aesthetic. Indeed, they have designs that make people know that it is a Rado watch even from afar. In fact, the brand has received numerous international design awards.

Furthermore, they are sometimes dubbed as “the master of materials” as they have created high-tech materials that are durable.

Best Vintage-looking Rado watches

1. Rado Captain Cook Brown Dial

Rado Captain Cook Brown Dial, Rado watches

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 42mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water-resistance: 200m

Why Is It Good?

It is safe to say that the Rado Captain Cook with a brown dial is one of the most-loved Rado watches. In fact, many people would think of this model when talking about the brand. This watch bears the original look from its 1962 predecessor. It has the same swinging anchor just below 12 o’clock, as well as the thick indexes as hour markers. Moreover, it has the same legibility that the first Captain Cook had.

While it has vintage details all over it, it does have a lot of features that can go face-to-face with modern dive watches. One of those features is its automatic movement which can power the watch for up to 80 hours. That’s almost four days of power! Furthermore, it has a water-resistance rating of 200m, thanks to its high-tech ceramic case.

For its strap, it boasts a leather brown that blends in well with the watch’s whole colour scheme. In case you’re more of a metal bracelet type of person, you’ll benefit from its EasyClip system. To demonstrate, this system lets you change straps by just fiddling with simple pins and bars without using any tools. You can personalise your Rado watches depending on your mood without any hassle.

2. Rado Original Diastar

Rado Original Diastar, Rado watches

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 38.5mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water-resistance: 100m

Why Is It Good?

Here’s a quick history lesson: the Rado Original Diastar was introduced in 1962 and was considered as the world’s first scratch-proof watch. During that time, watchmakers were in a race to find a material that wouldn’t scratch. But Rado beat them to it by opening its own metallurgy division where Rado’s watchmakers came up with the tungsten carbide. In addition to this durable material, they used sapphire glass to cover the dial. The result was one of the most memorable Rado watches in history.

Another thing that made the Diastar notable was its unique case shape. You can say that it is quite similar to a cushion-shaped watch case but larger. Back when it was first released, this design seemed futuristic which caught people’s attention. Through the years, it aged well and is still considered a classic until now.

This particular model that you can buy today has an upgraded automatic movement that is more aligned with modern needs. In particular, it has a whopping 80 hours of power reserve. Apart from that, it has top-notch accuracy that every watch lover would drool over.

Modern Diastars share the same oval shape as their ancestors. The only difference is that it uses the latest high-performance materials and movements. If you’re starting a collection of Rado watches, you shouldn’t miss this iconic beauty.

3. Rado Golden Horse Automatic R33930355

Rado Golden Horse Automatic R33930355

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 37mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water-resistance: 50m

Why Is It Good?

If you’re a fan of vintage dress watches, then the Rado Golden Horse Automatic Ref. No. R33930355 is right up your alley. This watch was originally released in 1957 and was made for elegant people who wear suits as their everyday uniform. It had the perfect 37mm size as well as a colourful dial that stands out, which is why it quickly became popular among watch collectors.

Thankfully, the reissue of the Golden Horse retains everything that people loved about the original. It has the same 37mm diameter, which a lot of people would agree is the “sweet spot”. But to exaggerate the retro design, it has a smoky red dial which was popular in the ’50s and ’60s. To add, it has a date window at 3 o’clock with a chrome box. The red font colour of the date may be off-putting to some, but I’ll admit that it makes it easy to read.

Flipping the watch over, you can see a screw-down caseback engraved with three seahorses with three stars. There is also an inscription that says “Limited edition one out of 1957”. If you remove the case, you’ll find an ETA C07 calibre, which is reliable and has a power reserve of 80 hours.

Completing the look of the watch is a black leather strap. While it is not exactly an alligator strap, it is embossed with patterns that make it look like one. This makes it perfect for your suit or sports coat!

4. Rado Golden Horse 1957 Limited Edition

Rado Golden Horse 1957 Limited Edition

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel
  • Case dimension: 37mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water-resistance: 50m

Why Is It Good?

If you loved the previous model but hate its colourway, then check out the Rado Golden Horse 1957 Limited Edition watch. Instead of red, it comes in a contrasting colour of green. In addition, it has the same smoky dial design as well as the 37mm case. 

On its dial, you’ll see the iconic oscillating anchor at the 12 o’clock position. Some fans would say that back in the day, they used this anchor as an indicator of when to bring the timepiece to the shop for maintenance. Moreover, the dial has a picture of two seahorses just above 6 o’clock.

Inside, it runs on the automatic ETA C07 calibre. It beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph and has a power reserve of 80 hours. You can say that this movement is an upgraded ETA 2824-2, which is a reliable workhorse. The movement is then covered by a caseback that has the same seahorse designs.

Instead of a leather strap, this one comes with a metal bracelet. This bracelet has a “beads of rice” design, which is comfortable and attractive at the same time. In fact, it gives the watch a vintage look that retro lovers will adore.

5. Rado Coupole Classic Automatic

Rado Coupole Classic Automatic

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel / PVD
  • Case dimension: 37.7mm 
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water-resistance: 50m

Why Is It Good?

A lot of people find it hard to believe that the Rado Coupole Classic Automatic is a newer watch. I can’t blame them because every inch of this piece screams vintage. Indeed, the brand even admits that it takes inspiration from Rado watches in the ’60s. 

Along with its elegant design are the modern features that you will find useful. A few to note are its sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, an automatic movement that can power the watch for up to 80 hours and, of course, a transparent sapphire caseback.

The dial is made of a cream background that has a sunray pattern. This makes it more visually stimulating especially when seen up close. Furthermore, it blends in well with the rose gold hands and markers, as well as the PVD-coated case.

To top it all off, it has a brown leather strap that makes the watch more appealing for vintage dress watch lovers.

6. Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook Limited Edition

Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook Limited Edition

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel, High-tech ceramic
  • Case dimension: 37.3mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water-resistance: 100m

Why Is It Good?

This is yet another Captain Cook model. The Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook Limited Edition watch takes the original look from 1962 and brings it to life in the modern era. It has a lot of vintage details that you would be hard-pressed to find the difference between this model and the old ones.

Of course, it bears the old-school bezel that Captain Cook became famous for. In particular, its bezel has a deep-dish shape, as well as a coin edge. When it comes to features, it rotates counter-clockwise with 120 clicks. The tracker is printed with a light grey colour that adds to the vintage appeal. Don’t worry though, as this is still easy to read during the day.

As this is inspired by Rado watches from 1962, it is limited to only 1,962 pieces. If you’re an owner of one, you’ll be reminded of this exclusivity with the engraving at the back. It says “One out of 1962” along with the classic seahorse and star design that Rado is known for.

If you’re a fan of Captain Cook or of Rado watches in general, this is a really nice piece to have. It has vintage styling, as well as up-to-date features that are useful in modern times.

7. Rado Coupole Classic Automatic R22879025

Rado Coupole Classic Automatic R22879025, Rado watches

Specs:

  • Case material: Stainless steel/PVD
  • Case dimension: 41mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water-resistance: 50m

Why Is It Good?

Another dress watch to look out for is the Rado Coupole Classic Automatic R22879025. Like the previous Coupole model, this one also gets inspiration from vintage Rado watches. In addition to the look, it boasts Rado’s distinctive elements like the sapphire crystal that ensures shine and protection.

Its case is made with stainless steel material that’s coated with PVD gold. Despite not being made with real gold, this timepiece gives off an elegant sheen that will make heads turn. Furthermore, its dial has a subtle diamond pattern that makes the watch unique. A useful addition to the dial is its power reserve indicator on the left side. It has a gauge that lets you know if it’s time to start winding your watch.

Inside is an automatic movement that can power the watch for up to 80 hours. This reliable calibre can be seen through the transparent sapphire case back.

Lastly, it is fitted with a dark brown leather strap that has an alligator pattern. This completes the whole look and ups the elegance up a notch.

8. Rado Manhattan

Rado Manhattan

Specs:

  • Case material: Titanium
  • Case dimension: 44mm
  • Movement: Automatic
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Water-resistance: 50m

Why Is It Good?

Last but not least is the well-loved Rado Manhattan. This model is unique for its rectangular shape that houses rectangular indexes and hands. To continue the theme, its day-date windows are also made with rectangles. While it may sound weird on paper, the picture above is proof that eccentric designs can look good.

Modern Rado Manhattans retain this iconic look. The only difference is that its case is now made with PVD-coated titanium. This makes it 40% lighter than its stainless steel counterparts. Furthermore, it has a sapphire crystal that protects the dial from external forces.

As it is a special version, this watch is limited to only 1,965 pieces. The number is in honour of the year the Rado Manhattan was first released — 1965. Indeed, this is one of the best Rado watches that every collector should have.

Final Notes

These modern versions of Rado watches will fool you into thinking that they’re from the past. If you want a good combination of vintage styling and modern features, these are the best choices.

 

Can’t get enough of vintage watches? Here are the best 24-hour watches for the vintage lover!

 

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