It’s no secret that we are fans of the Rado brand here at Fratello. Especially the vintage-inspired timepieces. These throwback fancies are loved by many Fratello team members. But the brand also made its mark in the 1990s with the introduction of a series of black ceramic watches. The material, the color, and the minimalist design propelled the Rado name to the forefront of the watch industry. The all-new Rado True Square Automatic Open Heart is a brand new addition to the Rado collection that takes us back to that time. And it brings back a lot of memories.

Whenever I think of Rado, I think of its fully black ceramic watches. As a teenager, the sight of a black Rado Ceramica in a retailer’s shop window was always something special. The thing I remember most about them is the fact that my mother actually liked them. She has never been a real watch person, and the notable watches she has, have been gifts from my dad. So it was somewhat surprising that my mom expressed her love for a watch.

And not just some watch. This series of minimalist black ceramic watches stood out from the crowd. You could not miss them when passing a shop window of a watch retailer. I was intrigued by the color, the material, and the minimalist design of the bracelet like watches. So whenever I see a black ceramic Rado, it always brings me back to the great family holidays in the 1990s when we would see them a lot in cities we would visit.

Rado’s pioneering spirit

Therefore it was great to see that Rado reintroduced the Ceramica collection to their line-up in 2016. The updated collection still looks uniquely different from a lot of watches out there. It will always have a special place in my heart. And it’s also a great reminder of the pioneering spirit of the brand. Because Rado had been searching for the best materials long before the Ceramica was introduced. Ever since the early 1960s the brand was focused using new materials and creating the world’s first scratch-proof watch. And with the release of the Diastar in 1962, the brand kicked off a long tradition of finding cutting-edge materials for their watches.

And in today’s watch industry the search for new durable lightweight materials is ongoing. Quite a few brands have also taken up the challenge to push the limits of what is possible. But it’s good to be reminded of the special place that Rado has over the decades when it comes to materials and design. Currently, the Rado collection is a great mix of different styles. At Fratello, we love the vintage-inspired classics from the 1950 and ’60s like the Captain Cook and the Golden Horse. And as you would have guessed I have a special place in my heart for the boundary-pushing minimalist timepieces from the 1980s and ’90s like the Ceramica and the Integral.

Rado True Square collection

The new True Square collection is part of that 80s and 90s spirit of the Rado brand. The True Square collection was introduced in October of this year and features a series of mechanical and quartz watches. They are a celebration of the iconic Rado square high-tech ceramic timepieces. The idea of the collection was to use the iconic square shape and combine it with Rado’s new high-tech ceramic injected-monobloc technology. A technology that is an industry first. For previous collections, Rado used high-tech ceramic that was pressed. For the True Square collection, Rado uses a monoblock case made from injection-moulding technology.

The collection features a total of 15 regular references. On top of that Rado has also introduced three limited-edition collaboration versions that show the incredible versatility of the True Square design. Within the collection the True Square Automatic Open Heart models are without a doubt the most extravagant. I had a chance to go hands-on with the black ceramic True Square Automatic Open Heart. It turned out to be a trip down memory lane that reminded me of what makes Rado such a great brand.

The Rado True Square Automatic Open Heart

The moment the black ceramic True Square Automatic Open Heart arrived at the Fratello offices, the opinions were strong. And it’s that kind of watch. It’s very much a love or hate kinda reaction the moment you see it. The watch is characterized by its overall black presence and the open-worked dial. Compared to the regular True Square Automatic, it breaks with the minimalist design approach. The watch is extravagant as a result of the black and gold color combination and the open-worked dial.

My first impressions? In all honesty, this is not a watch that I would gravitate towards usually. It’s flashy and I’m usually not a big fan of open-worked watches. I love nothing better than a really well designed minimalist watch so that is what I usually prefer. And Rado is known for its minimalist approach for their fully ceramic watches so my initial preference would be the regular True Square Automatic. But I have to say I was intrigued.

Both extravagant and modest

The True Square Automatic Open Heart is available in three different versions. The first is the plasma (dark grey) variant with a blue dial with silver indices and hands. The second is a fully white ceramic version with a white dial with diamond indices and gold hands.

It makes it a bit less flashy on the wrist.

The black variant in this review comes with a black dial, gold indices, and hands. The hands and indices have Super-LumiNova inserts. The watch features a modest 38mm square case with a 9.7mm height. It doesn’t make the watch less extravagant but it makes it a bit less flashy on the wrist.

The watch has an integrated black ceramic bracelet creating a lightweight, durable, and hypoallergenic watch. The typical shiny metallic finish is another reminder of those early 1990s Ceramica models. The True Square Automatic Open Heart has two sapphire crystals on both the front and back. They showcase the decorated automatic movement.

The Rado Caliber C07

The True Square Automatic Open Heart is powered by the Rado Caliber C07. The movement is based on the ETA C07.111 movement that we also know as the Powermatic. The movement operates at 21,600 vibrations per hour, has 25 jewels and a power reserve of 80 hours. The standard Calibre C07 features hours, minutes, hacking seconds, and a date indication. But for the True Square Automatic Open Heart models, the date is not used.

The movement is visible through the open-worked dial that has a combination of straight and circular shapes. There is a large round aperture at 12 o’clock that houses the balance wheel. And there is a smaller round aperture at 7 o’clock. In order to make the round movement fit the square shape of the watch and the dial, Rado used a cutout plate that is decorated with Côtes de Genève. The movement itself is decorated with a combination of perlage and Côtes de Genève, making sure there is a lot to see on both sides of the watch.

Wearing the True Square Automatic Open Heart

After my initial thoughts and even some reservations when it comes to the looks, I was absolutely amazed by how comfortable the watch wears. It should come as no surprise really, but I was blown away by it. The True Square Automatic Open Heart is incredibly lightweight, the size is perfect because it’s not too big and flashy and the feel of the ceramic is soft and comfortable.

The integrated ceramic bracelet with the folding clasp and twin pushers is very well made and really hugs the wrist. I know we use those words more often but I can honestly say that this felt like a warm and genuine hug. It makes the watch an absolute joy to wear. You can debate looks all you want but when it comes to comfort there are not many watches that beat the True Square.

At 120 grams the watch is light-weight and when it slipped under my cuff, I sometimes almost forgot I was wearing a watch. But once the watch slips out from under your cuff, there is no denying you are wearing a very extravagant watch. But despite my initial doubts about its looks, I started enjoying the watch more and more the longer I had it on my wrist.

Final thoughts

And that is probably the most surprising conclusion after wearing the Rado True Square Automatic Open Heart for some time. As I mentioned earlier, if you are not a fan of its looks, you probably will not come near this watch. But if you like an extravagant watch with an open-worked dial that is incredibly comfortable and light-weight, this could be a watch for you. The watch is available for €2,350 which is reasonable for what you are getting in terms of materials, movement, and finishing. But once again, you would have to like its looks. There is no way around the extravagant aesthetic of the watch.

One of my secret favorites of 2020.

For me, the Rado True Square Automatic Open Heart was a great reminder of what makes Rado so special. I hadn’t experienced any of their fully ceramic watches in quite some time. But this was a nice change from the Captain Cook and Golden Horse models I have grown to love. It was a great trip down memory lane for me as it reminded me of the great family holidays I enjoyed so much as a teenager. And I like that about watches. They remind you of great stories and memories. And while I am not necessarily sold on the watch’s looks, I do love that it sparked those emotions. And that’s why I secretly enjoy Rado True Square Automatic Open Heart quite a lot.

Watch specifications

True Square Automatic Open Heart
Black open-worked dial
Case Material
Black ceramic
Case Dimensions
Diameter - 38mm x38mm, height - 9.7mm
Case Back
Sapphire crystal diplay case back
Rado automatic caliber C07, 21,600vph, 25 jewels, 80 hours powerd reserve
Water Resistance
50 Meters
Black ceramic integrated bracelet with hidden folding clasp and twin pushers
Hours, minutes, hacking seconds