We take time with the Rado Golden Horse 1957.
If you’re following along here at Fratello, you’ll note that this is the second review of a Rado within a rather brief period of time. Recently, I reviewed a green-dialed Golden Horse, a watch that I concluded would make a great daily wearer. I’ll keep saying this until the effect wears off, but it’s really nice to have Rado in the mix of brands that people like myself (whatever that means) would actually consider for a purchase. Yes, the brand’s modern watches are definitely turning in the right direction. Today, though, we’re going decidedly retro as we take a close look at the limited edition Rado Golden Horse 1957.
We’ve said it before, but it was the limited edition Captain Cook dive watch that kick started things for Rado a few years back. It was very well received and Rado even came out with another version of this 37mm diver this year; this time with more of an aged looking dial color. Thankfully, though, with the reintroduction of the dressier Golden Horse line, the brand once again looked back upon its history and decided to commemorate the event with a special model. Actually, there are two but we will mention that later. The watch is the Rado Golden Horse 1957. It’s currently on sale and being produced in a series of, you guessed it, 1,957 pieces.
Making a retro dress watch in what could still be considered a smallish 36.5mm is a bit of a gutsy move. Come to think of it, it’s a very niche watch and probably not the type of thing that most associate with the Rado brand. But when something is this nicely executed, I almost feel like it’s my duty to get the word out there so that people actually do seek it out for a “try-on” at the local AD. Yes, we did a “Hot Take” on this watch when it first came out, but I was happy to have the chance to wear it on and off for a couple weeks.
Look, I get it that some people simply won’t consider a watch this size and there’s nothing that I’ll say to change that. So, I’m not offended if you wish to move on from the article. For the rest of you who stay, I’l just say that I think you’d really enjoy this watch. The Rado Golden Horse 1957 is one of those watches that just fits so nicely. With a lug to lug just over 40mm and a thickness of just over 14mm, it’s sweet on the wrist. The stainless steel case is a slender 10.8mm thick, but it’s enhanced with a domed sapphire crystal that, all at once, brings in a retro vibe and daily durability.
The case also sports thick polished lugs that give this relatively petite piece far more presence than numbers would suggest. I mentioned that the case finishing on the regular production Golden Horse was good, but somehow felt a tad cheap. I’d echo that sentiment here as the case sides feature vertical brushing that has a bit of a soft transition to the polished portions. It’s by no means a deal breaker, but this is an instance where one gets a hint about Rado’s place in the Swatch Group pecking order. But let’s move on because we’ve yet to discuss the best part of this watch: the dial.
If you do some digging on vintage Golden Horse models, there’s a good chance that you’ll come up with all sorts of dial variants. I, for one, struggled to come up with something as attractive as the fume dial found on the Rado Golden Horse 1957. If asked to come up with one word to sum it up, I’d go with “gorgeous”. The dial starts with black at the edges and lightens up to a burgundy somewhere around the innermost edges of the applied chrome indexes. It’s no Moser, but it’s also probably less than 10% of the cost of one of those lovely creations. The 1957 does contain a date window at 3:00 that’s also surrounded by a chrome box. The date wheel is white with red font and I really like it. Some will no doubt complain about the inclusion of a date, but it harkens back upon an era when having one was likely still a bit of a privilege.
We also get the Rado “anchor” at 12:00 (it’s also on the crown) and applied gold sea horses at 6:00. Chromed dagger hands and a simple sweep hand round out what is a fine-looking watch.
Covering up the expected ETA C07 (Powermatic 80) automatic is a steel screw-down case back. Similar to the retro Captain Cook editions, the Rado Golden Horse 1957 has a case back adorned with three sea horses that was used to tell owners that there watches were “Super Sealed”. Here, water resistance is 50 meters. We also see that the watch is not individually numbered, but simply one of 1,957 pieces.
The Rado Golden Horse 1957 is fitted with an embossed black leather strap that does its best to look like crocodile or alligator. It’s not bad, but it was too long for me. I found that surprising as this is a smaller watch, but I simply fitted a different 19mm strap. The pin buckle is subtly cool with some nice angling and the Rado signature on one side. No, it’s not a big deal, but I like the little touches.
I have to say that I really enjoyed wearing the Rado Golden Horse 1957. The dial alone is close to making the 1,710 Euro price tag worthwhile. I showed the watch to people and they really loved it. Some even asked about it without my prompting. So, yes, it seems that Rado has a minor hit on their hands with this one. Now, I had to access the vastly improved Rado site for some basic information on this watch and I stumbled upon a second 1957 model. And while it doesn’t feature quite the striking dial, it has what looks like a ridged black version. More importantly, though, it has a lovely looking beads of rice bracelet and the pricing is only 100 Euros more at 1,810. So, if you’re in the market for a dressier watch and you’d like something distinctive, classic and somewhat limited, I’d seriously recommend taking a look at the Golden Horse 1957. It’s so much better than most of the mindless three-hand “business watches” that I see on the wrist of so many people each and every day. Rado put some thought into making this watch and I’d probably say the same about those who ultimately decide to buy one.
For more information on the Rado Golden Horse 1957, visit the official Rado site.
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became... read more