Rado is one of those brands that I deeply respect, one that manages to offer a recognizable language and considerable diversity. On one hand, the Swiss brand offers its signature sleek ceramics in dark shades, but Rado also has its fingers firmly on the retro pulse with the Diastar and color-popping Captain Cook range. This time, we are invited into a world of fascinating movement and dial architecture laid bare with the new Rado True Square Automatic Skeleton.

Since its early days in 1917, founded as Schlup & Co. in Lengnau, Switzerland, Rado has been an innovator rather than a follower, and it shows in its broad range. We wouldn’t have the fashion-forward ceramics of Hublot or even Richard Mille if not for Rado’s pioneering work with this space-age material. As early as 1986, Rado debuted the material with the Integral watch and it was the first to offer a wristwatch on an all-ceramic bracelet, the Ceramica. The True Square series follows this innovative path with cool, linear complexity.

The Rado True Square Skeleton

The Rado True Square Automatic Skeleton makes an Haute impression

I won’t lie; I love the tough vintage lines of the Rado Captain Cook with its charming concave bezel, and I dig the UFO cool of the Diastar. But Rado’s futurist past deserves to be celebrated, and the True Square Automatic Skeleton follows the series mantra, “The shape of things to come.” The previous open-heart version of the True Square gave us a glimpse of the inner workings of the brand, a small taste (of things to come — sorry, I couldn’t help myself). This time, the new True Square Automatic Skeleton goes all the way with architectural beauty and a dramatic linear bridge design within the dial. I’m smitten, and from polar-white glamour to gray tech minimalism, the new trio turns out to be style chameleons.

The Rado True Square Skeleton

From architectural monochrome to cocktail cool

The three new references abound with details, all cast in the gloss-hard and still space-age ceramic but with distinct personalities. The 38mm case has a deliciously short 44.2mm lug-to-lug length, making it nearly perfect for a medium wrist like mine. And remember that a square watch wears larger. What is striking is how Rado has managed to pack so much exquisite mechanical drama into a 9.7mm-slim case, the dial intriguingly pulling the gaze into the movement depths.

The gleaming white version will appeal to both men and women, and to me, this one is F-R-E-S-H. Its techy look has a big dash of Haute Horlogerie glamour in the gold-colored details while maintaining a legibly fascinating dial. The soft angles of the case frame a scene where a new linear bridge design takes center stage. The center wheel bridge also plays a sparkly game, matching details like the gold-tone hands and indices.

A movement-infused dial

The two darker versions are equally suave. They lean on a darker aesthetic, with the gray Plasma High-Tech Ceramic version playing its monochrome style card best. It is equally understated and intricate, managing the challenging balance with ease. Rado’s designers have aced the contrasting horizontal black bridges dissecting the dial. This creates a split symmetry punctuated by small purple jewel pops. There are still small gold-toned details within the R808 caliber, but they stay quietly weaved into the mechanical tapestry of the dial.

The black version has the most rakish appearance of the three. It serves as a perfect foil to the smooth elegance of the glimmering white version. I enjoy the quiet nature of the gray model, but the combo of black and gold is never wrong, is it? This speaks to me in the unique Rado language we recognize from the ’80s and ’90s, now repurposed and honed. I’m not ashamed of my vanity, so for me, the well-placed gold details make this perhaps the strongest of the three and pure Rado.

A varied threesome

Well, I’m impressed. I enjoy ceramic watches anyway but even more so when they are amped up to the max, showing off their futurist soul. The R808 movement inside these has the perfect Swatch Group traits of a massive 80-hour power reserve and pro-spec Nivachron hairspring, but it all seems new. Yes, retro is great, but I’m all for this celebration of Rado’s design nous and tech-forward thinking. Each of these nuggets of tough-wearing ceramic is a perfect 38mm size, and they speak the unerringly distinct language of Rado’s unique style.

The Rado True Square Skeleton

The case has a titanium case back and a 50m water resistance rating, making it suitable for most of our everyday lives. Meanwhile, the three-link ceramic bracelet comes with a steel butterfly clasp and will stand up to the rigors of a dressed-up or casual lifestyle. Let’s face it, these are the perfect antidote to tool watches and will suit up with panache. The bonus is that these True Squares also possess a serious wrist presence when juxtaposed with a jeans-and-tee look. Is intricate beauty really versatile? I say yes, in every sense. The True Square Automatic Skeleton is available for €3,000. Go to Rado.com for more information and the possibility to either buy one online or reserve it in-store.

How about you, Fratelli? Do you feel tempted to embrace the tempting combo of high-tech ceramics and a skeletonized view?  Let me know in the comments.

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Watch specifications

True Square Automatic Skeleton
R27124162 (black) / R27126012 (white) / R27125152 (gray)
Skeletonized with two minimal bridges and minute track in black or white, applied indices in silver or gold tone
Case Material
High-Tech Ceramic (black or white) or Plasma High-Tech Ceramic (gray)
Case Dimensions
38mm (diameter) × 44.2mm (lug-to-lug) × 9.7mm (thickness)
Sapphire with antireflective coating
Case Back
Titanium with sapphire display window
Rado R808 — skeletonized, automatic winding, 21,600vph frequency, 80-hour power reserve
Water Resistance
5ATM (50m)
Three-row ceramic bracelet with stainless steel push-button butterfly clasp
Time only (hours, minutes, central seconds)