Swiss watchmaker Rado, known for its use of high-tech materials, has a rich back catalogue of diverse designs, including the funky spaceship-shaped DiaStar 1 from 1962. Today, the modern incarnation has been outfitted with an open-worked dial and a Ceramos bezel, resulting in the DiaStar Original Skeleton. This new model lays bare a variant of the R808 automatic calibre, now entirely coated in an anthracite hue for aesthetic enhancement.

It might be interesting to note that the boom in UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) sightings, which captured the Western world’s imagination, also began in the 1960s. Perhaps it’s no pure coincidence that the original DiaStar’s unusual case shape resembled those mysterious flying saucers spotted back then. It’s certainly not hard to imagine it as the kind of watch the Star Trek characters might have sported with their Starfleet uniforms (a show also launched in the same decade).

A 60s-reboot

Fast forward sixty years, and a fascination with outer space is no longer trendy among consumers. However, Rado’s use of high-tech material, as alien to the watchmaking industry as UFOs are to earthlings, remains relevant. In 2022, Rado celebrated the model’s 60th anniversary with a reboot featuring a Ceramos bezel and a hexagonal faceted crystal. Lex has shared some history of the model and his hands-on experience in-depth in his reviews, so we won’t repeat what’s already known.

The open dial

Moving into 2023, Rado returns to the retro design in yet another direction with an open-worked dial, now showing only the three time indicators (or hands). There’s no date or day of the week, for that matter (which the 60th Anniversary also lacks). However, it has reinterpreted the hexagonal crystal into one featuring a square flat top with eight sloped facets. The underside flaunts printed white Rado and DiaStar logos. This latest release, the DiaStar Original Skeleton, introduces a visually intricate version to the already substantial family of this model.

The open heart

The dial, thoughtfully designed with specific drill-outs, showcases elements of the Rado R808 automatic movement (base ETA), visible through the transparent case back. This enhanced movement includes 25 jewels and an antimagnetic Nivachron hairspring, beating steadily at 21,600vph (3Hz) while offering a whopping 80-hour power reserve. Its performance exceeding standard testing requirements across 3 to 5 positions ensures higher accuracy. It’s reliable, durable, and everything you want in a decent movement.

Ceramos alloy

With all that said, the defining trait of any DiaStar, DiaStar Original Skeleton included, is its case shape and its special alloy bezel, which is designed to be scratch-proof. And since last year, Rado has been crafting DiaStar’s bezels in Ceramos—a ceramic-metal composite known as “cermet.” The name is derived from its blend (CERamic-METal) of 90% high-tech ceramic (titanium carbide or TiC) and 10% binder metal.

High-tech ceramic

Thirty years ago, Rado started using this alloy to combine TiC’s hardness with the binder’s stiffness and metallic appearance. And in 2011, a breakthrough occurred when it became injectable into a precision mold. Subsequently, Rado trademarked this new tech and named it “Ceramos.” The material was first revealed to the world in the case of the D-Star watch.

Today, the Ceramos injection process has evolved to accommodate free form to make any shape possible. That means more than just shapes like round and square. And the DiaStar bezel is a testament to that. There is one caveat: though Ceramos shares composition similarities with ceramics, it requires a significantly longer machining and polishing process, often achieved through barreling.

A final thought on the Rado Diastar Original Skeleton

As for the case body, Rado opted for a polished stainless steel middle part. The watch measures 38mm across, 45mm lengthwise, and sits 11.9mm tall. It offers water resistance up to 10 bar (100m). After a skeleton makeover, the new variant looks decidedly more modern. Whether you’re into retro or edgy vibes, the DiaStar Original Skeleton has a fabulous mix of old and new that’s sure to catch the eye. The piece comes on a H-link bracelet in polished and brushed stainless steel and is priced at €2,300.

For more information, visit the Rado official website.

Watch specifications

DiaStar Original Skeleton
Black annular dial with flying yellow gold colour indexes with white Super-LumiNova®. White printed minute track and gold coloured moving anchor symbol on red background
Case Material
Stainless steel with polished Ceramos™ bezel
Case Dimensions
Diameter: 38mm, lug-to-lug: 45mm, thickness: 11.9mm
Square faceted sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating inside
Case Back
Rado calibre R808, automatic, 25 jewels, 3 hands, 80-hour power reserve, antimagnetic Nivachron™ hairspring, exceeds standard test requirements from 3 to 5 positions for higher accuracy, movement fully coated in anthracite
Water Resistance
10 bar (100m)
Polished and brushed stainless steel with 3-fold clasp and EasyClip system
Hours, minutes, central seconds