On the occasion of its 60th anniversary, Rado set out to reimagine its hallmark timepiece, the DiaStar Original. Much like the various iterations the watch had undergone over the course of its history, the 2022  redesign sought to strike the right balance between innovation and tradition. Together with acclaimed designer Alfredo Häberli, the Swiss watchmaker created a modern take on the famed DiaStar Original.

First introduced at the Mustermesse watch fair in Basel (Switzerland) in 1962, the Rado DiaStar was born out of a desire to “give the world an accurate watch of lasting beauty.” It was the product of three years of research and development, the result being the world’s first scratch-proof watch made from metal alloy instead of fragile gold or brass. The material was groundbreaking in its strength and thanks to its sleek design, the DiaStar captured the attention of watch aficionados globally – effectively setting the bar for Rado’s future designs. 

A 1960's advertisement for the DiaStar Original watch highlighting its scratch-proof design. Photo Credit: Rado

Already a watch enthusiast and collector himself, Häberli approached the redesign project with the goal of “preserving the strong personality of the iconic model while adding some contemporary features.” The features included making small geometric adaptations to the case to make it look lighter and slimmer. The faceted cut of the watch glass was also reinterpreted in a hexagonal form meant as a nod to the 60th anniversary, and the hands and date display were designed to give off a modern and abstract feeling. 

Seen here, a few of Häberli's redesign sketches. Photo Credit: Rado

Versatility was also a key consideration, as Häberli was keen to create a useful piece that would add value to the Rado DiaStar legacy. This is reflected in the choice to offer two alternative straps, a stainless-steel mesh bracelet and a grey textile, which are interchangeable via an EasyClip system. 

The redesign also extends beyond shape and size to include the watch’s material composition. The DiaStar Original 60 Year Anniversary Edition was made using Rado’s signature material, Ceramos, an innovative composite material that combines the hardness of ceramic with the toughness and lustre of metal alloy.

The faceted cut of the watch is hexagonal as a nod to the 60th anniversary. Photo Credit: Rado

One of the main challenges faced during the redesign process was related to scale. As Häberli pointed out, architecture is a matter of centimetres, industrial design deals in millimetres, but watch design takes every micron into account. “When you are able to see that clearly, it is much more simple to adapt the approach to this scale.”

As noted by Rado, the goal was essentially to propose a revisited model that would keep the essence of the watch, combining the right balance between original characteristics and innovation. Häberli succeeded in this approach by joining modern materials, technology and design.

The watch's strap can be interchanged between a stainless-steel mesh and grey textile. Photo Credit: Rado

And while one would think that redesigning an iconic product such as the Rado DiaStar Original could be quite lengthy or intimidating process, the entire project was completed in under one year. On Häberli’s part, he spent a mere two weeks completing his interpretation of the redesign, likely due to the fact that the designer has been immersed in the design of watches for the last forty years. 

Launched in September 2022, the DiaStar Original 60-Year Anniversary Edition represents the next chapter in Rado’s design legacy. With subtle but notable changes, and in keeping the strong personality of its predecessor, “the redesigned watch stands today as it did in 1962 – for dependability, beauty and endless wearing pleasure.” 

To learn more about the Rado Diastar Original 60-Year Anniversary Edition, visit www.rado.com. 

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