Celebrating Le Corbusier with the Rado True Square Thinline
Rado presents its signature ceramic watch collection in a series of timeless colors created by the renowned Swiss architect.
The Rado True Square with its iconic square-shaped case and integrated bracelet builds upon a vital part of the brand’s design history, reflecting its enduring commitment to both innovation and aesthetic appeal. Launched in 2020, the materials used in the True Square are also quintessentially Rado; the watches are impeccably crafted from high-tech ceramic and sapphire crystal.
Rado is a true pioneer in the use of ceramic for watches. Since its first watch collection in 1957, the brand has been at the forefront of materials innovation. It was one of the first brands to use high-tech, scratch resistant materials for its watch cases. A milestone was marked by the 1962 DiaStar 1, which established Rado’s reputation as a “Master of Materials.” In the early days of ceramic and ceramic hybrids, the material could only be shaped into straight lines. Rado took the design constraints in its stride, giving rise to the brand’s vintage classics such as the award-winning Ceramica watch launched in 1990, and the Sintra watch introduced in 1993, both of which were presented in square cases. In fact, Rado’s CEO, Mr. Adrian Bosshard, has been proudly wearing his Rado Ceramica for more than 20 years, and believes that the watch has retained its original allure and gets even better with age. By the early 2000s, the square shape had become an essential element of the company’s identity.
Mr. Bosshard stated, “Rado has been known for many decades as the Master of Materials and for its distinct design and shapes. When watches were predominantly round, we experimented with rectangular shapes. We are fortunate that we can turn for inspiration to our own iconic watches that were produced in the ’60s and ’70s and bring those styles to the 21st century by equipping them with the most modern watchmaking technologies.”
In 2011, Rado achieved another breakthrough. The watchmaker began manufacturing its Swiss-made timepieces using a technique called injection molding to fashion monobloc watch cases. This process allowed almost every part of the watch to be built directly into the ceramic structure. As a result, designers had a wider range of options, such as enlarging the dial opening, creating intricate full ceramic bracelets, adding transparent sapphire casebacks, and experimenting with colors — in particular, watches in timeless and aesthetically pleasing colors have become a signature of Rado.
Achieving the desired colors through monobloc construction requires a high degree of technical precision. The ceramic case — comprising zirconium oxide — is sintered in a special oven reaching temperatures of 1,450 degrees Celsius, which initially gives the ceramic a beige color. It is then passed through a second oven, where specific gases activate the color, giving the ceramic its intended appearance.
Rado must be meticulous in mixing the compound to achieve certain colors, as some hues are particularly challenging to create. Additionally, meeting specific aesthetic demands, such as having a ceramic bracelet with all links in the same color matched to both the case and the crown, adds further complexity.
The end result is an ergonomic watch in an attractive color that is lightweight, scratch resistant, and comfortable. It is not only functional but also serves as a statement piece. At a time when the market is saturated with stainless steel watches, Rado’s range of high-tech ceramic timepieces, developed in a variety of striking colors over the past few years, is a remarkable achievement. Thanks to new technologies that have opened the doorway to new design possibilities, ceramic now serves as an ideal canvas for Rado, allowing the brand to explore various shapes and colors. The combination of high-tech materials and unique design have made Rado’s watches both durable and beautiful to behold.
The colors of Le Corbusier
Where colors are concerned, Rado has taken inspiration from the best. In 2019, for the first time, the brand adopted the color palettes of the influential Swiss-born architect and designer Le Corbusier. Born in 1887 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, which coincidentally is the cradle of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Le Corbusier played a pivotal role in shaping the modernist movement of the 20th century. His groundbreaking work in architecture, design and urban planning continues to inspire generations. Additionally, Le Corbusier’s theory of color has left a lasting impact, leading to the development of an enduring Architectural Polychromy, a tool for the compelling use of colors in architectural design. In 1931, he introduced a palette of 43 shades, which were further extended in 1959 with the addition of 20 bolder tones to make a total of 63 classic hues. These colors, described by Le Corbusier as “architectural, naturally harmonious, and able to be combined in any way,” remain relevant and influential to this day. Les Couleurs Suisse A.G., under the auspices of the Fondation Le Corbusier, holds the exclusive license to these colors.
Since 2019, Les Couleurs Suisse has granted Rado the license to incorporate Les Couleurs Le Corbusier into its ceramic timepieces. Embracing this challenge with enthusiasm, the watch brand successfully integrated these vibrant colors into the round cased True Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier collection. The launch of this collection marked the first time that Rado combined colorful ceramic elements in a single timepiece.
Color, alongside innovative design, cutting-edge materials, and exceptional watchmaking finesse, defines the watches in the remarkable and minimalist True Thinline collection. When you look at a watch, the first thing that catches your eye is undoubtedly the color. Le Corbusier himself recognized the profound impact of color, stating that it is an “incredibly effective triggering tool and a factor of our existence.” First released in a series of nine models powered by quartz movements, this year sees Rado boosting its Thinline range with three new True Square Thinline timepieces that epitomize minimalist sophistication.
The new Rado True Square Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier watches comprise three visually stunning interpretations, each exemplifying the quality and performance that defines every Rado watch. What sets these watches apart is their bold yet understated combination of alluring colors.
One of the interpretations features an iron gray matte high-tech ceramic monobloc case and crown. The dial, visible through the sapphire crystal, boasts an iron gray sun-brushed finish with slightly grayed English green printed indexes and hands, complemented by the Rado logo. The watch is presented on an iron gray matte high-tech ceramic bracelet with mid-links in slightly grayed English green ceramic, secured with a PVD-coated titanium threefold clasp.
The second reference in the collection showcases a gray brown natural umber matte high-tech monobloc ceramic case, exuding a calm and compelling color statement. The gray brown natural umber sun-brushed dial perfectly harmonizes with the case, as does the gray brown natural umber and cream white matte high-tech ceramic bracelet, fastened with a PVD-coated titanium threefold clasp.
The third member of the True Square Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier line boldly embraces watchmaking’s classic color. It features an ivory black matte high-tech monobloc ceramic case and crown, accompanied by a tone- on-tone sun-brushed black dial. The ivory black high-tech ceramic bracelet flawlessly matches the case, while the ivory black printed indexes and Rado logo complete the overall presentation.
These timepieces boast discreet dimensions, measuring 37mm by 43.3mm, with a thickness of only 5mm. The full high-tech ceramic construction ensures exceptional wearer comfort. Notably, the casebacks are digitally printed on the sapphire crystal, showcasing the iconic Le Corbusier color strips, along with the inscriptions “Le Corbusier Signature Polychromie Architecturale” and “Limited Edition One of 999.” All three watches are fitted with Rado’s quartz movement to deliver a slim case.
For avid collectors, Rado has created a truly special offering — a striking collector’s box featuring a new True Square Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier timepiece in classic black, accompanied by eight round True Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier models from the current collection. This exclusive blend of explosive colors, extraordinary design and high-tech materials is limited to just 99 pieces. However, individual purchases of these watches are also available.
Inspired by the uniquely chromatic vision of one of the world’s most renowned designers, the Rado True Square Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier watches are sublime expressions of the brand’s expertise as the Master of Materials as well as its dedication towards pushing the boundaries in design to appeal to the next generation of watch enthusiasts and collectors.
Rado True Square Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier
References: R27045162 (iron gray and green); R27046172 (natural umber and cream white); R27062152 (ivory black)
Movement: R420 quartz movement
Case: 37mm × 43.3mm; matte high-tech monobloc ceramic; water resistant to 30m
Dial: Sun-brushed iron gray, umber or black; indexes and Rado logo color-coordinated with bracelet mid-links
Strap: Color-coordinated matte high-tech ceramic; PVD-coated titanium triple folding clasp
Price: From USD 2,200
Availability: Limited production of 999 pieces for each reference; special collector’s box sets composed of one ivory black model with eight True Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier timepieces sold in a limited edition of 99 pieces