Looks like gold, wears like ceramic

The Rado DiaMaster Ceramos Automatic Is Made Of An Innovative New Material


September 5, 2018 Reviews By Photo by Hunter D. Kelley
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A rose gold watch may have its charms, but one trait it certainly does not exhibit is an ability to fly under the radar, and you might have to be careful where you wear one. There’s also a good chance that you’d be inclined to be overly precious with a rose gold watch, despite the fact that its being an alloy of gold and copper and renders it a (relatively) robust precious metal.

Rado’s newest offering, the DiaMaster Ceramos Automatic (available for pre-order in mid-October for $2,250), comes in both a steel-colored and rose gold-colored finish, but you won’t have to worry about babying this watch while you wear it — it’s made out of Rado’s proprietary Ceramos material, a mix of 90% high-tech ceramic and 10% metal alloy that is injected at high pressure into a precision mold before being sintered to achieve its final hardness.

The Good: Rado is a brand mostly known for its innovation in the realm of materials, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint with DiaMaster Ceramos. The rose gold color on the DiaMaster I received for review isn’t the result of a PVD or DLC coating – it’s “baked in there,” so to speak, the result of the formation of Ceramos at high pressure. This material won’t fade or lose its shine, and yet it has a convincingly beautiful rose gold sheen. The two gold-colored hands against a silver-white background with applied rose gold-colored indices make for a simple and elegant dress watch.

Who They’re For: Someone who wants a rose gold-colored watch without having to worry about A. theft or B. scratching the crap out of an expensive gold case will appreciate this watch, as will someone on the hunt for a simple dress watch with a quality movement (more on that later). Further, anyone who cares about the use of unique materials in watchmaking will likely already be aware of Rado and be attracted to the brand for that very reason.

Watch Out For: The inclusion of the date on a two-handed watch is interesting and I imagine will probably be somewhat polarizing; generally the thought process on a 2-handed dress watch seems to be that since the watch is intended for use during a special occasion (perhaps a black-tie occasion in formalwear?), the indication of passing seconds is unnecessary, as this is largely extraneous information when one is sipping champagne and dancing the…what the hell do people dance these days?

So to me, if you’re not going to include a seconds hand on your dress watch, then there’s likely no reason to include the date. “Sharon, what’s the date? today?” is likely to be met with a cry of, “What does it matter, Harold — finish your cocktail so we can go home already! I’ve had it with this gala.”

Of course, this is largely a matter of personal opinion. I also wish this watch were 36mm in diameter rather than 41mm, but, again, that could just be me — on larger guys a 41mm case looks right at home.

Alternatives: While there are certainly plenty of 2-handed dress watches out there, and plenty of ceramic watches, and plenty of rose gold dress watches, finding one that ticks all of these boxes is a tall order. Go ahead, try it — type in “rose gold-colored ceramic 2-handed date dress watch” into Google and watch Larry Page and Sergey Brin laugh at you from across the internet.

That being said, if you’re looking for another rose gold-colored dress watch with automatic movement and date (and you don’t care about having a ceramic case), you could spend far less money on the Tissot Everytime Swissmatic in 40mm ($495), or the Runabout Automatic from Frederique Constant ($1895), with its 42mm rose gold-plated stainless steel case and automatic movement. There’s also the Mido Baroncelli III Automatic ($1090), with a 39mm rose gold-PVD stainless steel case.

Review: The DiaMaster Ceramos is a nice-looking, well-built watch — I should get that out of the way. I showed this thing around the office and got lots of “Ooo, what’s that?”s out of people, which is generally a sign of approval where I come from. I believe that the things I object to in this particular watch are more a matter of personal opinion, but we’ll get to those in a second.

You know what, make it two seconds — we have a bunch of stuff to go over, here. First of all, this is a clean, attractive dial that retains classic dress watchmaking cues while still managing to update the look for the 21st century. You have a white, almost pearl-looking dial against which the rose gold-colored indices and baton hands stand out well, and the date is unobtrusive at 6 o’clock. Above the company name on the dial is a tiny anchor, Rado’s logo, that actually rotates through 360 degrees as you move the watch, which is evidently Rado’s method for signifying that this particular watch is mechanical/automatic, as opposed to quartz (the word “Automatic” is also featured on the dial, so the moving anchor logo may be overkill, but it’s a nice detail and makes for a dynamic dial — I imagine it’s also a major pain-in-the-ass to manufacture, but whatever).

The edges on the Ceramos’s monobloc case curve downward on an angle that makes for a case back whose surface area is significantly smaller than that of the dial, which, to me, gives the impression of an even taller watch. The 22mm lugs are multi-faceted and the sapphire/titanium case back gives a literal window onto the 21-jewel ETA A31.L01, which is nicely decorated and actually worth seeing in action. The curved sapphire crystal features a double-AR coating and the crown is of the non-screw down variety. While the watch is only water-resistant to 5 bar, this shouldn’t be an issue for a dress watch that at most will likely only see a few errant drops of water in a sudden rainstorm.

The Ceramos ships on a 22mm brown leather strap with stainless steel deployant clasp. I’ll say right off the bat that this strikes me as a well-made leather strap with a functional clasp…

…I’ll then go on to say that I believe there is a special circle in hell reserved for deployant clasps (it’s in between the circle for phantom date wheels and the one for bezels on which the pip doesn’t properly align with “12”). I hate them. I don’t care who makes them or how well they’re made — to me, either give me a bracelet or give me a strap (“or, alternatively, give me death!”) — don’t give me some strange half-breed that was thought up in Frankenstein’s Horological Laboratory.

All that said, I realize that these views are fairly extreme, and likely only represent those of a tiny portion of the watch-buying population (and that I likely have anger-management issues and should seek professional help).

At 41mm wide by 8.3mm tall, the Ceramos is by no means “svelte” as far as dress watches go, but it’s certainly proportioned well for someone who does prefer a larger dress watch. Given that we appear to be on the back end of the Watch Diameter Bell Curve and that many brands seem to finally understand that many of us collectively want smaller watches, it’s admittedly a bit surprising to see a new release from Rado in such a large diameter — especially on a dress watch — and it will be interesting to see if these are scaled down in the future.

Verdict: The DiaMaster Ceramos is a well-made watch cased in a new material by a brand that focuses heavily on and is known primarily for material innovation. Someone who appreciates this level of innovation at the materials level is going to like this watch for that reason, while someone who wants a rose gold-colored watch is going to like it for looking like it’s made of rose gold without actually costing an arm and a leg. Personally, though I myself favor smaller dress watches, I think that if these qualities appeal to you, there’s certainly no reason not to consider the Cermaos.

Key Specs

Movement: ETA A31.L01
Winding: Automatic
Case Diameter: 41mm
Case Height: 8.3mm
Case Material: Rose gold-colored Ceramos

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Oren Hartov is Gear Patrol's watches editor. He knows what time it is, and one or two other things.

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