RADO HyperChrome Touch Dual Timer — hands-on review
Usually, when I receive a watch to review, I have to send it back after a week or two. This time, thanks to Swatch Group Canada, I could spend a month with a Rado HyperChrome Touch Dual Timer, a period of time that was long enough to have a deeper appreciation of this rather unconventional watch that keeps its high-tech DNA hidden from the ignorant eye.
The RADO HyperChrome Touch Dual Timer at a glance
Reference number of the reviewed model: 765.0114.3.015
ETA F11.001, quartz, 10 jewels, 4 hands, touch without crown, second time zone.
Dimensions (WxLxH in mm): 42.0 x 48.3 x 10.2
Polished black high-tech ceramic, monobloc construction pressed on titanium case back with black PVD coating;
pressed on curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides
Water-resistant to 5 bar (50 m)
Sunbrushed black, 12 rhodium coloured applied indexes with white Super-LumiNova®
rhodium coloured applied second time zone counter
rhodium applied Rado logo
3-row polished black high-tech ceramic links
titanium 3-fold clasp
At first glance, the design of the HyperChrome Touch Dual Timer, falls in line with other Rado watched, characterized by simple lines, rounded shapes and a minimalist approach to the dial. Probably even more than other models, this HyperChrome is really a unisex watch that was designed to appeal to both men and women.
The colour of the black polished high-tech ceramic is rather difficult to describe. It’s not that deep-space black that would absorb the light; it is a unique shade. In one moment, I would see it as dark titanium grey, then if the light changes it turns into black with a slight bluish hue.
The actual dial of the production model is a bit different from the watch I reviewed. On the production model, the logo will be a bit more prominent and it will also have DUAL TIMER written under it. Despite these changes, the dial remains very clean and functional.
On the main dial, the sunbrushed black disc bears 12 narrow rhodium coloured indexes that are filled with Super-LumiNova. The hands – I would call them chopstick hands as they are a bit narrower at their tip — are also rhodium coloured and filled with luminous colour on their tip.
The sub-dial, surrounded with a rhodium coloured ring, has the same sunbrushed finish as the main dial. Unlike on the main dial, at the 12 and 6 o’clock, numerals are replacing the small applied indexes. The hands of the sub-dial too received luminous treatment.
When I would show around the watch, people would not even realize that the crown is missing. The shape of the case is in line with the rest of the HyperChrome collection and at 42 mm is a size that can fit all. The curved lugs embrace the wrist, keeping the watch tight without being uncomfortable.
The sapphire crystal is slightly curved, making the watch 10.2 mm high, which I find quite surprising as this watch feels and looks thinner than 1 cm.
How to set the time?
This is quick instruction that if you don’t have the watch, you can just scroll down and skip, but for those who are planing to purchase this watch, I have a few tips here for them.
I saw people, in their ignorance, criticizing this watch that because of its touch functionality, they would change the time by mistake, just by touching it. Well, let get things straight, this can’t happen. First of all, the touch functionality is not that responsive that you would activate it by mistake. Secondly, Rado has made sure to include a two step unlocking procedure to further avoid such an eventuality.
Here is a little tip that you won’t find in Rado’s instruction booklet. According to Rado, you have to touch the case of the watch at certain points, but it is not the side of case that is sensitive, but the top part; imagine the touch sensitive region in the small crack between the case and the bezel. The right way of touching is a gentle, yet firm gesture.
Set the main time zone
Touch the at 10 o’clock for two seconds until you hear a BEEP and you see the minute hand moving slightly. Quickly slide down your finger on the side of the case from 2 to 4 o’clock, it will BEEP again. This will activate the main dial. To change the hour hand, slide your finger up or down, on the left hand side of the case, between 8 and 10 o’clock. To set the minute hand, do the same on the opposite side, between 2 and 4 o’clock.
You will notice that by changing the time on the main dial, the second time zone too will change as the tow are synchronized.
To confirm and lock your setting, touch the case at 10 o’clock for two seconds until you hear 2 BEEPS.
Set the second time zone (small dial)
To change the time on the small dial, touch the case at 8 o’clock for two seconds, you’ll hear the BEEP, then in the same way as with the main dial, you slide your finger on the case between 2 and 4 o’clock. When you hear the BEEP again, you’ll know that you’re ready to set the time. Hours are changed on the left side and minutes on the right side. Unlike the main dial, minutes will be set by 15 minutes interval, making easy to adjust the second time zone.
Time zone swap
This is the most spectacular among all the other settings. I would just use it, just for the sake of seeing the hands performing their dance.
First, you need to activate the touch function, just like before, you go either with the main time zone or the second time zone, then you touch the case simultaneously at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock for two seconds. The hands on both dials will adjust to swap the time between the two.
Don’t forget to lock it by touching the case at 8 o’clock, or at 10 o’clock. If you don’t do it, after a while, the hands will go back to their initial setting.
Bracelet and clasp
The three row link bracelet is made from the same black polished high-tech ceramic as the case, while the three-fold deployment clasp is made from titanium. Whenever I got a glimpse of the bracelet under the cuff of my shirt, the light bouncing back from the surface of the links, always reminded me of polished black onyx.
As a designer, I follow Steve Kruger’s advice – don’t make me think. I firmly believe that good design is not intrusive; beauty is obtained in a magical way. With this model Rado opened my eye to a new paradigm – let me forget.
The HyperChrome Touch Dual Timer is the kind of timepiece that you realize that it’s on your wrist, only when you need to read the time. When you forget that you’re wearing a watch, it is probably because it is so comfortable that it became part of your body.
This comfort is the result engineering breakthroughs in materials and technology that allowed the Rado design team to come up with a watch that is almost organic. I could only fully grasp the advantage of not having a crown, when I switched for another watch with a normal size crown. Suddenly, the crown seemed to be a weird protuberance, something I could live without.
Back to Steve Kruger’s advice to designers – don’t make me think – I find the minimalist design of the case is not very helpful when it comes to figuring out the touch functionality. I would have welcomed a few low-key clues indicating the touch sensible areas on the case. Maybe changing the texture of these areas from polished to satin brushed, or vice versa depending on the finish of the case, would have made it easier to use the touch function. The good thing is that, once you get a hold of how to have a “common touch” with your Rado, it works, it’s reliable and it is supercool.
It’s a stylish and comfortable watch that Rado advertises as a timepiece that you don’t have to take off during airport security check. Well, I wouldn’t experiment with this, but for sure the HyperChrome Touch Dual Timer is a fantastic companion for frequent flyers, or anyone else, who needs to keep track of two time zones.
The Rado HyperChrome Touch Dual Timer should hit Canadian shelves in the near future and here is how the prices would line up:
Black – $2,800
White – $2,900
Black with leather strap – $2,550
Polished grey – $2,900
Matte grey – $3,000