A couple of weeks ago, I caught up with the people from Rado when they came to Montreal to present their novelties. Of course the highlight of their new collection was the introduction of the chocolate brown high-tech ceramic watches with three models, the three-hands and date HyperChrome Automatic, the diamond bezel HyperChrome Automatic Limited Edition, and my favourite, the HyperChrome Automatic Chronograph. Really sweet — like a Swiss chocolate — watches that deserve a separate article, and at this time, I won’t go into more details. Then they pulled out the Coupole Classic… In the dim light of the steakhouse, its pure lines and vintage proportions, instantly made me curious to see it better, turn it around, touch it. As I was strapping it on, I learned that it has 80 hours of power reserve and it retails for $1,330 CAD! OK, that was it, I had to do a review of this piece, and the Rado rep was kind enough to let me keep it for a while.
Rado Coupole Classic at a glance
Reference Number: 763.3860.4.110
Case: stainless steel
Diameter: 38 mm
Lug-to-lug: 43.2 mm
Lug width: 19 mm
Height: 10.2 mm
Dial: “champagne” coloured, stamped and curved, curved yellow gold coloured applied indexes and moving anchor
Hands: curved yellow gold coloured
Crystal: sapphire crystal with anti-reflecting coating on both sides, sapphire crystal see-through back.
Water resistance: 5 bar (50 m)
Strap: black leather with stainless steel folding clasp
MSRP: $1,330 CAD
Case and dial
Rado as a brand is known for their ceramic watches, and having tried several of their high-tech ceramic models (see their reviews here, here and here) I got to the conclusion that I’m a big fan of this material. The comfort, the durability, and the sophisticated, almost magical look of ceramic is unique. To achieve all these advantages, ceramic is a more labour and cost intensive material which is, of course, reflected in the price of these watches. If ceramic is beyond your budget, you can approach Rado from a different angle, going for their stainless steel models, such as a Centrix steel, a Coupole, or a Coupole Classic, which are designed with the same aesthetic approach as the ceramic models: understated elegance , minimalist, someway bauhausish.
Coupole in French means dome, or cupola, a name that fits perfectly the Coupole Classic Automatic. Rounded lines and shapes are everywhere: the case, the domed crystal on the front, the dial, the hands, even the clasp on the strap is curved.
At 38 mm, the case is on the smaller side, which ads to the vintage look of this timepiece, and paradoxically, considering the latest fashion, it also makes it trendy. Having a small wrist, I am very happy with this “new” direction in watch design, and I am sure those of you that in recent years felt neglected, will share my joy.
While the Coupole Classic Automatic also comes with black, or silver dial, the model I was wearing has a “champagne” coloured sunray dial, a colour that I find makes a wonderful transition from the polished stainless steel case to the warm gold colour of the applied indexes and hands. The use of gold and steel will make this piece more versatile when it comes to combining it with your outfit, which makes me like this particular model more than the pure gold or pure stainless steel versions.
Thirteen applied gold coloured indexes, become just as many bright accents on the sunray pattern dial, while the slender feuille hands make reading the time a delightful experience.
At three o’clock there is a date window, while at twelve, above the logo a tiny rotating gold coloured anchor.
The back of the watch will reveal the 25 jewel ETA C07.611 automatic calibre, with 80 hours of power reserve, basically the same movement that Hamilton calls H-10. With this power reserve, you can leave to rest the Coupole Classic Automatic on Friday and Monday it will be still running without any problem.
This model comes with a black alligator pattern leather strap, which looks great with the rest of the watch. I am quite convinced that the champaign dial and the gold coated hands would make this watch look just as good on a brown strap too. If you want to try it, the lug width is 19 mm.
It is not difficult to be conquered by the simple elegance of this dress watch. Its size, curved lines and the combination of colours make the Rado Coupole Classic Automatic a great looking timepiece that looks more expensive than it really is. The layout of the curved dial reminds me the dress watches of the ’60s; I could absolutely imagine it as a prop on the wrist of a Mad Men character.
I can only congratulate Rado for combining this design with this movement, I think every dress watch deserves a good power reserve, not that this watch could not take the punishments of a weekend, but it is good to know that you can leave it to rest and you won’t have to fiddle with the crown after you come back in a few days. Especially that the crown is the only thing that I would have preferred to be a bit different — in my opinion, a bit less rounded corners, would have offered a better grip. Not that it would be hard to adjust the time, but let me put it this way, I was glad that I did not had to play with it too much.
While it is a bit early to talk about Christmas, I think the Rado Coupole Classic Automatic should have a privileged place on your shopping list. A great brand, offering a timeless design, with a modern calibre, at an incredible price, you can’t go wrong with it!
By the way, Santa, if you read this blog, I was a good boy. Can I have a Rado Coupole Classic Automatic?