Brown ceramic RADO Centrix Auto Open Heart – hands-on review
Last month, in my review of the Rado Coupole Classic, I mentioned that Rado has introduced a new collection of chocolate brown high-tech ceramic watches. This time, I’m taking the Centrix Automatic Open Heart for a spin to discover all the secrets of this new ceramic. While the new chocolate brown chronograph is a real eye-catcher, apart the tachymeter scale on the bezel and its sweet colour, it shares many technical and aesthetic features with the Hyper-Chrome Court Chronograph that I had the pleasure to review last year.
This time, I wanted to try something new, and the obvious choice was to go with the Centrix Automatic Open Heart.
Chocolate brown high-tech ceramic
Before we would go any further, let’s see what exactly this new material is and how does it fit into the Rado lineup.
In 1986 Rado introduced the Integral, a new model that featured a bracelet made of a scratch-resistant material — ceramic. Its black shiny finish that was scratch resistant, light and hypoallergenic represented quite a revolution in watchmaking. Since then, Rado did not stop its research of ceramic, always trying out new approaches that led to new colours, such as white and grey. High-gloss ceramic was complemented by matt finish and one of the major achievements of the brand was the introduction of the plasma high-tech ceramic, which appears to be metallic.
This year, at Baselworld, Rado unveiled a new colour that they called chocolate brown. Just as with the other colours, because of the material, depending on the light and the angle at which it hits the surface, the colour will slightly change, creating a magical effect.
The brown colour is created as the ceramic components are sintered at extremely high temperatures in a specially developed kiln. During this process the finished piece shrinks by 23% and achieves its final hardness
rating of 1250 Vickers. The new colour offers all the benefits of high-tech ceramic: scratch resistance, light weight, and the comfort that comes with its ability to rapidly adapt to the wearers body temperature.
Rado Centrix Automatic Open Heart at a glance
Reference number of the reviewed model: 734.0181.3.031
Case: stainless steel with rose gold PVD
Diameter: 38 mm
Lug-to-lug: 42 mm
Height: 10.1 mm
Crystal: domed sapphire crystal
Calibre: automatic ETA C07.631
Power reserve: up to 80 hours
Water resistance: 3 bar (30 m)
Bracelet: Brown high-tech ceramic and stainless steel with rose gold PVD
MSRP: $2,220 CAD
When it comes to skeleton watches, I’m usually more critical than with other timepieces that come with a minimalist dial. There are not too many watchmakers that manage to find the right balance between showing the inner works of the movement while keeping the dial easy to read. This is a personal opinion, but I could also describe my c as showing too much to the point when it becomes vulgar, instead of being seductive and sexy.
I suppose Rado managed to avoid this trap, because for me it was love at first sight and about everyone I showed the watch was immediately impressed by its beauty. Its skeleton design does not take away from the readability and it also gives to joy of seeing part of the magic happening under the dial, while checking the time.
The rose gold PVD and the brown ceramic is a match made in heaven and it gives the Centrix Automatic Open Heart a classy allure.
Case and dial
With a diameter of 38 mm, the Rado Centrix Automatic Open Heart is following the latest trend of under 40 mm watches, a size that echoes the dressy look of this piece.
There is no bezel to hold down the slightly curved sapphire crystal, it just sits on the top of the round case in an unexplainable manner.
The brown dial is a contrasting backdrop for the gold coated indexes and hands. The cutouts are done in a rather abstract way, unveiling key components of the automatic movement. Often, when I would check the time, the beveled edges of the brown dial would make me think of dark chocolate. It’s a rather funny feeling that made me go out and buy some chocolate, hence the sweet background you’ll find in some of these pictures.
When it comes to dress watches, rose gold requires a brown leather strap. Not anymore, with the advent of brown ceramic, the leather can be replaced with a brown bracelet that won’t look as ostentatious as a full gold bracelet. In this case, Rado opted for a combination of brown ceramic and gold paved stainless steel link that complete beautifully the rest of the case.
Just as with the case, when it comes to the bracelet and its clasp, you might want to be careful with the rose gold PVD. It is resistant to scratches and dings, but it does not have the same hardness as the ceramic links, try not to knock it around as you would do with a full ceramic watch.
The good thing about the bracelet that you will enjoy the comfort offered by the ceramic, the watch will grow on your wrist.
The brown ceramic Centrix Automatic Open Heart, just as the rest of the Rado collection using this new colour, open new doors when it comes to fashion. The brown colour has a surprising effect, nobody is expecting a watch to have this colour and combined with rose gold, the result is superb. This is the kind of watch that would make change my wardrobe, or at least update it with more brown items.
As I mentioned above, Rado really knows how to make a watch comfortable to wear. Sometimes, I get watches to review that I would wear during the day at the office, but once I get home, I’m just happy to put them in the drawer. Not with Centrix, I would wear it all the time. It is my martial arts classes that really forced me to take it off — no jewelry in the dojo.
From a purely practical perspective, I would have welcomed to have a bit of lume on the hands and next to the indexes, after all Hamilton has it on the Viewmatic.
Of course, it would have been more fun to have 18k gold instead of stainless steel, or even a scratch resistant gold alloy, like the Omega Sedna gold that match the hardness of the brown ceramic, but at this price, dream on…
With the Centrix Automatic Open Heart, Rado is offering the possibility to get a taste of their innovative technology and trendsetting design at a reasonable price.