After reviewing the Rado DiaMaster Grande Seconde Automatic a few years ago, I was quite excited to be given the opportunity to take a closer look at the latest model in the DiaMaster family, the Petite Seconde COSC. Small second is a complication that always makes me think of old pocket watches, it was the norm in those days and usually, it was placed at 6 o’clock, just as on this DiaMaster. Probably the reason why I find the DiaMaster Petite Seconde COSC so impressive it is because of this mix of contemporary design with an old-school complication, using high-tech materials — I’ll explain in more details in a petite seconde.
If fire was a gift from gods, ceramic was part of that blessing. Since the early days of the human civilization, ceramic always played an important role in our life, in our culture, in defining who we are. It was so important that according to many ancient mythologies and world religions, just like ceramic, man was created from clay. Our intimate relationship with ceramic continues to these days when from automobiles to aviation to space exploration, and from body armours to medicine we can’t imagine our existence without it. Thanks to brands like Rado, ceramic made its way into the world of luxury.
In 1986 Rado introduced the Integral, a watch 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 a plethora of new colours: white, grey, chocolate brown, blue, green, steel, rose-gold and the list can go on.
The Petite Seconde COSC shares its case design with previous DiaMaster models, 43mm with rounded forms — why change it when it’s already perfect and it is a key part of the DiaMaster identity. Since I mentioned the colours, the high-tech plasma ceramic case has a rather unique colour, it is somewhere between titanium, steel and gunmetal, because of its polished finish it keeps changing depending on the light.
The dial comes with a generous space for the deep blue sunray finished surface to come alive with its rhodium plated indexes, hands and rotating anchor. I find the small second dial at six particularly interesting from a design point of view, the font used for the numerals gives this classic complication a modern twist. There is also a small reminder that this is an officially certified chronometer.
The movement powering this DiaMaster is an automatic ETA C07.881, equipped with silicon hairspring and it has 80-hours of power reserve. At first, I didn’t know all the specs of the watch and after leaving it to sit over the weekend, I was surprised to come back to it on Monday, ready to adjust the time and find it beating happily. As the name says it and the inscription on the dial, this is a COSC certified movement, meaning that it runs within -4/+6 seconds over a 24-hour period.
43mm starts to be on the larger end of watches, but the DiaMaster case is so well designed that it is a real pleasure to wear it. Of course the ceramic reduces the weight and it doesn’t feel like wearing a big watch. While it has its masculine features, I would argue that this is a watch that ladies should try also, at least my wife really liked it.
As a watch blogger, I’m supposed to be neutral and have the same objective approach to every watch brand, but honestly, I do have a soft spot for a handful of brands, each one for a different reason. I came to like Rado over the years because of their innovative approach to materials, and I’m not thinking only about their amazing high-tech ceramics, my conversion happened when I got to test-drive the True Open Heart with its magical mother-of-pearl dial. My affair with Rado won’t stop just at the materials, but the way they use them, it is the design what makes these materials and ultimately these watches shine.
This is the case with the DiaMaster Petite Seconde COSC too, it comes with the high-tech plasma ceramic case, a COSC certified movement with a small second complication and a silicon hairspring, packaged in a 21st-century design with an unmistakable identity — this is how a contemporary dress watch should be.
In Canada, it retails for $2,800 and you can find it at your nearest Rado dealer, where you might also get to see its other two versions, the white dial and the black dial models. For more information, go to www.rado.com.