Founded in 1917 in Legnau, Switzerland (and originally begun as Schlup & Co.), Rado has always been a cutting-edge Avant-Garde brand. It began using the Rado name in 1957, and over the years, the brand has experimented with many different materials for its watches. Rado was the first to introduce a “scratch-proof” watch, the DiaStar 1, in 1962 that took the world by storm. In the ensuing decades, it introduced colored versions of the DiaStar, and by the mid-1980s became the first watch brand to create high-tech ceramic bracelet watches. Since then, the “master of materials” has regularly surprised and delighted watch lovers with sophisticated metals, bold colors, and contemporary aesthetics.
Brothers Fritz, Ernst, and Werner founded the Schlup & Co. watchmaking factory in 1917 in a converted area of their parents’ house. This humble workshop would later become what we know today as Rado. Even though they started very modestly, by the end of World War II, the factory was among the world’s largest producers of watch movements.
It was only in the 1950s that Schlup & Co. started selling watches under the Rado brand name. The iconic Golden Horse collection made its première in 1957, and the Green Horse collection followed in 1958. At the end of the decade, Rado was a truly international brand present in over 61 countries.
In 1986 the Rado Integral revolutionized the watch industry with its use of scratch-resistant high-tech ceramic in the bracelet.
Rado continued the use of high-tech ceramics in the 90s, a material that now defined them. The Rado Ceramica wowed the watch industry in 1990 with its integrated watch case and bracelet made of high-tech ceramic and sapphire crystal. Launched in 1993, the Rado Sintra was their first watch made of cermet, a titanium-based ceramic mixed with metal. In 1998 the Ceramica was the first Rado watch chosen to feature plasma high-tech ceramic, an enthralling combination of color and materials that emits a metallic glow without the use of any metal at all.
The True Thinline was launched in 2011, an ultra-slim ceramic timepiece measuring only 5 mm. The sporty Rado Hyperchrome followed in 2012, based on the True Thinline’s case but forgoing stainless steel in favor of a svelte monobloc case. In 2015 Rado added a chocolate brown high-tech ceramic to their high-tech ceramic color palette.
When you hear Rado, you most probably will think of tennis. Rado began sponsoring international tournaments over 20 years ago. They are the Official Timekeeper of 12 international tournaments and feature their signature corner clocks on clay, grass, and hard courts.
In 2015, Rado launched the Rado YoungStar program, designed to support up and coming young tennis players such as Australian Ashleigh Barty or Frenchman Ugo Humbert.
Rado is part of the Swatch Group. They are based in Lengnau, Switzerland, and manufacture an estimated 500’000 watches a year.
Rado produced the world’s first scratch-resistant watch, the Diastar 1, in 1962. It is also the world’s hardest watch earning it a place in the Guinness world record books.