YOY, Formafantasma, Tej Chauhan, Thukral & Tagra design RADO True Square watches

RADO has collaborated with four design studios from across the world to reveal its new collection of high-tech ceramic RADO True Square timepieces.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Dec 21, 2020

Luxury Swiss watchmaker RADO has collaborated with four global design studios – Tokyo-based YOY, Studio Formafantasma from The Netherlands, British industrial designer Tej Chauhan, and Indian artists Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra of Thukral & Tagra studio to design a new collection of RADO True Square – the first square timepiece to be made in high-tech ceramic.

The designs reveal inspirations ranging from blurring boundaries between the analogue and the digital, futuristic imagery of pop culture, and ghost mystery combined with a host of cutting materials and technologies. Overall, the timepieces complement the aesthetics and ethos of the brand, which is globally known as the master of materials.

STIR takes a closer look at the four designs:

Undigital: YOY

Japanese designers Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto present True Square Undigital – a unique timepiece that gives a new meaning to the conventional face of the digital watch.

  • RADO True Square by Japanese studio YOY | RADO | True Square | STIRworld
    RADO True Square by Japanese studio YOY Image: Courtesy of RADO
  • Undigital by YOY blurs the boundary between analogue and digital watches | RADO | True Square | STIRworld
    Undigital by YOY blurs the boundary between analogue and digital watches Image: Courtesy of YOY

“We designed the watch to be completely black, except for its dials which feature white bars to indicate the long and short hands of the watch,” says the Tokyo-based studio. “These bars reference the distinctive shapes of the seven-segment display used in the classic face of the digital watch.”

Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto of YOY |RADO | True Square | STIRworld
Naoki Ono and Yuki Yamamoto of YOY Image: Courtesy of YOY

Against the puristic appearance of the matt black dial, the hands stand out even in the dark as they are finished with white luminescent paint. The high-tech ceramic case, innovative monobloc construction and a PVD-coated titanium back render the watch a low weight and a height of 9.6mm.

Protecting Your Precious Time: Studio Formafantasma

The interpretation of RADO True Square by Italian designer duo Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin reveals a closed monochromatic light grey timepiece with a small aperture for the dial. Sticking with tradition with a side of mystery, the design draws inspiration from the historic idea of pocket watches translated in a contemporary avatar.

RADO True Square by Studio Formafantasma | RADO | True Square | STIRworld
RADO True Square by Studio Formafantasma Image: Courtesy of RADO

The Amsterdam-based studio has integrated multiple materials to protect the delicate mechanism of the watch and to impart it a refined tactility. The bracelet is high-tech ceramic titanium with a three-fold clasp; the case back is titanium specially crafted to be hypoallergenic. A scratch resistant layer of sapphire crystal is provided to the delicate window of the dial.

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Studio Formafantasma | |RADO | True Square | STIRworld
Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Studio Formafantasma Image: Courtesy of Formafantasma

As per Studio Formafantasma, the ghostly appearance of the watch in the form of its homogenous grey palette and floating-looking dial has been inspired by not pocket watches but also the name of the studio.

Souvenirs of the Future: Tej Chauhan

For British industrial designer Tej Chauhan, form, colour, and texture render a profound effect on the way humans feel and he employs this understanding in creating products to elicit joy. In his latest collaboration with RADO, the London-based designer has taken sci-fi references to create a mustard yellow coloured True Square. With a padded leather strap and a case back crafted to feel liquid soft, the watch is designed as an expression of the near future.

  • The timepiece by Tej Chauhan employs his studio’s own visual identity |RADO | True Square | STIRworld
    The timepiece by Tej Chauhan employs his studio’s own visual identity Image: Tej Chauhan
  • RADO True Square by British industrial designer Tej Chauhan |RADO | True Square | STIRworld
    RADO True Square by British industrial designer Tej Chauhan Image: Tej Chauhan
Tej Chauhan |RADO | True Square | STIRworld
Tej Chauhan Image: Tej Chauhan

The design involves Chauhan’s own visual identity: on the matt black dial, silver-coloured circles radiate from the centre, a tiny aperture at 3’o clock shows the date of the day; the typeface for the same is conceptualised by Tej Chauhan himself. The minute and hour hands are in white while the seconds hand is painted in red. Further, blue and white coloured indexes radiate outwards creating a landscape of soft geometry and chic style.

True Square Over the Abyss: Thukral and Tagra

Artist duo Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra of Indian studio Thukral and Tagra is currently developing a futuristic analogue version of the Rado True Square timepiece, titled ‘True Square Over the Abyss’. The watch is expected to feature two overlapping dials instead of conventional hands to trigger a sense of passing time in places other than one’s own. The case back will feature a painting from Thukral and Tagra’s ongoing Dominus Aeries collection.

Jiten Thukral, Sumir Tagra |RADO | True Square | STIRworld
Jiten Thukral, Sumir Tagra Image: Courtesy of Thukral and Tagra
L-R: Jiten Thukral, Christian Verdon (Head of R&D, RADO), Sumir Tagra, Simran Chandhoke (Business Head India, RADO), Amit Gupta (Founder and Editor-in-Chief, STIR) during the felicitation of RADO X Thurkal & Tagra collaboration at the STIR Gallery, New Delhi (February 2019) |RADO | True Square | STIRworld
L-R: Jiten Thukral, Christian Verdon (Head of R&D, RADO), Sumir Tagra, Simran Chandhoke (Business Head India, RADO), Amit Gupta (Founder and Editor-in-Chief, STIR) during the felicitation of RADO X Thurkal & Tagra collaboration at the STIR Gallery, New Delhi (February 2019) Image: Courtesy of STIR

STIR is proud to have felicitated the collaboration between RADO and Thukral and Tagra at the launch of the latter’s immersive show Lullaments, hosted at the STIR Gallery in New Delhi in February 2019.

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