Konstantin Grcic: The New Ceramica for Rado
Based in Lengnau, Switzerland, Rado is a globally recognised watch brand, part of Swatch Group, that employs innovative and revolutionary materials to produce durable and well-designed timepieces. With a pioneering and an imaginative spirit – unique in this highly competitive sector – Rado has recently chosen to collaborate with Konstantin Grcic. The celebrated German designer was given the challenge to redesign the iconic Ceramica watch, first released in 1998. Using high tech ceramics, its contemporary reinterpretation falls in line with Grcic’s design philosophy: “Out of the box, I came to Rado to learn and gain a basic knowledge of watchmaking while bringing my fresh take,” states Grcic. “25 years ago, I was photographed by Vogue Germany wearing a Rado Ceramica. The stylist found that the watch matched my attitude. Now, in time for its Silver Jubilee, I’m very proud to re-design it. During a three years development process, I’ve tried to focus on the watch like I normally do for objects or furniture, but it was more challenging than ever working with the scale of our drawings, that reached 0.005 mm. I had to redesign an already existing product, a reference in the Rado typology. I had to be radical and go to the essence of the Ceramica; bringing it to the next level. I had to find a balance between the respect for the existing original piece and find a way to push it further with a sense of detail and finishings. In the injection moulding process of the ceramic applied to the watch, we’ve been able to achieve a square format. The movement into the case in stainless steel is now integrated within the high-tech ceramic elements, which are no longer decorative like they were in the 1990s when the first Ceramica came on the market. From now on, the New Ceramica will be produced as a ‘monobloc,’ resulting from assembled materials into the case in order to play around with the shape; a slightly reduced,narrower bracelet that achieves the same quality and a new concave geometry. The high-tech ceramic is integrated both on top and at the back of the watch, enhancing its tactile effect and impact on skin when worn.”
This year’s Paris Design Week – occurring at the same time as Maison & Objet – was coupled with the Rado Star Prize, held at the Cité de la Mode et du Design during Now! Off. This growing platform have evolves quickly and now appeals to professional and the general public alike. As part of this Parisian dynamic, the “My Design Statement : Konstantin Grcic x Rado” exhibition was mounted in the heart of Paris’ Le Marais district. Showcasing not only Rado’s Ceramica (r)evolution but also some storytelling-based works by Grcic. His curation of the show was framed as to reach a broader audience. This parallel with other designs and products allowed viewers to better understand the process behind the designer’s numerous developments for famous brands such as FLOS. For such a project, the German designer took inspiration from the famous Parentesi lamp by Manzù-Achille Castiglioni, rebaptised “OK”. The design moves vertically, up and down, bringing in the LED technology that replaced the historical light bulb. The graphic elements of the New Ceramica which have been researched and designed by Grcic are also bringing a new language to the watch. A true contemporary interpretation and radiation.
Grcic, the Designer / Typographer
As for his Classicon side table entitled Diana_A-F, inspired by a typography, Grcic designed a very recognizable ceramic timepiece retaining the strong geometric shape that made the original such a classic, wearable by both men and women. The linear bracelet and the monobloc case reveal the magic of advanced technologies combined with Grcic’s mastery of form and materials but also graphic design. Eleven models have emerged in the New Ceramica collection, including a Rado Ceramica limited edition of 700 + 1 pieces with a matte polishing, distinguishing itself from other high gloss iterations. One version has already entered Grcic’s everyday. He wears it as a signature model, reflecting both his sensitive approach to softer and intelligent materials, beauty and clear, clean typography. “In my opinion, the matt finish brings out the form of the watch much stronger, says Grcic. “ The design of the dials is bold and legible. I took inspiration from pilot watches. I like them for their straightforward, clear graphics and subdials with grey printed indexes adding to the monochrome minimalist appeal.” Women have always been attracted by Rado’s timepieces. Grcic has specially designed his iterations with a glossy black or white high-tech ceramic, boasting silver coloured detailing and four diamonds on the dial in a slightly smaller format.
About time and lightness
Grcic turned 50 this year. A half century accounts for a new turn in his life. “Time matters, timing is relevant to avoid to feel under pressure. I do believe in discipline, elegance and the rituals of the everyday life. Having a watch keeps me conscious of the time flow, it keeps me alive. A watch is also a piece of wearable fashion. I also wanted to design my signature model by questioning myself: How do I want the Ceramica to look like when I wear it to become My Watch ? The intelligent use of high-tech ceramic and an understanding of what good design is are the most important part of my quest for simplicity, comfort and usability. I’d like the Ceramica to reflect both its visual qualities and economical use of material forms to make people wearing it and appreciating its lightness, the material being lighter than stainless steel, thermoregulated and scratch resistant.”