Initially founded with the name Schlup & Co. in Lengnau, Switzerland in 1917, Rado is a high-end brand of a Swiss watch conglomerate The Swatch Group. It was rebranded to Rado in the 1950s, which we know today. The company is known for its innovative design and use of scratch-resistant materials, particularly ceramic and sapphire crystal.
Rado watches are marketed as “The Master of Materials”. It has been associated with the Swiss Made label since the beginning. All of its watches are said to comply with strict criteria regarding materials, movement, water resistance, and shock resistance test during the production. As a result, it has earned the “Swiss-made” title often associated to expensive watches.
But is Rado really a luxury brand considering it is a Swiss-made watch?
Is Rado A Luxury Brand?
Rado is undoubtedly a luxury brand. It has a rich history dating back over 100 years. The company is known for its innovative design and use of high-quality materials. Furthermore, it is associated with the Swiss Made label since the beginning. With all of these requirements met, Rado is on par with other luxury brands.
1. The Brand’s Long History
Rado is one of the oldest watch brands in existence. It was founded in 1917 under the name Schlup & Co. by brothers Fritz, Ernst, and Werner Schlup from the home of their parents.
From its humble beginning, their business expanded in the next 25 years and became one of the largest watch movement makers in Switzerland. It was in 1953 when their watches were sold as the Rado brand, although the brand’s name has been registered as early as 1928. And from then on, Rado has been in the watch industry, making it one of the documented pioneers of watch makers.
The company’s history alone is already proof that Rado qualifies as a luxury brand.
2. Rado’s Innovative Design and Use of Materials
Rado is known for its innovative design. The company was the first to use scratch-resistant materials such as sapphire crystal and ceramic in their watches. They are also known for their use of innovative technologies such as the electronic transistor watch, which was made in 1962.
Furthermore, Rado is known for its use of high-quality materials. The company only uses the finest materials available to create its watches. This includes 18k gold, stainless steel, and even diamonds.
3. Rado’s Association With The Swiss Made label
As mentioned earlier, Rado has been associated with the Swiss Made label since the beginning. All Rado watches must comply with strict criteria regarding materials, movement, water resistance, and shock resistance. In order to be considered Swiss Made, a watch must have 60% of its overall value come from Switzerland.
Not all watches made in Switzerland can have the “Swiss made” label unless certain criteria are met. Fortunately, Rado watches meet all the requirements and it helps solidifies the brand’s reputation as a luxury brand.
4. The High Price Tag of Rado Watches
One of the main factors that contribute to the brand’s luxury status is its price tag. Rado watches are not cheap. Because of the high-quality materials and rigorous craftsmanship, Rado watches come at a cost.
For example, Rado’s men’s watches would cost anywhere between $500 to over $8,000, while women’s watches start from $825 and can go over $8,000. Seeing this price range definitely shows that Rado is a luxury brand.
5. The Products’ Designs
If there’s one thing all watches from any brand have in common, it would be the functionality of telling time. But when it comes to design, each watch brand has its own unique style. And Rado is no different.
The company’s designs are modern and sleek. Its watches are usually minimalistic with a focus on the materials used. This results in a clean and elegant look that is synonymous with luxury. And to add more to that is Rado’s offering of having some of its watches have the ability for engravings to make the products more personalized.
6. It Offers Exclusivity
Considering the high price tag of each Rado watch, the brand definitely offers exclusivity. Not everyone can afford to buy a Rado watch. This is what makes the brand even more a top-tier brand.
In a simpler explanation, Rado has a specific target market to offer its products. And they are particular people from the upper market who don’t mind spending a lot of money on high-quality watches. And while there’s definitely no rule that only people with money can buy Rado watches, it is also what prevents the general consumers to buy the product. The $500 Rado watch is already expensive for everyday people, let alone the $8,000 one.
7. The Rado Watches Are Relatively Rare
Another factor that contributes to the brand’s luxury status is its rarity. Rado watches are not as common as other watch brands such as Rolex or Omega. This makes them more exclusive and sought-after, which ultimately drives up the price.
According to research, Rado only manufacture approximately 500,000 watches per year, including unique designs from the collection. Additionally, the watches can only be bought from limited retailers.
The rarity of the product can also be described in for the first women’s watch of Rado. It wasn’t until 1996 that the brand expanded its range of products that used to be exclusive to men. And even today, the majority of its products are for men, according to its website.
Does Rado Hold Value?
In terms of price, design, craftsmanship, and functionality, Rado watches hold their value as each product would last for years. This is of course with proper care on the product.
A pre-owned Rado watch could still be sold at a good amount. Some of them may even still cost over $1,000 which is already a good deal for a used watch. And if the watch is still unused and in its box, it could even be sold for a higher price.
For instance, a pre-owned Rado Golden Horse 1957 Purple Dial Stainless 36.5mm 01.763.3930.4.020 Full Set is priced at approximately $1,575 according to Chrono24. And according to research, the item was originally sold for $1,800 at a limited.
It is safe to say that some Rado watches are excellent investments as their value doesn’t drop significantly over time. But of course, other watches are meant to lose their value over time due to wear and tear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Rado watches not popular?
In reality, Rado is actually popular with people who are familiar with luxury watches and those who are willing to spend at least $1,000 for a piece of it. But others suggest that it is not popular because the general consumers don’t see or hear the brand as common as other watch brands in the market. Thus, Rado only produces a limited number of watches each year and does not heavily rely on modern advertisements.
Who is Rado owned by?
Rado is owned by The Swatch Group since the 1980s. The group also owns other watch brands such as Omega, Longines, Breguet, and many more.