Why Are Rado Watches Expensive?

Rado is a popular Swiss luxury watch known for its high-scratch-resistant watches. However, they seem to have a steep price, which many are unsure why. So, why are Rado watches expensive?

Rado watches are expensive since they are made in Switzerland, with in-house movements. The watches also use premium materials such as diamonds, ceramic, and titanium. Rado is also marketed as a luxury brand with an image of exclusivity and prestige. 

Why Are Rado Watches Expensive

This article delves deeper into why Rado watches are so expensive, from the brand’s image to the watches’ exclusive technology. We also address some of the most frequently asked questions concerning Rado watches here.

We’ve also discussed why some watch brands are expensive, such as Panerai, IWC, and Longines. Please click on the link and learn more if you are interested.

Qualities That Made Rado Watches Expensive

In general, Rado watches are expensive because they are different than many regular watches in these areas:

  • Brand Image
  • Limitation
  • Materials
  • Swiss Made Label
  • In-House Movements & Technology

Brand Image

Rado promotes itself as a luxury brand with an image of exclusivity, class, and prestige. They accomplish this through associating with people, events, and media outlets that share a similar image.

This is why Rado advertisements can be found in publications read by the wealthy and upper-class, such as The Economist, Wall Street Journal, or Entrepreneur magazine.

You also see Rado sponsoring prominent artists and athletes such as Hrithik Roshan, Julia Peresild, and Jin Chen. Hrithik Roshan is one of the prominent actors in Bollywood cinema, while Julia Peresild is a Russian film star. 

Rado is also very active in tennis, sponsoring the Swiss Indoors Basel, Vienna Open, etc. Rado also sponsors Ashleigh Barty, a tennis athlete who made it to the world number 1 at 23.

Rado’s watches are also seen in James Bond’s movie Spectre (2015), worn by Blofeld’s henchmen Hix. You could also see Rado’s watches in Vincenzo’s South Korean TV series (2018).

Rado watches are expensive because these marketing initiatives and strategies require a lot of money to implement. The high price provides the necessary profit margin to fund their marketing operations.


Rado watches are made to exacting standards, with some hand assembly. Rado technicians are also well-trained and highly certified.

This means that Rado watches are much more challenging to mass-produce than fashion watches with lower manufacturing standards.

As a result, Rado can only produce a certain number of watches per year. Some might consider this a flaw, but Rado instead plays this to its strengths.

The limited number of watches on offer allows Rado to sell them at a higher price. Plus, a higher price tag also allows the brand to maintain its image of exclusivity and prestige. 


When compared to regular watches, Rado watches are constructed with higher-end materials. As a result, Rado watches carry a higher price tag.

On its official website, Rado lists ceramic, titanium, diamonds, alligator leather, and other materials used in its timepieces.

These materials are uncommon in budget watch companies, which rely on traditional materials such as stainless steel or mineral crystals to keep costs low.

Some of these expensive materials are expensive and difficult to work with. Titanium, for example, is lightweight and strong, but it is more difficult to shape into watch cases than steel.

All of this increased the production costs of the timepieces, resulting in a higher price tag in the end.

Swiss Made Label

Every Rado timepiece is made in Switzerland. This alone would have made a significant difference in the watch’s price.

Swiss Law mandates that a watch can only be labeled “Swiss Made” if all of the following conditions are met:

  • Switzerland is responsible for 60% of the total cost of the watch’s production (design, manufacturing, parts, etc.)
  • The watch uses Swiss movements
  • The watch is encased, and quality checked in Switzerland.

This means that all Rado watches are genuinely made in Switzerland and have the high quality and performance that Swiss watch enthusiasts expect.

Some brands, such as Invicta and Festina, make a big deal about their Swiss heritage. Still, their watches are actually made in Asia and don’t usually have Swiss movements. This is crucial to understand.

Even though Rado watches are expensive, you can be confident that they were created with the utmost precision and in accordance with the strictest Swiss standards.

In-House Movements & Technology

Almost all luxury watch brands design and build their own movements and technology. Rado does the same as well, albeit with a little twist. 

Rado became part of the Swatch Group in 1983, resulting in it being a sister brand to watches such as Tissot, Hamilton, Festina, Omega, and many more. 

Why Are Rado Watches Expensive

Part of the Swatch group includes ETA, one of the most significant movement makers. ETA supplies the base for most movements in watches that are part of the group. For example, brands such as Longines, Hamilton, and Tissot develop their own automatic movement by modifying the ETA 2824-2 movement. 

Rado does the same as well. Rado’s R763 movement is essentially similar to the the Powermatic 80 movement found in Tissot watches. However, since ETA, Tissot and Rado belong to the same watch group, it is still possible to claim that the movements are in-house and not the third party. 

Rado is also very well known for Ceramos, its own proprietary technology. Ceramos is Rado’s way of blending ceramic and metals into an alloy. 

Ceramos contains a blend of bronze, hard metals, and tungsten-carbide ceramic compounds. This results in Rado’s watches being very scratch resistant and carrying a unique shine. 

What Is So Special About Rado watches?

Rado offers watches with exceptional quality at an ‘affordable luxury’ price. Rado watches are Swiss Made, with in-house movements based on ETA’s design. Rado also uses a unique blend of ceramic and hard metal on their watches, resulting in ultra scratch-resistance. 

Rado watches are not expensive to the point of rivaling brands such as Omega or Rolex. Its pricing could be similar to Longines or Oris, making it an entry-level luxury watch. 

However, for that price, you are getting exceptional timepieces. Rado’s watches are all Swiss Made, with in-house movements. Many also have Ceramos technology on the case and bracelets, resulting in ultra and scratch-resistance. 

Why Are Rado Watches Expensive

Is Rado A Luxury Watch?

Rado is considered an entry-level luxury watch. It has all the qualities of a luxury watch, such as in-house assembly and movements, luxurious brand image, and proprietary technology. However, the price is accessible to many, similar to Longines, Oris, or Tag Heuer. 

Rado’s position as an entry-level luxury watch made it famous. They are priced at an expensive level but still accessible to many. Middle-class wage earners could still save up to buy a Rado with some effort.

The price also gets you a great watch. The watches are Swiss Made, with in-house movements and premium materials. 

Is Rado Better Than Tissot?

Rado is better than Tissot in materials, exclusivity, and brand image. Both watch brands are part of the Swatch Group. Rado is an entry-level luxury brand, while Tissot is marketed as a middle-range brand. Rado is more expensive than Tissot and carries a better brand prestige. 

Both brands use ETA-based movements, modified for their own purpose. Therefore, performance-wise, there should not be much difference. 

The primary difference would be the materials used on the watches. Rado watches use more premium materials compared to Tissot. Many Rado watches also come with Ceramos technology that makes them extra scratch-resistant.  

As a result, Rado tends to be more expensive. That means if you compare the brands price-wise, Tissot might be better. 

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of WatchPursuits.com, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

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