Everyone of us has seen the various commercials in magazines showing how good the luxurious ceramic RADO watches are. It's true that they really look pretty.

So one day, I broke my "moneybox pig" and bought one of these magnificent watches: a RADO SINTRA Multifunctions R13913152.

Problem: Not even a year later, I found some mist behind my RADO SINTRA glass !! 30 meters waterproof ?!? I do not go to swimming pools (of course : I am aqua phobic).

Never mind, I sent the watch back to the local retailer who sent it back to RADO for repair under warranty. After several weeks, I got my watch back in working order. Hurrah !

Alas, this happy period was pretty short. Three years later, the needles and the mechanics are rusted. What happened ?

I ask this question directly to RADO, who answers laconically that I have no luck and I just have to make it repair. Really ?

How could possibly the water enter in my RADO SINTRA watch which is supposed to be waterproof up to 30 meters, as I do not go in water (not even 1 meter, I'm still aqua phobic) ?

I therefore ask for explanations, and as these do not come after a while (the RADO client service does not even answer), I had to create a Twitter account: @rusty_rado in order to directly contact someone at @rado who would kindly feel a bit concerned by my problem. After several days of discussion (see Twitter @rusty_rado), RADO asked me to send the watch to their repair services located in Besançon.

A week later, the repair services sent me a proposal to repair my RADO watch. They indicate that the watch is rusty, about that we all agreed upon, but still no further explanation on how it is possible. I asked for further details: don't tell me what, tell me how and why.

Finally, after several days, a "client service manager" called me and ... I could not believe what I was hearing! Besides the fact that he was sorry about what happened (at least we are two of us), he explained me that there could be several reasons that could lead to this situation among which (and I selected only the funniest, I removed the scuba diving, swimming, etc...):

  • A thermal shock could generate this phenomenon. Well, my watch staying at my wrist, so about 37°C, I do not, generally, jump in water (aqua phobic) and more over if the water is very cold !
  • You shall not wash your hands wearing your watch! What ?!? 30 meters waterproof! What about the ISO 22810:2010 norm then ?

But the most amusing one is when he told me that my watch was tested and it is perfectly waterproof. Well, there must be some black magic there. How did the water get inside the watch?

After 10 minutes of blah blah blah, well, the seal on the box bottom is perfect, everything's OK, however "there are some stains of rust on the button's axis' (the little button on the side used to set the watch time). Ah Ah, finally ! It has been long and hard to get there. So, there is a problem!

Obviously, my RADO SINTRA Multifunctions R13913152 watch (which is no more in RADO's catalog, at least on their web site. Strange, strange...) is driven by this button which shall be pushed, pulled or turned more or less rapidly depending on the wanted function. All these movements shall have a bad influence on the water tightness of this button axis ? Isn't that a defect, a weakness of this model?

Two times in 4 years the same issue ! Pretty please ! But they said NO, there is no known problem there et therefore, RADO refuses to take all or part of the repair cost arguing that the warranty is finished. The RADO SINTRA lifetime is 2 years then? If the problem is recurrent, can't it be considered as a faulty design, or just a manufacturing flaw for my watch only then? in this case, there is no time limit in the warranty period. I do not ask for the impossible, just take the cost of repair, which is a pretty small amount of money for RADO.

Well, the next question is: "How can I avoid this problem in the future then?". I am told that I have to send back my RADO watch EVERY SINGLE YEAR to test the water tightness (a "under bell" depression test). Alright then, but if the repair services did find today that my watch has no water tightness issue using this test, this means that the water can ingress using the same button axis path and we don't know about it. Is it really serious from RADO to give such an argument?

A simple CASIO watch for less than 240€ contains the following excerpt in its user's guide: "you can take a shower or a bath wearing your watch", whereas you cannot wash your hands with a RADO that costs almost 10 times more money! There is something there that I can't understand.

Here is the continuation of the story: RADO keeps its (unsustainable) position and goes even further stating that : "Au vu de ces éléments, on ne peut en conclure que cette défaillance ne résulte que d’une mauvaise utilisation" => Viewing all these elements, we can only conclude that this defect results from a mis-use (sic). So we are in full confusion. Are there any training sessions to learn how to use a RADO? Because I of course had several watches before this one, and I never had any water ingress issue with all of them. But it's true that I did not pay them more than 2,000 € !! By the way, why having fixed it under warranty in the first place then?

So now, we are progressing from denial to insult. What's next ?

To be continued....

Another episode...

After a lot of blah blah, RADO finally decided to exceptionally take 50% of the repair cost (that the least they could do).
After waiting 6 weeks, the watch has been refurbished. But for how long? One question remains: how one would know that this won't come again as it really looks like a design flaw of this model...
To be continued (in a year or two) ...