Three scratch-proof Rado watches with very unusual dial materials

Brand: Rado
Model: Balboa V
Ref.: 623.0021.3
Issued: 1974
Case: Rose gold-tone Tungsten-Carbide bezel, stainless steel screw-back
Crystal: Sapphire with 9 square facets
Bracelet: n/a
Movement: ETA 2798


Description: This is a Rado Balboa model with a subtle rose gold-tone tungsten-carbide case and a dial made of opalescent material. It is similar to Balboas and Diastars of the 1960s-1970s, with a faceted sapphire crystal, date display at 3:00, but the dial of this is very uncommon. The anchor logo is a fixed version rarely used on automatics and more often seen on early Rado Quartz watches. Opalized ammolite - photo source unknownThe material of the dial has been identified though discussions at the EOT Rado Forum and with mineral experts as opalized ammolite (at right), a fossilized shell similar to mother-of-pearl. This particular dial shows characteristics similar to Opal and to Fire Agate, though these materials are much more difficult to slice thin for use as watch dials. Please see the photographs below, which show this dial, cased & uncased, with a variety of light sources and angles.

Another 1970s Balboa with a mineral dial, of black Goldstone (pictured above, right), is described here.

The case of the present watch shows almost no wear and the back has only minor scratches. The movement is running smoothly but its service history is unknown. Overall condition of this watch is 90% or better. 

Photos: Click for larger images

Rado Balboa V Case back of Balboa Balboa movement & case back Balboa dial uncased Balboa dial detail Balboa dial detail Balboa dial in strong natural light Balboa dial under faceted crystal 

This watch has been sold.

Note: More specific information pertaining to the manufacture/issue date of this watch is welcome. Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Text and images © C. Bradley Jacobs,