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Thread: To Boldy Go Where No Watch Has Gone Before, The Rado NCCs

  1. #1

    To Boldy Go Where No Watch Has Gone Before, The Rado NCCs

    Sometime in the late 1960s Rado conceived and patented the NCC system. Sorry guys, in this case NCC does not stand for Starfleet Naval Construction Contract. It stands for New Conception Construction. The NCC watch concept was Rados attempt to rethink waterproofing and shockproofing a watch utilising new case design and materials. In traditional watches the case was an integral part of waterproofing but with the NCC method the watch case merely held the waterproofing elements in place. Four screw in the case back were used to hold the front and back together. The movement and stem tube of the watch were surrounded by an elastomeric bladder. This bladder fit firmly against the back of the dial which was in contact with the crystal. When the case back and front were screwed together a 22 atm depth rating was easily achievable. A split stem was utilised to enable ease of service.

    Rado felt that such a radical leap in construction needed radical designs. Five men's and three women's models were designed and built between 1970 and 1978 ( the last reference of the NCC 505 was built until 1979). The design was so successful that Rado adapted the NCC 505 to a tungsten carbide case which became the Diastar 515.

    All models featured ETA movements, as Rado had started the changeover from A Schild movements in 1968. Early versions of the NCCs featured quickset date/ slow set day and high domed acrylic crystals while later models carried quickset day/date movements and flat mineral glass. According to Rado data they built a total of 129,000 men's NCCs (this number does not include the Diastar 515) and 33,000 women's models.

    Typical case construction.

    Case front, dial and chapter ring typical of most NCCs.

    Elastomeric bladder in case front.

    NCC construction. One can see that when put together the case itself is only vaguely related to waterproofing. The gaps in the case are not plugged by the bracelet.

    The movement of my 303, showing how effective the elastomeric bladder was.

    The NCC line was also notable for it's size. All but the NCC 505 are at least 40mm wide and the 202 is nearly 42 mm wide without crown.

    Here are a couple of ads.

    Attachment 14695Attachment 14696
    Attached Images Attached Images   

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  3. #2

    NCC 101.

    Early version of the stainless steel 101 with an SK fishtail bracelet.

    Early version gp on stepped three row NSA.

    AP1012232 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    AP1012223 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    AP1012227 by hankblanc, on Flickr

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  5. #3

    NCC 202

    Early version NCC 202 on three row stepped NSA. The 202 is the rarest and biggest of the NCCs. 5,000 of the steel version and 5,000 gold were made of this 41mm+ monster.

    P1012882 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    P1012871 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    P1012885 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    P1012890 by hankblanc, on Flickr

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  7. #4

    NCC 303

    Early version, stepped three row NSA. ETA 2788, slow day/ quick date. These movements are a bother to set properly, requiring back winding to advance the date. They are quite durable however.

    aP1010493 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    aP1010501 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    aP1010507 by hankblanc, on Flickr

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  9. #5

    NCC 404

    Late version with mineral crystal, ETA 2789 and a unique to this model SK fishtail.

    P3191769 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    P1014079 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    P1014071 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    P1014077 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    P1014081 by hankblanc, on Flickr

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  11. #6

    NCC 505

    Late version with mineral crystal, ETA 2789 and SK fishtail

    Late version with mineral crystal, ETA 2789 and SK fistail.

    P1013547 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    A stainless 505, a gp 505 and the shirtail relative, the Diastar 515.

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  13. #7

    Family portrait.

    P1014097 by hankblanc, on Flickr

    They are:
    NCC 101 Ref 11921, production run of 10,000
    NCC 202 Ref 11925, production run of 5,000
    NCC 303 Ref 11923, production run of 5,000

    All three feature acrylic crystals and quickset date/slow day movements and all are mounted on the stepped 3 row NSAs

    NCC 404 Ref 11927, production run of 10,000
    NCC 505 Ref 11943, production run of 7,000.

    Both have mineral glass, quickset day/date movements and SK cuff bracelets.

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  15. #8

    Diastar 515

    The shirttail relative of the NCCs, the Diastar 515 is the tungsten carbide/ sapphire crystal version of the NCC 505. Strangely this watch has a narrower bracelet than the NCC 505s.

    aP1010417 by hankblanc, on Flickr

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