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Watches from Radium Instruments. (Photo: Christian Kirkemo)

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Norwegian made Radium watches keep time with recycled aluminium

The Norwegian watch brand Radium Instruments creates rugged and vintage inspired timepieces, where Norwegian craftsmanship meets Swiss precision. In its new collection, the watch case is made from Hydro CIRCAL, aluminium with more than 75 percent recycled aluminium.

“Aluminium stands out for being a strong, malleable and yet lightweight metal. Aluminium is corrosion resistant, ensuring long life and providing properties that are perfect for what we want to create with our Radium watches,” says Thomas Cappelen Malling, founder and designer at Radium Instruments.

Standing with one of the watches in Radium's new "Radium .38" model series in his hand, Thomas proudly presents a timepiece from the brand's latest collection. Radium watches are easily recognizable with their rugged and vintage inspired look.

"Our approach to design is you should be able to recognize a Radium watch from across the room. Our new .38 collection, with its distinctive sandblasted aluminium case and simplicity, is unmistakably Radium. But the new 38 millimeter size is updated for the present day, where slightly smaller watches are now back in vogue," says Malling.

Made in recycled aluminium – Collaboration with Hydro

Since its launch in 2014, Radium has been using Norwegian produced aluminium from Hydro in its watches. Now Radium is taking it a step further and using Hydro CIRCAL recycled aluminium in its watch cases.

"By producing the watches in Norway, from a Norwegian produced material, we have always offered a locally sourced and more climate friendly product. We are a small watch manufacturer in the big picture, but with recycled Hydro CIRCAL aluminium, we are taking it a step further and reducing our footprint even more," says Sjur Stangebye-Hansen, Operations Manager at Radium Instruments.

Thomas Cappelen Malling (left) and Sjur Stangebye-Hansen share a passion for time and watches and are the duo behind Radium Instruments. (Photo: Morten Paulsen)
Thomas Cappelen Malling (left) and Sjur Stangebye-Hansen share a passion for time and watches and are the duo behind Radium Instruments. (Photo: Morten Paulsen)

In addition to supplying the material, Hydro has also been an active partner in the prototyping of the watch and has provided manufacturing data that optimizes the use of Hydro CIRCAL material in the watch case, housing the high quality Swiss ETA 2892-2 movement ticking inside.

Indefinitely recyclable

Hydro CIRCAL is aluminium where at least 75 percent of the metal is recycled from consumer scrap. This means the metal used in Radium's watches has already had a life, for example as a car, bicycle, a facade on a building or even as a can of beer. Decades of research and innovation in metal scrap sorting and aluminum alloy recycling are behind the development of Hydro CIRCAL, which comes with a record-low footprint.

"Perhaps the biggest advantage of aluminium is that the metal can be recycled again and again, infinitely, without losing its properties. Recycled aluminium also uses only five percent of the energy required to produce aluminium for the first time. This means that the footprint of recycled aluminium is significantly reduced," says Hilde Kallevig, Head of Positioning and Branding at Hydro. 

The dial on the Sabotør series takes inspiration from the Nagra audio recording equipment of the 1950s. (Photo: Christian Kirkemo)
The dial on the Sabotør series takes inspiration from the Nagra audio recording equipment of the 1950s. (Photo: Christian Kirkemo)

By using recycled aluminium, energy consumption is much lower in the production phase, while at the same time Radium can offer a watch made of the highest quality metal.

A story of who we are and where we come from

“The idea behind the Radium watch brand is to tell stories of who we are and where we come from. We want to focus on uncompromising craftsmanship and like the idea of offering a watch that can be used every day. Both in function, form and appearance, a Radium watch should be a proper everyday watch,” says Malling.

“For a brand like Radium, that wants to build good storytelling and associations with quality and timeless design, it is important to choose materials that can support this story. We know that aluminium is very versatile and Radium's watches help to underline that. It's fun to see that our aluminium and our product series with recycled material is used to create design and form that is a bit 'unconventional' and that you may not normally associate with aluminium,” says Kallevig.

The lume on the Radium Nautic
The lume on the Radium Nautic. (Photo: Christian Kirkemo)

The name Radium Instruments comes from the traditional phosphor that was used back in the days in, for example, clocks and aircraft instruments. The use of radium made it possible for the watch hands to "glow" and provide good readability even in the dark.

However, due to radium's radioactive properties, it is naturally no longer used in the material of watches. In its watches, Radium instead uses the modern and harmless, but self-luminous material SuperLuminova on hands and markers.

"That’s why ‘Radium Instruments' is an obvious name for watches that stand out, with a history behind them," says Malling.

What does the future look like for Radium?

“We see it means a lot to our customers that our watches have a clear Norwegian DNA. This makes us stand out and we will continue to build on that. In the small watch market Norway represents, we are now quite well known, but it would be fun to expand further outside our own pond as well. We have quality in every step of our production and Radium .38 will take us to the next level,” says Thomas Malling of Radium Instruments.

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