One of the most symbolic timepieces ever produced by Rado is Captain Cook. Named after the famous British explorer James Cook, the watch was released in 1962 as a 37mm diver with 200m water resistance. Since its relaunch in 2017, the line has seen some fancy material applications such as 2020’s bronze collection, or 2021’s high-tech ceramic applications, which appear again in this year’s novelties.
What’s big this year for the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Diver series is that it now reaches water resistance of up to 300m which qualifies it for ISO 6425 dive watch certification.
Available in six models presented in black, gunmetal and olive shades, the sizeable 43mm watches run on Rado R763 movements with anti-magnetic Nivachron hairspring and 80-hour power reserve tucked inside a high-tech ceramic monobloc case.
Diehard fans will spot notable Captain Cook features such as the date window at 3 o’clock with red numbers — a wink to earlier editions — and the box-shaped glass, now in extremely scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides. Standard Captain Cook features are instantly recognisable: the bold, easy-grip stainless steel bezel with brushed ceramic inserts, engraved numbers and markers, as well as Super-LumiNova hands, and the screw-down titanium case back.
As an undisputed “master of materials”, Rado banks on the popularity and durability of ceramic which can be found on the bracelets in different colours, materials and finishes — all ruggedly sexy and poised to bring out more machismo in its wearer.
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My favourite is the easy-to-match gunmetal model with grey sunray brushed dial that has a lightweight bracelet made of matte and polished high-tech plasma ceramic, which looks just like metal. For something more fashionable, the tone-on-tone olive models are quite head-turning whether in the rubber strap or matte high-tech ceramic-bracelet version.
Enter the chrono
One of the biggest news for Rado this year is that Captain Cook is now available as a chronograph automatic in three different models, each encased in a treasure chest-inspired box with your choice of three different watch straps. This marks a step forward or the brand as it marries its vintage qualities with modern influences to create a solid performing watch with impressive finishing.
Beautiful to look at, the dial looks ultra-professional with second-hand counters, especially the blue sunray dial with contrasting bronze hands and indexes. Another key feature is the thinness of the case thanks to a new automatic R801 movement with a power reserve of 59 hours when fully wound. Like the diver series, this chrono line is also water-resistant up to 300m with key elements treated with Super-LumiNova for excellent readability even in low-light conditions.
On the outside, the new Captain Cook Chronograph wears the characteristic box-shaped glass in scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides. The thinner, more comfortable and stylish 43mm case, in either polished stainless steel or circular-brushed bronze, features a polished high-tech-ceramic inlay on the bezel, in blue or black, as a perfect complement to the flange and the dial colour.
The first model is our favourite sunray blue dial paired with bronze accents and presented with two Nato-style woven nylon straps and a navy blue leather strap. The second model comes in a silver-to-blue gradient with matching three-row stainless steel bracelet with brushed central links, navy blue leather strap and dark blue Nato-style nylon strap. The third model is a silver-to-black version with the same stainless steel bracelet, coffee-brown leather strap and black Nato-style nylon strap. The easy-clip system allows you to swap straps and the look of your watch in seconds.
For the true explorer, Rado launched a limited-edition reissue of the Captain Cook Over-Pole world timer — with only 1,962 numbered units available — inspired by the original version from the 60s. While maintaining its vintage look and smallish 37mm diameter, this timepiece does get some modern updates such as a high-tech ceramic insert added to the bezel, laser engraving and new sapphire crystal glass treated with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
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Serving as the world time function, the polished high-tech ceramic bezel is engraved with the names of 24 iconic cities and locations, allowing you to keep track of time across the globe. The bezel is further complemented by a 24-hour scale around the edge of the dial.
Inside and visible through the see-through caseback is the Rado R862 calibre with Nivachron antimagnetic hairspring — a manual movement that has a great 80-hour power reserve. Sealed in sapphire crystal, the stainless steel backing is engraved with the word “Limited Edition” and the timepiece’s edition unit number.
The watch is delivered in a stylish brown pouch with a second bracelet, in rice-grain-style polished stainless steel, quickly interchangeable for a different look, thanks to the easy-clip system.