Captain of Industry: Rado Raises the Bar With the New Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Watches

Captain of Industry: Rado Raises the Bar With the New Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Watches

In the 1960s, the world saw Jacques Cousteau conquer the depths of the oceans, his iconic videos inspiring a newfound love of underwater exploration. Rado wasn’t alone in introducing tool watches to the legion of divers, both professional and amateur. Their popular Captain Cook model was offered from 1962 to 1968.

Rado surprised everyone when they reintroduced a vintage homage version of the Captain Cook in 2017. They were rewarded in turn by the popularity and success of the release. Several follow-up versions created an impressive catalog of watches that looked very different from their modern and fashionable ceramic lines. In 2020, they released the Captain Cook Bronze in a 42mm high-tech bronze case that included a bezel with ceramic inlay. Now Rado has raised the bar further with a high-tech ceramic case with semi-transparent dial and the addition of a Nivachron hairspring with adjustjustment in five positions.

With its spinning anchor logo and the 37mm case size, the Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook model from 2017 was a faithful representation of the original watch launched in 1968.
With its spinning anchor logo and the 37mm case size, the Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook model from 2017 was a faithful representation of the original watch launched in 1968.

The first noticeable change is the 43mm high-tech ceramic case with a monobloc construction. Rado did increase the case diameter marginally by 1mm from the more recent models. The height also increased from 12.5mm to 14.6mm, and the lug-to-lug width increased from 48.6mm to 49.8mm. The overall incremental changes give the timepiece a well-balanced appearance, like the recent adjustments made by Rolex for the Submariner.

The case is protected by a complicated box-style sapphire crystal, maintaining a vintage-inspired depth to the aesthetic of the watch. The bezel remains high-tech ceramic with laser engraved metallized numbers and markers. Just inside the bezel is a satin flange with a minute track that circles the dial, adding an interesting texture to the façade. With the hardened screw-down crown and ceramic case, the water resistance has increased to 300 meters.

Rado has introduced four versions of the 43mm Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic this year. While three of them have matte black ceramic cases and bracelets with black ceramic inserts in a steel bezel, the fourth option comes on a black rubber strap.(©Revolution)
Rado has introduced four versions of the 43mm Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic this year. While three of them have matte black ceramic cases and bracelets with black ceramic inserts in a steel bezel, the fourth option comes on a black rubber strap.(©Revolution)

The dial creates a sense of motion with the movement visible behind the black-tinted sapphire crystal. It’s an effective technique to showcase the inner workings of the mechanical movement that is rarely observed from the front. Rado does this effectively without sacrificing the legibility of the dial or ease of reading the time.

The hands are uniquely vintage Rado with an oversized arrow for the hour, a sword for the minute and a stylized, pear-shaped arrow for the seconds. The hands and indices are coated with a white Super-LumiNova for night and low light, providing clear legibility, even in harsh conditions.

The Captain Cook model name is printed in a distinct italicized font at six o’clock. It is balanced well by the rotating anchor above the white Rado logo at 12 o’clock. The ruby backdrop and rhodium-colored anchor in motion is a whimsical element reminding the wearer of the mechanical nature of the timepiece on their wrist.

All four models of the new Rado Captain Cook are powered by calibre R734 based on ETA caliber C07.611 and now upgraded with a Nivachron hairspring. (©Revolution)
All four models of the new Rado Captain Cook are powered by calibre R734 based on ETA caliber C07.611 and now upgraded with a Nivachron hairspring. (©Revolution)

The Rado R734 automatic movement is based on ETA caliber C07.611, but now upgraded with a Nivachron hairspring. Nivachron is a new non-magnetic alloy based on titanium developed in a collaboration between Swatch Group and Audemars Piguet in 2018. The innovation is important for its shock resistance, reduced sensitivity to temperature variations and its paramagnetic characteristics — the ability to reduce problematic magnetization in the hairspring of a timepiece, which could negatively affect its timekeeping accuracy.

The new balance spring technology can reduce the influence of magnetic fields found in many everyday electronics like vacuum cleaners, computers, stereo speakers and even smartphones.

The new Captain Cook Automatic is available in four models. The first is a black-on-black color scheme. The case is matt black high-tech ceramic. The bezel is hardened stainless steel with a polished black ceramic insert and gray and black flange. The crown is polished stainless steel and the hands are rhodium colored. This model is available with a bracelet of matt black ceramic outer links and polished black interior ceramic links, and features a titanium three-fold clasp with ceramic opener. A variation of this model is available with a black rubber strap with a stainless-steel extendable folding clasp.

The hands are uniquely vintage Rado with an oversized arrow for the hour, a sword for the minute and a stylized, pear-shaped arrow for the seconds. (©Revolution)
The hands are uniquely vintage Rado with an oversized arrow for the hour, a sword for the minute and a stylized, pear-shaped arrow for the seconds. (©Revolution)

The second is a black and gold model that adds a sense of contrast and panache. The case is matt black high-tech ceramic. The bezel is rose gold colored, PVD-coated stainless steel with a polished black ceramic insert and rose-gold flange. The crown is a polished rose gold colored PVD-coated stainless steel and the hands are rose gold. The bracelet has matt-black ceramic outer links with polished ceramic inner links and a titanium three-fold clasp with black high-tech ceramic openers.

The final is a blue and stainless steel model for a more classic dive-watch aesthetic. The case is matt plasma high-tech ceramic. The bezel is hardened stainless steel with a polished blue ceramic insert and blue flange. The crown is hardened polished stainless steel and the hands are rhodium colored. The bracelet has matt plasma ceramic outer links and polished plasma ceramic inner links with a titanium three-fold clasp with “Ceramos” openers. Ceramos is Rado’s proprietary blend of high-tech ceramic and a metal alloy.

The dial creates a sense of motion with the movement visible behind the black-tinted sapphire crystal. (©Revolution)
The dial creates a sense of motion with the movement visible behind the black-tinted sapphire crystal. (©Revolution)

The innovative use of materials and thoughtful design help Rado deliver a bona fide diver’s watch with a bold take on their 1960s classic. The high-tech-ceramic case and tinted sapphire-crystal dial with the exposed movement is a refreshing new visual combination for the Captain Cook line.

Tech Specs

Rado Captain Cook Automatic Reference 734.6127.3.015 / R32 127 15 2
Rado Captain Cook Automatic Ref 734.6127.3.015/R32 127 15 2

Movement: Automatic Rado R734 with Nivachron hairspring; 80-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Case: 43mm; matt black high-tech ceramic case; stainless-steel bezel with polished black high-tech ceramic insert
Dial: Black tinted sapphire crystal
Strap: Ceramic bracelet
Price: CHF 3,600

Rado Captain Cook Automatic Reference 734.6127.3.215 / R32 127 15 6
Rado Captain Cook Automatic Ref 734.6127.3.215/R32 127 15 6

Movement: Automatic Rado R734 with Nivachron hairspring; 80-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours,minutes and seconds
Case: 43mm;matt black high-tech ceramic case;hardened stainless-steel bezel with polished black high-tech ceramic insert
Dial: Black tinted sapphire crystal
Strap: Blackrubber
Price: CHF 3,300

Rado Captain Cook Automatic Reference 734.6128.3.020 / R32 128 20 2
Rado Captain Cook Automatic Ref 734.6128.3.020/R32 128 20 2

Movement: Automatic Rado R734 with Nivachron hairspring; 80-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours,minutes and seconds
Case: 43mm;matt plasma high-tech ceramic case;hardened stainless-steel bezel with polished blue high-tech ceramic insert
Dial: Black tinted sapphire crystal
Strap: Ceramic bracelet
Price: CHF 3,800

Rado Captain Cook Automatic Reference 734.6127.3.016 / R32 127 16 2
Rado Captain Cook Automatic Ref 734.6127.3.016/R32 127 16 2

Movement: Automatic Rado R734 with Nivachron hairspring; 80-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Case: 43mm; matt black high tech ceramic case; rose-gold-colored PVD-coated stainless-steel bezel with polished black high-tech ceramic insert
Dial: Black tinted sapphire crystal
Strap: Ceramic bracelet
Price: CHF 3,700

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