The Low Down
Introduced in 2017, the Rado Captain Cook was a thoughtful remake of a historic ’60s dive watch, and with its 80-hour power reserve, scratch-proof ceramic bezel insert and antimagnetic hairspring, offered one of the best price-to-performance ratios in the sub-$2000 dive watch category. Since then, Rado has expanded the Captain Cook family beyond the initial niche it was intended to fill, resulting in a diverse range of watches that vary in depth rating, proportions and sense of occasion.
Arguably the boldest interpretation of all was the pink-gold-coloured Captain Cook created in collaboration with the French-Austrian fashion designer Marina Hoermanseder. There is something so very appealing about infusing a thread of glamour and playfulness to a steely-eyed tool watch. Marina’s Captain Cook featured a diamond-set dial paired with an extra-long pink leather strap that wraps twice around the wrist with an errant outsized buckle. This time around, Rado and the award-winning designer has introduced a Captain Cook with a rainbow-coloured gem-set dial.
Depth rated to 100 metres, the watch measures 37mm wide and has a case made from stainless steel coated with yellow-gold-coloured PVD. The unidirectional bezel incorporates a white ceramic insert with laser-engraved, gold-coloured metallised markers and numerals, matching the case. Glistening under a box-shaped sapphire crystal are eight gems that encircle the dial as follows: blue sapphire, light blue aquamarine, green tsavorite, yellow sapphire, orange sapphire, red spinel, pink sapphire, violet sapphire.
Breaking up the gradient of gems are large quarter-hour markers that are filled with white SuperLuminova. In turn, the circle of gems becomes incredibly subdued, with a stylized seconds hand in the shape of Marina Hoermanseder’s heartbeat logo dominating the dial from a distance.
Visible through a sapphire screw-down case back is the self-winding R763, which is the ETA C07.611 calibre also used by several of its sister brands within the Swatch Group. The movement is most notable for delivering an 80-hour power reserve, achieved by reducing balance frequency to 3 Hz while the barrel arbor is made smaller to accommodate a longer mainspring. In addition, the hairspring is made from Nivachron, a titanium-based alloy with a magnetism resistance superior to that of the standard Nivarox alloy.
Best of all, the watch comes with three different strap/bracelet – a rice-grain type, yellow-gold-colour PVD-coated steel bracelet, an additional double-length leather NATO strap with an embossed alligator pattern and lastly, a black standard-length leather strap with the same embossed alligator-motif surface. The spring bars feature a quick-release system called “EasyClip”, enabling the straps to be swapped on the go without tools.
Over the past years, a great of number of watches adorned with a shimmering symphony of colours have emerged on the market. But few can be had at this price point and even fewer are based off a rugged tool watch, an appealing juxtaposition. While replacing blocky indices with coloured gems appears to be a minor change cosmetically, it makes a major difference to the archetype of a dive watch; just the way the indications on the elapsed timekeeping bezel segue into a party of rainbow stones on the dial is positively amusing.
Movement: Self-winding R763; 80 hours of power reserve; 3 Hz or 21,600 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds; elapsed time bezel
Case: 37 by 11.1mm; yellow-gold-coloured PVD-coated stainless steel case and bezel with white ceramic insert; water-resistant to 100 metres
Dial: White; yellow-gold-coloured applied indexes with white Super-LumiNova; jubilé 8 rainbow stones 125/130, full cut, eye clean, 0.073 carat (blue sapphire, light blue aquamarine, green tsavorite, yellow sapphire, orange sapphire, red spinel, pink sapphire, violet sapphire)
Strap: Yellow-gold-coloured PVD-coated stainless steel, rice grain type bracelet with three-fold clasp; black double length leather NATO strap with stamped alligator pattern with Marina’s trademark buckle; black leather strap with stamped alligator pattern with pin buckle