Announced this year at Baselworld, the HyperChrome Captain Cook collection is reviving and reinterpreting a Rado from the 1960s. There are three versions, a 45 mm with titanium case, a 37 mm stainless steel for ladies that also includes eight diamonds on the dial, and finally, a 37 mm gent’s model that stays faithful to the original design. The latter is limited to 1962 pieces, in a nod to the year when the original model was launched. I was probably not alone in taking notice of this watch among the avalanche of new models that came out from Basel and finally, I had the possibility to spend a few weeks with this neo-vintage Rado. Before we go into more details, let me show you what the original model looked like:
With the new Captain Cook, we are very close to the original model, except a few details. The first major difference that hit me is the lack of cyclops above the date, and I don’t miss it. Another change that I could notice is the dial colour, it seems to be a darker shade of brown with a reddish hue instead of the greenish, almost khaki colour. The sunburst dial itself is quite sophisticated, I would say unpredictable at first. When I opened the box that came in the mail, at the first glance it looked good, but only when I took the watch outside to the natural light of the afternoon, the dial came alive under the thick sapphire crystal.
Despite its size, I find the dial to be quite masculine. The lume-filled indexes are bold and the broad-arrow hour hand looks fearless. The minute marks are pushed out to the chapter ring, leaving more space for the indexes to spread out. It goes without saying, the readability is very good, just as you would normally get from a tool watch and the generous amount of Super-Luminova makes an excellent job in darker situations. The domed crystal deserves a closer look because it just makes everything on the dial a lot more interesting. Depending on the angle you will look at the watch and the ambient light, the dial will always change and morph to reveal another of its unexpected facets.
One fascinating aspect of the Captain Cook watch is its profile. The thick crystal is domed, contributing to the 11.1 mm height of the watch, yet a large part of it is protected by the bezel which has a unique shape. Instead of being flat, as we usually would find on other watches, it has a downward slope towards the crystal. Now, this is interesting because it lets the crystal to show its beautiful dome, yet there is less chance of banging it. Extra bonus point to Rado! The rotating bezel has a black high-tech ceramic insert, yet, it has no lume whatsoever, which somehow defeats the purpose of a rotating bezel. Not a big deal, after all, nobody would go diving with this watch, it is water-resistant to 10 bar (100 m), so it’s OK for showering and eventually swimming, but without a doubt, it is not a diving watch.
There was one detail though, that really bothered me and I’m sorry Rado, but I will have to take back that bonus point. As you can see, the bezel is wider than the case and it is actually cowering, or if you want to call it this way, it is protecting the crown. I have a small wrist and my fingers are not exactly sausage size, yet I still found it challenging to adjust the time and especially, to wind the watch. Would the crown been made a little bit longer, maybe by a millimetre or two, adjusting the time would have been a lot easier.
But I should stop complaining because the Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook is a gorgeous watch. The size, at least for me is perfect. Even if you have a larger wrist, it will still look great, it looks like a vintage watch, yet it is made from high-end materials, scratch-resistant ceramic bezel and sapphire crystal. A watch built to last. The brown dial and the brown vintage leather strap looks great with blue jeans, it just looks and feels cool. If you have to, it can be easily dressed up, its thin profile and beautiful details make it suitable for formal occasions.
The solid back is decorated with three seahorses and three stars, while under the hood, there is an ETA C07.611 automatic movement, with a generous 80-hours power reserve, keeping excellent time.
I have a huge respect for Rado, it is one of my favourite brands because they have the guts to innovate, to be ahead of times when it comes to watch design. Because of this, the Captain Cook watch has a rather special place in the Rado universe. It is a blast from the past, a proof that Rado was always a master of timeless designs. People like vintage watches and neo-vintage watches have many advantages over the original ones, but with the Captain Cook, Rado is coming to a market crowded by Longines Legend Divers, Heritage Diver 43s, Oris Diver Sixty-Fives and many other neo-vintage tool watches. Yet, I’m not worried for the Captain Cook collection, especially the limited edition model that I reviewed here. I took it to a RedBar meeting in Montreal and the vintage watch fanatics were all over it.
Here in Canada, it retails for CA$2,200, which is not a bad price for a Rado with this specs and especially with this looks. For more about Rado and to find an authorized dealer, go to www.rado.com
Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook Ref. 763.0500.3.130
11 1/2 ETA C07.611, automatic, 25 jewels, 3 hands, date at 3 o’clock printed in red, up to 80 hours power reserve
polished stainless steel
black high-tech ceramic insert engraved and coated, fixed in a
stainless steel turning bezel
polished stainless steel case back with 3 sea horses stamped
polished stainless steel crown
box shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides
water-resistant to 10 bar (100m)
special engraving on case back: LIMITED EDITION ONE OUT OF 1962
black sunbrushed, printed indexes with vintage look coloured Super-LumiNova®
silver coloured printed Captain Cook, Rado and Automatic logos
large rhodium coloured moving anchor symbol with red background
rhodium coloured with vintage look coloured Super-LumiNova®
brown vintage leather
stainless steel pin buckle
37.3 x 43.1 x 11.1 (WxLxH in mm)