Since its revival five years ago, the Rado Captain Cook watch collection has become an easy favourite for collectors with a love of vintage-inspired dive watches. In what is relatively a short period of time, we have seen the design evolve from classic steel-engineered automatic models to bronze cased editions and more recently, those with full high-tech ceramic profiles. The latter is what is being expanded today, with the new 2022 Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic collection swapping out its previous smoked glass and skeletonised dial for a clear, easy to read divers display.
Last year’s Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic watch was a pleasant excursion away from its typically retro styling, offering a full high-tech ceramic case and bracelet and a matching ceramic bezel paired with a resolutely contemporary smoked transparent dial which allowed a subtle view of the skeletonised automatic winding movement within. Although this was – and still is – a striking look, it excluded itself from the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches, and as such, of the wrists of real underwater explorers. Making up for that is a new range of Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic watches for 2022, these offering the same solid, scratch resistant and lightweight architecture as last year’s selection but with traditional, easy-to-read centrepieces and ISO certification.
There are six new Rado Captain Cook Ceramic watches to choose from, two in matte black high-tech ceramic, two in a wonderful olive green matte high-tech ceramic and a final duo of plasma ceramic designs. Known as the “Master of Materials”, the Swiss watch manufacturer is no stranger to material innovation, especially that of ceramic. High-tech ceramic has played a central role in the brand’s history of watchmaking since the launch of the world’s first scratchproof watch, the Rado Diastar, in 1962. Their high-tech ceramic came a few years later, impressing with an even better resilience to scratches as well as offering lightweight wear and a unique ability to adapt to your body’s temperature almost immediately.
As for plasma ceramic, this offers a significantly more noticeable metallic shine in comparison to the other four Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic watches. To achieve this, white ceramic is transformed by gases activated at 20,000°C in an extremely hot oven to turn it into an incredibly high-shine, almost shimmering material. The beauty of this impressive material is that while it may look different, it still showcases all the appeal of high-tech ceramic including hardness, scratch resistance, lightness and hypoallergenic properties.
All six Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic offer much of the same specification, including 43mm diameters, 14.6mm heights and a lug-to-lug distance 49.8mm. They all follow the same profile as previous Captain Cook references with a monobloc design equipped with a stainless steel unidirectional rotating bezel. The bezels are paired with ceramic inserts coloured in the same hue as their cases engraved and decorated with a white lacquer 60 minute scale and a Superluminova triangular marker at 12 o’clock.
All cases, high-tech ceramic or plasma ceramic, also come with stainless steel screw down crowns and titanium case backs, the latter nicely engraved with the classic image of two sea horses. The Rado Captain Cook Ceramic watches secure to the wrist by rubber straps or bracelets engineered from the same material as their case. The rubber bands close by pin buckles while the bracelets feature folding clasps. On top, boxed sapphire crystal glass protects the dial beneath and ensures easy legibility with a layer of anti-reflective treatment. For the first time, the Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic watches come with ISO 6425 certification and a water resistant rating of 300 metres.
The dials of the Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic watches are another key difference between those that were launched last year. Rather than the skeletonised centre, a classic layout is elected to ensure readability in all conditions. For the high-tech ceramic models, the colour of the dial matches that of the case while the plasma ceramic reference comes with a smoked grey or smoked blue face. Each dial is decorated with a large arrow-shaped hour hand, sword-shaped minutes hand, pointed seconds hand and applied indexes all detailed with Superluminova. We’re also treated to a date window at 3 o’clock highlighted in red print and the famous spinning anchor logo with a synthetic ruby backplate.
The movement responsible for the time and date display is the Calibre R763 automatic winding movement, otherwise known by the Swatch Group as the Powermatic 80. It features 25 jewels, a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and an extended power reserve of 80 hours. It also comes with an anti-magnetic Nivachron balance spring for improved reliability and accuracy.