When watch collectors think ceramic, Rado is often the first brand to come to mind. The company has a history of pushing the boundaries of this scratch-resistant material and often combines it with avant-garde designs. Models such as its Diastar and True Square are just a few examples of the brand’s creative use of ceramic. This being said, Rado has also recognized the recent popularity of vintage-style dive watches. A few years ago it revived its 1960s diver and re-released its Captain Cook in steel and later bronze. Likely due to its success, earlier this year, the brand expanded its favorite material to the popular dive watch line. The Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic Diver line retains the diver’s classic style but renders it in modern ceramic. Most of the current models are available in unique, but still subtle colors. With its latest Limited Edition release, however, Rado continues to push the modernity of the line. Rado is also increasing the ceramic content with this LE, as it is the first Captain Cook with a fully ceramic bezel and crown. It features a one-piece ceramic case, as well as a ceramic bezel, bezel insert, and crown. Even the bracelet is constructed of ceramic, with ceramic buttons and a titanium clasp. The caseback is also titanium with a black PVD coating and a black-tinted sapphire window to match the case. Rado has also applied a number of changes under this Captain Cook’s boxed sapphire crystal (with AR on both sides) to further differentiate the limited edition. The dial is also made from sapphire, with a subtle smoked tint. This provides a view of its ETA-based calibre R808 from the front of the watch as well as the anchor-shaped rotor at the back. Wearers can see the balance wheel oscillating at 21,600 vph as well as estimate the state of wind (up to a total of 80 hours) by viewing the visible mainspring in its skeletonized barrel. The date display has also been removed so as not to impede the view. A black chapter ring surrounds the dial. Mounted above that are brushed gold-tone hour markers and hands that are filled with black Super-LumiNova (glowing blue at night). Laser-etched markings on the bezel are filled with matching gold paint. The dial wouldn’t be complete without the Captain Cook’s signature oscillating anchor logo.
At 43mm-wide, 29.8mm lug-to-lug, and 14.6mm-thick, this Captain Cook is on the larger side, but it should not feel too heavy. This is due to the fact that it is entirely made from lightweight ceramic and titanium. Despite its flashy appearance, it should also be a robust option for everyday wear. One of the concerns with some all-black watches is that the black coating is easily scratched, making the watch look worn. With a black ceramic case and bracelet, this concern is alleviated as ceramic is very hard, making it scratch-resistant. Even if it is somehow scratched, it is also the same color all the way through, which would make a scratch more difficult to see. A major impact does present the possibility of cracking the ceramic, but it should be robust against typical bangs and scratches. If you’re worried about getting it wet, it is also water-resistant to 300m. More than sufficient for any potential buyers, and has an impressive rating for a fully ceramic watch. Rado introduced its Captain Cook model to the market in 1962 to satisfy the demand from amateur and professional divers. Keen to conquer the depths, these underwater adventures would have been unfeasible without a proper watch. Production of the Captain Cook was halted in 1968, with the estimated total number of pieces released during six years as low as 8,000. In 2017, perhaps in response to the popular demand for vintage-looking models, Rado announced the vintage re-edition of the 1962 Captain Cook watch, 37mm in diameter, very close to the original, and a larger 45mm version. Since then, quite a few retro and vintage-inspired watches have been launched, including a 42mm Captain Cook Automatic in 2019, followed by Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic Bronze Collection in 2020. Last year the Master of Materials announced four versions of the 43mm Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic model, three of them with matte black ceramic cases and bracelets and black ceramic inserts in a steel bezel, with one option on a rubber strap. From its inception, Rado’s Captain Cook line has been associated with strong character and uncompromising innovation in both design and materials. The latest in the series, the Rado Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic Limited Edition again breaks new ground with a full-ceramic rotating bezel sporting a black, laser-etched ceramic insert and bright, bold indices in stylish relief.
The watch maintains the signature box-shaped sapphire crystal with a slight tint that is characteristic of the Captain Cook collection. The hour and minute hands as well as the bold geometric indices are visible even in low-light conditions thanks to the Super-LumiNova treatment. In the background, one can get a glance into the self-winding R808 caliber. This state-of-the-art movement is equipped with an antimagnetic Nivachron spring and delivers a power reserve of 80 hours.