Rado’s iconic Captain Cook timepiece has always been a favourite among watch fans, despite not enjoying the same level of notoriety its Swiss stablemates do. Released in the ’60s, the no-nonsense automatic diver had a distinctly minimalist feel, not disturbed by the lure of bells and whistles, and managed to capture the attention of the mid-tier luxury watch market. Despite laying dormant for decades, Rado spotted the potential in its own back catalogue in 2017, recreating the Captain Cook model for the modern age. This new release was an instant hit, demonstrating that a brand renowned for its modernist aesthetics and its use of unusual materials could still create an authentic dive watch.
Having proven popular with watch aficionados and casual watch fans, Rado quickly built on the watch’s success. A series of stunning variations followed. All contained the elements we loved – vintage charm, a simple dial layout, a sloping bezel and a quirky arrow hand. And of course, they all included Rado’s signature moving anchor logo. Yes really, the logo moves. Flash forward to 2022 and Rado is continuing to evolve, unveiling the first-ever Captain Cook Chronograph.
This is the first time the brand’s most masculine model has been available with this complication. And if you like the Rado Captain Cook as much as we do, then you’ll love this bold new variation. It’s larger than previous models, but still retains the DNA of the original. It’s sporty and versatile and a great example of the Rado ethos. As their motto states, “If we can imagine it, we can make it. And if we can make it, we will”.
The design is full of personality and the watch comes in three variations. There’s a brushed bronze case with a blue sunray dial and a stainless steel case with silver to blue or silver to black gradient. These eye-catching dials feature recessed sub-dials, large hands and tasteful red accents. We particularly like the symmetry of the dial. The sub-dials are well placed and the date is neatly tucked away at six o’clock. It’s red like earlier Captain Cook variations.
The build quality and specifications don’t disappoint either. This chunky 43mm watch is a legitimate diver and boasts 300M of water resistance. This is partly achieved through the screwed-down crown and pushers. There’s also a screwed-down case back – titanium on the bronze version. The exhibition back displays the slim R801 Swiss-Made automatic movement and each watch comes with two additional straps and a box modelled on an explorer’s treasure chest. Rado has nailed it here. They’ve taken a successful and colourful vintage design, beefed up the case and added a useful chronograph function.
Rado Captain Cook Chronograph Specs
Model name: Captain Cook Chronograph
Launch year: 2022
Reference number: R32146208 (Bronze with Blue Sunray), R32145208 (Steel with Blue Gradient), R32145158 (Steel with Black Gradient)
Movement: Rado Calibre R 801 chronograph automatic
Case: Bronze or Stainless Steel
Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 14.8 mm
Dial: Sunray or gradient finish, applied numerals and indices
Glass: Sapphire crystal with AR coating
Price: AUD$5,925 – $7,050
Lee Smith is an England-based watch expert and writer. He is the founder of Northwind Watches and Chronopolis.co.uk, a website dedicated to micro brands, niche releases and industry news.