HANDS-ON: Rado’s new Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic is a statement piece and material flexRicardo Sime
On the long list of watch brands known to excel with ceramic, Rado easily finds its place in the top five. Going beyond just a shiny bezel insert, the brand makes full use of the material in a large percentage of their watches from ceramic cases to ceramic bracelets. They’ve been doing it for years, too. In 1986, they released the Rado Ceramica, often described as the first watch in the world with a bracelet, crown and case made entirely out of this high-tech material. Yet, with this latest offering, somehow Rado immerses itself even further. Say hello to the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Limited Edition.
The Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic shares many of the same specifications as its predecessors. It’s housed in a 43mm case with a 49.8mm lug-to-lug and a diver decent 14.4mm thickness (a portion of which is due to the box sapphire crystal used). The crown is still screwed down and water resistance hits a comfortable 300 metres. However, beyond these specifications, Rado has made quite a few design changes.
It all starts at the grainy, smoky grey matte bezel. It’s not immediately noticeable in pictures but once in hand, if you’re familiar with the other ceramic Captain Cook watches, you’ll see it. This version lacks the polished stainless-steel trim on its bezel as well as a polished stainless-steel crown. Rado instead leans heavily into its Master of Materials moniker, replacing these parts with ceramic. They also decide to lose the glossy ceramic finishes, giving everything a matte finish instead.
Overall, these changes give the case a very toolish aesthetic that makes the watch feel less like a diver and more like a rough and tumble, everyday-wear piece.
But the differences don’t end there because we’re then blessed with a skeleton gilt dial. It consists of black coloured lume on the hands and applied markers. Yellow-gold coloured stainless steel frames that lume, continuing the black and gold motif. We also have gold coloured lettering, which sits upon a slightly tinted sapphire-crystal dial, beautifully displaying the movement beneath.
The overall look here works well, with the dial still being quite legible. Rado’s decision to cut back on the strength of the dial tint also gives it a pop their previous darker tinted skeleton watches were missing.
Securing the watch to your wrist is a ceramic bracelet. It has a three-link design and features a slight taper to the clasp. That clasp being one of the few places on the watch where titanium is used instead of ceramic.
The bracelet is also finished in the same matte found on the case. It’s a bit of a fingerprint magnet however design-wise, it goes perfectly with the case.
Once on the wrist, the bracelet feels quite comfortable, with the three-link design allowing the watch to really hug my wrist. I’d be remiss though to not highlight the fact that the experience benefited tremendously from the lightness of the ceramic. What would normally feel like a heavy stainless-steel diver instead feels like air.
Powering the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic is the Rado Calibre R808. It features a Nivachron hairspring that helps combat the effects of magnetism. The power reserve is a weekend-friendly 80 hours and the beat rate is 3hz (21600). And should you be worried about accuracy, the movement is tested in five positions instead of the standard three.
Furthermore, seeing as this is a skeleton watch, Rado has gone the extra mile and finished both sides of the movement. Whether looking at the front or back, you’re treated to Geneva stripes and gold accents. You even get an open mainspring barrel to view the mainspring coiling as you wind the watch.
In my time with the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic, I found the watch to be quite a statement piece for the brand. Not only does it show their prowess when it comes to working with ceramic, but it also shows how the Captain Cook line is the perfect canvas for bold design. Something unique and visually interesting can be made from it without losing the core DNA of a Captain Cook.
Which is why for fans of the brand who are in search of something different, this watch, with its gilt dial and matte black finishing may be a perfect choice.
The Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Limited Edition pricing and availability:
The Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Limited Edition is available now on their website and is limited to 1962 pieces. Price: $4,450 USD
|43mm x 49.8mm x 12mm
|Matt black high-tech ceramic
|Boxed sapphire with inner and outer coating of AR
|Gilt on sapphire
|High-Tech Ceramic, Titanium