To even the most casual Time+Tide reader, the Rado Captain Cook is likely to be a known quantity. A strong, stainless steel, vintage-inspired design, backed up by a reliable modern movement in a range of sizes … all true, but that’s no longer the extent of it. For the first time, we can now add three Rado Captain Cook bronze references to the collection.
Named after the British explorer who achieved the first recorded European contact with the east coast of Australia, the Rado Captain Cook was first produced from 1962 until 1968.
This was a legitimate dive watch that capitalised on a golden age of underwater exploration, when scuba diving became popular with the public at large, and watchmakers rushed to put watches on the wrists of this new breed of submerged shopper. The instantly recognisable design was revived in recent years, and the collection has enjoyed strong success as a fresh and eye-catching offering from the brand.
The exciting addition of the Rado Captain Cook Bronze marks a tangent within the collection that gives a totally new look and feel to a well-established part of the brand’s stable. The bronze produces an attractively warm tone in the 42mm case, and presents as a more engaging canvas against which the brightly coloured bezels and dials contrast.
In this release, Rado have delivered three colourways: green, blue and brown. They each offer a slightly different experience of the new case material, which aims to suit a range of tastes and preferences.
The case of the new Rado Captain Cook Bronze references follows the same path as the stainless steel expressions, with modern sizing and a solid caseback that guarantees 300m of water resistance. And for anyone whose skin reacts against bronze, the caseback is made from hypoallergenic titanium to make the watch wearable for all.
Behind the caseback is the reliable automatic caliber C07.611, which offers a much longer than standard 80 hours of power reserve. If you leave it on your desk on Friday night, it will still be running when you pick it up on Monday morning.
The bronze used to create the case is not the same bronze alloy typically used in watchmaking, which contains tin and copper, but instead is an alloy of aluminium and copper. While this might sound unimportant, the bronze that Rado has used in these watches has the benefit of developing its natural patina more slowly. It is more resistant to corrosion as it forms an aluminium oxide layer that protects the case against the elements, which means your Rado Captain Cook Bronze will look box-fresh for longer.
Sitting up from the bronze case is the 60-minute ceramic bezel, with all three bezels matching the dial colours of their respective references. Rado is well known for their expertise in producing ceramic components, from bezels to more complex shapes like cases and bracelets. As you would expect, the ceramic bezel is high quality, and is angled slightly towards the dial, a design point that is consistent across the Captain Cook collection.
The dials playfully interact with the light, thanks to the sunray and brushed finish featured in all three watches. This is some seriously lush graining going on here, they are among the very best on the market. Absolutely luxurious. The bronze hands and hour markers match the case, and are liberally applied with lume to offer strong legibility day and night.
All three references come with a soft leather strap that has been dyed to match the respective dial and bezel colours, and is secured with a pin buckle. Each of the straps is easy to change without tools, thanks to the simple adjustment mechanism found at the rear of the strap. While it’s a small detail, it goes a long way to making the watch more enjoyable to interact with on a day-to-day basis.
While this is the first venture into bronze as a material by the Rado Captain Cook collection, we hope it isn’t the last. The steel versions, while well-designed and versatile, don’t quite have the same exuberant pop that the bronze expressions do. In bronze, the Rado Captain Cook is even more eye-catching, and is an exciting new offering for those who prefer coloured metal watches.
Rado Captain Cook Bronze price and availability:
All three Rado Captain Cook references in bronze have an Australian RRP of $4025, and are available now.