Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic SkeletonFergus Nash
Rado are a brand focused on innovation, and have been ever since the DiaStar introduced the idea of scratch-resistant watch cases. The Rado Integral of the ‘80s announced their exploration of ceramics, and it soon became one of their specialties. Despite being a hit when it was released in 2017, the retro-flavoured Captain Cook diver hasn’t been left to stagnate either. The Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic brought two fantastic worlds together, and its latest development involves fiery highlights for its calibre R808.
Of course, just producing a ceramic version of the original Captain Cook would have been far too simple for Rado. Instead, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic is purpose-built for adventuring. No matter how polished or gilded a model may look, each are equally up to the task of braving the outdoors. Ceramic’s scratch and heat resistance make it ideal for brushing up against trees, as well as being more comfortable on a hot, sweaty wrist. Brushed finishes are usually used to denote sportiness and are great at hiding scratches, while polished cases showcase their sophistication by boasting their unblemished shine.
Here with the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton, there’s no compromise between style and lifestyle. A grey and gold combination is always going to come across well, and the tone of the case almost looks like an ethereal titanium. The satin grey case is offset by glimmering polished centre-links and rose gold PVD-coated elements to great effect, simultaneously feeling robust and charming. The diameter of 43mm and 14.6mm thickness lend themselves towards a chunky and masculine image, although the 49.8mm lug-to-lug is tame enough to fit comfortably on an average wrist.
When Rado initially launched the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic, it was paired with the calibre R734. This was their version of the Powermatic 80 movement which so many Swatch brands have benefitted from, and it was partially revealed beneath a smoked dial. Now that the movement is on full display with the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton, Rado have developed the R808 for a much better viewing experience. The transparent dial Is clear, giving an intimate view of the newly-arranged bridges that feel truly high-tech. The golden components help to add a greater sense of depth too, adding to the complexity of its appearance.
Seeming to float above the dial are strong applied hour markers, with gilt surrounds to compliment the hand set and chapter ring. The Rado anchor at 12 o’clock spins just like a miniature winding rotor, and the warm glow of the rose gold is really brought out by the brushed bezel insert.
Although the calibre R808 has been given a lot of love to make a striking feature of the dial, at its heart it’s still based on the ETA C07.611, also known as the Powermatic 80. While the 3Hz beat rate, Nivachron hairspring and 80-hour power reserve are still expected as standard, the cosmetic changes of the plates, bridges, and decorations are not the only upgrades to the movement. The R808 has been tested for accuracy in 5 positions instead of the previous 3, meaning that its tolerances should be more consistent. The caseback is made of titanium with a sapphire display window, showing off the extra movement decoration and the automatic winding rotor.
Most of the joy of a ceramic watch comes from the appearance and weight of a ceramic bracelet, especially when paired with quite a large watch. The lightness on the wrist just adds to its outdoorsy capability, and also contributes to its charm. Outer links of dark grey ceramic blend into the case beautifully, while the centre-links are polished to a mercury-like silver sheen. The smoothness that ceramic can achieve really does come across as otherworldly in a way that steel rarely can, and the metallic colouring adds an extra layer of intrigue. Holding it together is a clasp milled from solid titanium, continuing the lightweight theme in a material more suited to thinness without breaking. With a lug width of 21mm, you’ll probably want to keep it on the bracelet, however the traditional spring bars are easy to exchange if you want to experiment with other straps.
The Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton pricing and availability
The Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton is available now at Rado retailers. Price: A$7,125
|Model||Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton|
|Case Dimensions||43mm (D) x 14.6mm (T) x 49.8mm (LTL)|
|Water Resistance||300 metres|
|Movement||R808, ETA C07 base, automatic|
|Power Reserve||80 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds|