Review: Rado Captain Cook Automatic

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Rado Captain Cook Automatic

Rado first released the new HyperChrome Captain Cook collection at Baselworld 2017. Over the last couple of years, the brand had launched a few variations of model – in terms of case size, design, and dial variation.

This year, Rado had created several iterations of the Captain Cook once again. What is interesting is that for this year, the brand had decided to produce one that is sized at 42mm – in between the models in the current line-up (37mm and 45mm). It is also available in different dial variants, although the green one had especially caught our eyes. How does the new Captain Cook stand up?

The Case, Dial and Hands

The watch – similar to its brethren in the collection – is inspired by the Captain Cook collection that was first produced in 1962. This can be seen in its different design cues – ranging from the arrow hands, indices, red anchor logo, as well as the red numerals on the date wheel. In addition, the 1960s vibes is accentuated by the domed sapphire crystal that pays tribute to the use of plexiglass in the yesteryear. The latter certainly adds a nice touch to the timepiece.

The 42mm case is made from stainless steel, and it is complemented with a concave bezel with an insert that is made from high-tech ceramic. This particular model is available with four different colour variants: blue, grey, black, and green.

Amongst the four variants, we feel that the green is perhaps the most outstanding option. It is probably stemmed from the fact that the watch is alluring in different lighting condition, which adds a rather unique touch to the timepiece. It is particularly stunning indoors, where the green appears to be darker and hence providing the watch a sense of mysteriousness. Similarly, when it is exposed to a light source, the sunburst effect provides a rather radiant shade of dark green – but not dissimilar to that of the British Racing Green. We like how there is a nice balance in terms of the choice of green that was selected, and that it is not too obtrusive nor overwhelming.

Movement: ETA C07

Powering the new Captain Cook is the ETA C07. It is a self-winding movement, with a decent power reserve of around 80 hours. It is also fitted with a date indicator, and the screw-down crown ensures that the watch and movement is water-resistant up to 20 bar (or 200 meters).

The watch is fitted with a closed caseback, and hence we are unable to ascertain the level of finishing for this piece. We do however hazard a guess that it is similarly finished as per the usual ETA movement, where it is pretty much industrial and nothing too extravagant for its price point. It is still a workhorse after all, through and through.

The Competitive Landscape

The Rado Captain Cook retails for S$2,800. It is modestly priced for a well-made timepiece with a rather handsome facade.

The watch is available in leather strap with a deployant clasp, as well as a vintage-styled “beads of rice” metal bracelet option. The straps are also fitted with a quick strap change mechanism to make the process more seamless and intuitive.

The Tudor Black Bay is one of the watches that has driven this trend of “vintage-inspired” watches. Since its inception, the Black Bay has seen the addition of multiple variations in its line-up. The BB58 is our favourite piece in the collection, although it is priced slightly higher than some of its other siblings. The BB58 retails at US$3,575 (approximately S$4,917), and its premium can be justified for the fact that the watch is powered by Tudor’s own in-house movement.

Next, we have something from Swatch Group: Longines Skin Diver. The Skin Diver is also another vintage-inspired timepiece, which pays homage to the brand’s first diver’s watch. One main difference between the Captain Cook and the Skin Diver is the use of faux patina, in which Longines had conscientiously utilised a rich creamy luminescence material for its indices and hands to achieve the aged tritium effect. The watch is priced at US$2,600 (approximately S$3,584).

Finally, we have the Oris Divers Sixty-Five. There are many iterations of the Divers Sixty-Five, which includes the Carl Brashear Limited Edition that is shown in the picture above. The base model in stainless steel, however, is priced rather modestly at CHF 1,850 (approximately S$2,539). It is fitted with a Sellita SW-200 movement, with a date display and a power reserve of around 38 hours. This is priced the closest to the Rado, and perhaps offers the greatest competition to Captain Cook.

Concluding Thoughts

It is actually rather difficult to find faults with the new 42mm Captain Cook. The watch is priced reasonably, and it looks rather good as well. In addition, the new 42mm case design fits nicely on our wrists – as the 37mm version might be a little too small for some, and the 45mm variant is perhaps too big for the majority of Asians here.

The watch is a pretty lethal package, and we can see that this might be a potentially popular model in the making. While Rado has certainly done a good job with the watch, we think that the more important element in the equation lies in how the brand should get the message across to let the collectors know that they’ve got something pretty special over here. That will be a real game changer, in our opinion.

Editor’s Note: We added the following photograph to illustrate how the dial might look like to the eye in natural lighting. Added at 6pm SGT, May 27.

Editor’s Note: The dial is very dark, and reflects light selectively. On flash photography, the camera is not able to capture the dial colours, showing a very dark image. Here is a slightly over exposed image in sunlight, which shows the dial colours. But to fully appreciate the colour of the dial, you need to see it in person.

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    • The dial is very dark green, and with the flash coming at an angle, it does not catch directional light from a flash well, and as a result appears very dark. With light incident directly to the dial, the eye sees a bright green spiral hot spot in real life, but this is not possible to capture by photograph. We can simulate this in Photoshop, but thought to leave it as captured by the camera. We added a slightly over exposed wrist shot to show how it might look like.