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New: Rado Captain Cook Bronze – hands-on review

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The Rado Captain Cook is a timepiece that has been constantly held in high regard by us. It is no secret that we like the vintage-inspired timepiece; its palatable case size, design, and affordability certainly makes it a great value proposition for new and seasoned collectors alike. Available in three colour variations – blue, green and brown.

Rado Captain Cook Bronze

Launched in 2017, the Captain Cook has seen many iterations over the last three year. Rado had experimented with certain aspects of the watch, such as different case sizes and colour combinations. This year, Rado has taken it up a notch – with a new case material.

The Case, Dial and Hands

The new Captain Cook Bronze, as its nomenclature suggests, features a bronze case. This particular bronze case is interesting, as a very fine (3 micron) layer of 23 carat gold plating is applied on the case. The rationale behind this process is to stop the process of patina forming, between the time the watch is produced and the time it reaches the customer’s wrist. This layer of gold-plating will disappear over time – allowing the bronze case to oxidise and form its unique aesthetics.

Complementing the bronze case is the bronze bezel, which houses the high-tech ceramic insert with laser engraved and metallised numbers and markers. It is available in three different colours (blue, brown, and green), and it is matched with a sunburst dial of a similar colour scheme too.

The watch notably still retains its “classic” elements, such as the rotating Rado anchor logo, box-shaped sapphire crystal, and the red characters on the date disc. We think that the bronze case, upon oxidisation, will accentuate the vintage vibes even further.

Overall, we think that this combination works rather well. Particularly, the combination between the bronze case and green/blue bezel and dial combination is our pick, although the brown variant is not too far off the charts either.

Movement: ETA C07

Similar to the previous iterations, the Captain Cook Bronze is powered by 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 a screwed-down crown ensuring that the timepiece and movement is water-resistant of up to 20 bar (or 200 meters).

The watch is fitted with a solid titanium case back, with a trio of stamped seahorses. While we are unable to ascertain the level of finishing for this piece, we hazard a guess that it is industrial-level with not much extravagance or fanfare. It is still a workhorse after all, and it is certainly appropriate for a modestly priced timepiece at this price point.

The Competitive Landscape

The Rado Captain Cook Bronze retails for S$3,740. It is modestly priced for a well-made timepiece with pretty good looks.

YEMA Superman Bronze Bordeaux | Bronze patina

The YEMA Superman Bronze is a strong contender, with a highly competitive price point at US$1,399 (approximately S$1,908). What is also compelling is its in-house movement, which was designed, developed and assembled at the brand’s workshop. The only drawback is that the brand is relatively unknown, but we doubt that it will remain status quo for long.

The Oris Divers Sixty-Five Carl Brashear Limited Edition is another strong contender within the price range. This limited edition timepiece is fitted with a Sellita SW-200 movement, featuring a date display and a power reserve of around 38 hours. Priced at CHF 2,600 (approximately S$3,898), it offers collectors an great timepiece with an interesting story to boot.

We round it up with the Tudor Black Bay Bronze. This is the priciest timepiece amongst the lot, but it certainly has its own merits to back it up. The Black Bay is known to be a robust timepiece, and Tudor’s proprietary in-house movement is another plus point to consider as well. The Black Bay Bronze retails at US$4,150 (approximately S$5,663).

Concluding Thoughts

Just when we thought Rado could not improve the Captain Cook further, the new iteration with a bronze case certainly gave us a pleasant surprise. The rustic-looking material complements the vintage theme very well, and it adds a new dimension to the timepiece. The thoughtfulness of adding a thin layer of gold to prevent oxidisation of the bronze case is commendable too.

Overall, it is very difficult to fault the Captain Cook Bronze. Perhaps, the only qualm is that this iteration commands a slightly larger premium over its stainless steel brethren – but it is not unwarranted considering the additional layer of gold plating on top of the bronze case. It would, however, have been a home-run if it was priced a little more modestly.

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3 Comments

  1. There are so many different size Captain cooks that your review should specify the case size of this one.

  2. This looks like a great watch. Very nice price point. I am thinking of ordering one.

    I have a Tudor Black Bay Bronze Blue that is only available to buy in-person at Bucherer stores in Europe. It’s very nice with cool patina. It is chronometer certified and has very good visibility for diving. I like the blue color. I believe there is also a green one that is only available through Harrod’s.