Sometimes, a watch’s appeal is purely aesthetic, while other times, a notable movement or complication is the main attraction. Rarely, however, does a timepiece truly bridge both of these different worlds in the manner of the new Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton . A synthesis of eye-catching design and impressive feats of engineering, it brings together matte grey ceramic with a skeletonized, highly accurate automatic movement for the best in both looks and timekeeping.
In order to achieve the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton unique aesthetic, ceramic is forged in a furnace at a temperature greater than that of the sun’s surface – 36,032° Fahrenheit to be exact. This ceramic forms the 43mm anthracite-colored monobloc case and matching plasma high-tech bracelet, whose lighter center links provide a welcome bit of contrast to the darker shade of the rest of the case and bracelet. Sitting atop the case is a bezel fitted with a circular brushed, high-tech ceramic bezel insert with a 60-minute count-up scale. With its pops of rose gold color, it perfectly matches the case’s oversized, screw-down crown, which helps ensure an impressive 300m of water resistance.
The typical box-shaped crystal of the Captain Cook family is lightly smoked in a grey color that meshes with the watch’s anthracite aesthetic. Beneath it is a sparse, plasma grey dial with a rose gold outer minute track, matching applied indices, and a highly visible sword handset — plus a liberal coating of Super-LumiNova for visibility in low-light situations. The spartan design is purposeful; beneath it sits the skeletonized Rado automatic Calibre R808 movement, visible to the wearer in all its glory. This calibre, with its antimagnetic Nivachron hairspring, boasts a “weekend-proof” 80-hour power reserve and exceeds testing standards from three to five positions for excellent, accurate timekeeping.
When Swiss brand Rado, known for its pioneering work with ceramic watchcases in the 1980s, suddenly pivoted in 2017 to a reissue of a steel dive watch from the 1960s, it was a surprise hit with dive-watch fans, particularly those who like their faithful diver reissues. Since then, the brand has made the Captain Cook a pillar collection, adding larger editions as well as different colorways and materials. Until now, however, the new generation looked very similar to its original ’60s inspiration.
In a new twist, this month Rado launches a very different Captain Cook, one with a skeletonized movement and deploying a host of new ideas and materials that transform the once-straightforward tool watch into a whole different animal. The Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton has a monobloc case made from an anthracite-color ceramic, which is echoed by the outer links of the attendant ceramic bracelet. The bezel insert, also in plasma high-tech ceramic but circular-brushed, appears a bit lighter and matches the central links of the bracelet. As on the OG Captain Cook, the bezel dips in toward the dial (a classic feature of ’60s dive watches). Upping the luxe factor still further, a rose-gold-tone metallic chapter ring echoes the toothed edge of the bezel and bounces light, drawing the eye toward the watch’s center, where the R808 horizontal brushed-nickel automatic movement is on display beneath a gray-tinted sapphire-crystal dial.
The Rado Captain Cook collection is a skilful blend of retro vibes and high-tech materials. Ok, it’s also available in more conventional stainless steel or bronze but the high-tech ceramic models will always be a bit extra special. It displays Rado’s industry-leading know-how of the material and the brand’s ability to apply it to any style of watch. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen many interesting and cool combinations of colour and even skeleton models. Continuing from last year’s Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton n Limited Edition, Rado adds a new non-limited ‘gunmetal’ grey and gold-coloured model to the collection.