Rado’s Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Is a Unique Take on a Dive Watch

Made from the brand's High-Tech Ceramic material and featuring a skeletonized dial, the latest Rado Captain Cook is an innovative take on the dive watch category.

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Gear Patrol Studios
  • Brand: Rado
  • Product: Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic
  • Price: $3,300+
  • From: rado.com

        The first Rado Captain Cook was launched in 1962, and while much time has passed between then and now, Rado's latest iteration of the timepiece still maintains some of that vintage charm. The release in question, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic, while inspired by the original, is a modern statement piece that combines the latest materials and finishes developed by Rado with the reliable calibre R734. It offers 300m of water resistance (a nice upgrade over the 200m of the original Captain Cook), an antimagnetic Nivachron hairspring and an 80-hour power reserve. But the real star of the show is the High-Tech Ceramic material it's made from. We spent a week with the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic to see how it wears in daily life.

        From the Brand

        "The Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic is the culmination of many years of research and development together with the history and tradition of the Rado Captain Cook. The further development of the Captain Cook collection in high-tech ceramic is Rado’s DNA in its purest form."

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        Gear Patrol Studios

        What We Like

        Right out of the box, our tester noted that the latest release in the Captain Cook line looks and feels different than previous iterations. That's because it's made from Rado's High-Tech Ceramic material, a highly durable material that Rado developed roughly three decades ago. While iterations of it have featured on other Rado timepieces, this is the first time that the brand has applied it to the Captain Cook. The result is nothing short of striking. The matte black case and bracelet, paired with the gold accents on the bezel and various touchpoints, make for an eye-catching watch. Furthering that point is the open-worked, skeletonized dial — which allows the wearer to see into the inner workings of the watch. It's unlike any other dive watch on the market and captivated our tester each time they glanced down to check the time.

        But beyond looks, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic has a few other tricks up its sleeve to endear it to would-be wearers. Rado's High-Tech Ceramic material promises improved performance and durability over other, more traditional, watchmaking materials. While our tester didn't get to evaluate the long-term durability of the watch, we have no reason to question Rado's claims. According to the brand, ceramic's naturally crystalline structure protects it against wear and tear and provides better scratch-resistance than steel — a welcome feature for a watch designed to be worn every day.

        On the wrist, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic feels lightweight yet well-built (even on the bracelet) — a difficult combination to achieve. But it was the crystal that caught the eye of our tester, who appreciates a good vintage watch. It's difficult not to be immediately drawn to the tinted, box-shaped sapphire crystal. It's the perfect blend of vintage meets modern. The shape is very much in line with early examples of the Captain Cook, while the tint adds to the overall sleek, modern and blacked-out silhouette of the High-Tech Ceramic example. This blend allows the watch to maintain a distinctly vintage feel while updating it for modern wear and taking it to 11 with the rest of the watch's feature set.

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        Gear Patrol Studios

        While our tester typically finds watches on bracelets to be uncomfortable, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic was a notable exception. This is likely in part due to the High-Tech Ceramic's ability to quickly adjust to your body temperature — it takes far less time to heat up or cool down compared to steel. But the bracelet design itself also facilitates comfort. It makes use of titanium in addition to High-Tech Ceramic, which keeps weight down and maintains the watch's commitment to durability.

        The detailing on the watch also sets it apart. Our tester remarked that they'd never seen another dive watch quite like it. And that goes beyond just the watch's more striking features like the skeletonized dial and tinted crystal — it extends even to the feel of the unidirectional bezel. While most will notice the gold color set against the black High-Tech Ceramic case, what you won't notice from photos is the tactile feel of the knurling on that bezel, or the satisfying click as the zero index makes its way around the dial. It all combines for a watch that's as satisfying to wear as it is to look at.

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        Gear Patrol Studios

        Who It’s For

        If you're hunting for a statement piece to add to your collection, or a watch that will attract the attention of those around you, you'll find a lot to love with the Captain Cook. But even more than that, this watch is great for those who appreciate high-tech materials and the intricate details of watchmaking. All it takes is a few minutes looking through the windows created by the skeletonized dial to see the attention to detail and finish that Rado prioritizes in this watch.

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        Gear Patrol Studios

        Verdict

        The Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic is singular. There are no other dive watches like it on the market, and for many, that's argument enough for adding one to your collection. But the key takeaway is that while the watch is unique, and offers a healthy dose of style and refinement, it doesn't skimp on durability. It's a watch that you could wear every day and not worry about scratching it up. For our tester, that's the way a dive watch should be.

        Price: $3,300+

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        Gear Patrol Studios
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