Swiss watch-maker Rado is best known for its modern-looking dress watches with shiny finishes, made from contemporary materials like ceramic. The Rado name does not typically conjure up images of vintage watches, especially vintage dive watches. We all have a past however, and Rado has delved deep into its own to find inspiration for the new HyperChrome Captain Cook. The result is a surprisingly cool, retro-inspired dive watch that is turning the heads of even the most hardened watch aficionados.
We all know that vintage-inspired watches are all the rage right now, with many brands going back to their roots to rediscover what made them so great in the first place. This is great news for consumers who are quickly becoming spoilt for choice when it comes to reasonably sized, reasonably priced and effortlessly cool retro-styled watches, the Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook among them.
Based on a watch of the same name that Rado made in 1962 (without the HyperChrome part of course – that came much later), this new iteration of the Captain Cook looks like it just stepped out of a time machine. This is not so much a modern-day reinterpretation but rather a true-to-the-era recreation of a very cool dive watch. The case, made from stainless steel, measures 37mm in diameter and is 11mm thick, very much in keeping with the dimensions of watches from the 1960’s.
We all know that vintage-inspired watches are all the rage right now, with many brands going back to their roots to rediscover what made them so great in the first place
The dial of the HyperChrome Captain Cook is a matte grey-brown colour with a silver rehaut (that little notched ring between the dial and the bezel used to indicate the seconds.) The dial markers meanwhile are printed, another technique from ‘back in the day’ and have been treated with a faux patina finish to give them that slightly aged look. Just below 12 o’clock you’ll find the red anchor logo, which swivels as the watch moves. This, along with the red numeral date wheel and “Captain Cook” text, comes straight from the historic model, making it feel just that little bit more authentic.
Around the outside of the dial is a bi-directional rotating bezel which, like the original, does not have any luminescent markings. Unlike the original however, its insert is made from scratchproof ceramic, although I think we can forgive Rado for taking this little liberty with the design.
Keeping everything safe and in place is a box-shaped crystal, which sits high above the dial, consistent with the style at the time. Unlike crystals from that era however, which were made from acrylic and much more susceptible to cracks and scratches, this one is made from very modern sapphire.
Inside, hidden away behind a solid, screw-down case back which has been engraved with three seahorses and the text “One out of 1962” around the perimeter, is a basic but reliable ETA movement, the C07.611. Indicating the time and date only, it offers a very healthy 80 hours of power reserve.
The Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook comes fitted on a simple brown leather strap with pin buckle and will be produced in a limited number of 1,962 pieces, in reference to the year the model first debuted. Rated to 100m water resistance, the watch is more than suitable to take swimming. Technically though it does not satisfy the requirements for a dive watch set out by the ISO 6425 standards, something Rado readily acknowledges although that wasn’t really the point of this watch.
If you don’t like smaller watches, there’s also an over-sized, significantly more modern-looking version in a 45mm titanium case, which may be more to your liking. Personally, I’m sticking with the retro-inspired model.
Tom Mulraney is the Founder of Luxury Content Creators Inc. and the Managing Editor of online watch magazine thewatchlounge.com.