Rado has unveiled a new bronze version of the iconic Captain Cook diver, the first time the self-styled “Master of Materials” has made a bronze-cased watch. The new Captain Cook Bronze Automatic comes with either a green, brown or blue dial, along with matching ceramic bezel insert.
Aside from the bronze case, the watch is faithful to all the codes that have made the re-issue of the Rado classic so popular. Rado may be best-known for pushing the boundaries with new materials and for making slender ceramic watches, but the Captain Cook has now made the company a player in the always popular dive-watch segment.
The new Captain Cooks are a modern take on a Rado classic. In the 1960s, a diving craze swept the oceans – and with it the watch industry – and Rado, mostly known for dress watches, decided to get in on the act. The watch was ambitiously named for the British explorer James Cook and came with a claimed 220 metres of water resistance, as well as a beads-of-rice stainless-steel bracelet and Rado’s characteristic “swinging anchor” emblem at 12 o’clock.
Around 8,000 Captain Cooks were made between 1962 and 1968, but far fewer than that survive – some are doubtless at the bottom of the ocean – and the originals are highly-prized by collectors. The first modern-era Captain Cook was first released in 2017. There was a limited-edition 37mm version – close to the size of the original – as well as a 45mm ceramic version.
A newer version was released in 2019 with a 42mm case, available on a range of straps and bracelet, as well with different dial colours. Each is powered by an ETA C07 automatic movement with a handy 80 hours power reserve and water-resistance up to 300 metres. Our own interpretation of a classic, the stealthy grey-dialled Rado x The Rake & Revolution Captain Cook “Ghost Captain”, is available in limited numbers here.
The 1960s was a big decade for Rado: it introduced the tungsten carbide DiaStar with sapphire crystal, the industry’s first scratch-resistant watch. The Captain Cook may not have been the first diving watch, but as its life extends well into this not-so-young century, it has now established itself as a diver with a very loyal following.