We all have our ultimate watches in mind — the pieces we’d happily consider sacrificing an arm, maybe a leg, to get. And while a lot of attention is often given to big price tags, limited editions, or one-of-a-kind pieces, just as much praise should be given to the brands that make a lot of watch for a reasonable price tag.
Enter Rado’s HyperChrome Captain Cook. Many brands introduced wallet-friendly pieces this year, and many others revealed pieces that appealed to vintage fiends, but Rado’s reinterpretation of its 1960s watch collection combined incredible value with good ol’ vintage goodness. Based on its 1962 Captain Cook dive watch, Rado walked the fine line between honoring one of its classics while still modernizing it for today’s consumer.
Instead of going with a bigger case size (as is the fashion these days), Rado opted to leave the case at 37mm, with a gray-brown dial and black bezel — very ’60s. The markers on the dial are printed on and given a slight faux patina, which against the dial makes it feel understated, but classic. True to the Rado trademark, the anchor logo on the top end of the dial swivels as the watch moves, and the numeral date in red and the “Captain Cook” text hark back to the ’62 original.
The case is made of polished stainless steel, with the rotating bezel in scratchproof ceramic. Inside ticks a reliable ETA movement, the C07.611 — used by several Swatch Group brands — which boasts an 80-hour power reserve. Though Rado says this isn’t technically a dive watch, at 100 meters of water-resistance with oversized hands and rotating bezel, it would certainly be a respectable companion for exploring shallow reefs. Plus, our resident diving correspondent (what a life!) Jason Heaton loves this little number, and knowing his pedigree, that’s more than enough reason for me to want one of the 1,962 pieces produced. At 11mm thick, the HyperChrome Captain Cook is a discreet, everyday “not-a-dive-watch-but-it-can get-wet” watch. And at $1,800, it wouldn’t be surprising if this were anyone’s ultimate watch, with both your arms and legs still intact.