Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook Automatic

Explorers Club: Rado Sets A Course For Adventure With This Limited Edition Captain Cook

Like its seafaring namesake Captain James Cook, this classic diver is ready to break the waves of watchmaking.

By Rhonda Riche

If you are a person who travels — for work, for fun or for family — you can’t always pack a whole whack of watches every time you hit the highway. Versatility is the future of timekeeping. Designers are striving for ways to make timepieces that can perform many functions for the traveler without looking too cluttered. Manufacturers are investing a lot of effort into creating quick change straps and bracelets so you can switch up the look of your watch on the road. With the Captain Cook Automatic Limited Edition with a travel case, Rado has looked to its past to chart a new course for adventure.


It’s a topsy turvy time for watch wearers. For example, sport watches no longer look out of place in the boardroom. Vintage watches can sometimes command higher prices than brand new models amongst collectors. And the pendulum of taste seems to be swinging back to timepieces with smaller cases.

Rado produced the Captain Cook between 1962 and 1968. Back then it was celebrated for its compact design and distinctive features. the brand brought it back in 2017, keeping the best-loved elements of the original — the 37 mm stainless steel case, the three seahorses stamped on the stainless steel case back, the diver’s style turning bezel, the date in red and the distinctive sword and arrow-shaped hands. This watch has a very throwback vibe.

The inward sloping bezel is another treat, as is the brushed brown dial which complements any outfit in your wardrobe.

Its smaller size means that it works both for men and women. A bold shape and graphic face still provide plenty of wrist presence.


Retro also feels modern at the moment. As workplaces have become more casual over the last decade a sports watch doesn’t look out of place with a jacket and tie. And classic dive watches have that little extra touch of class that comes from having a history. Still, the key to dressing a Captain Cook Automatic Limited Edition up or down is the ability to easily swap straps.

This Captain Cook comes with three very cool ways to wrap your wrist: a brown vintage look leather strap for more casual environments, a fine knit stainless steel Milanese bracelet for more upscale events, or a durable NATO for the weekends.

The watch, strap and changing tools all come delivered in a sturdy but supple leather travel pouch. The whole kit is limited to just 1,962 pieces.


Versatility is important when navigating any new paths. After all, the Captain Cook is named after the British explorer Captain James Cook, who circumnavigated the Globe back in the 1700s and brought scientists to study the Antarctic and South Pacific.

Rado is, of course, renowned for using cutting edge materials — especially ceramics. So, of course, there are many modern updates to the Captain Cook, including the high-tech ceramic insert for the bezel for added scratch resistance and the sapphire crystal that offers optimum dial protection. The Swiss automatic C07 movement also offers up to 80 hours of power reserve – something a traveler couldn’t dream of in 1962.

Another cool trick for travelers is that when you’re not in the water you can sort of use the bezel as a poor man’s GMT. Just set the pip as your home time at 12 O’Clock.

Overall, it's one of the best, under $5,000 retro-inspired divers out there. 

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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