Currents: Rado’s Latest Captain Cooks Adapt Design To Demand

Patina Potential: Rado Drops Anchor On New Bronze And Green Dial Captain Cooks

The new Captain Cooks are as seaworthy as they are see-worthy.

By Thomas Hendricks

First released in 1962, Rado’s Captain Cook has become the signature model for the Swiss brand. The quirky, vintage design - which has outlasted more than a few of its mid-century brethren - is diving further into the contemporary with a new expansion in colors and materials for 2020.

A well-known watch within the WIS community, the Captain Cook can sometimes be difficult to spot in boutiques or in the wild. This hands-on look should hopefully fill in the gaps between the watch on paper and on the wrist.

Going backwards in time

To show these pieces in the best light (and what great light it was), team Watchonista took a small fleet of Captain Cooks down to the historic South Street Seaport in New York City. The area was once the hub of the new world back before the roads were paved and back when The Big Apple only extended to 14th street.

Here, schooners from 1885 line the docks, preparing for spring sails. Centuries old brick buildings that once housed taverns and blacksmiths maintain their colonial charm, though they now host such modern enterprises as sushi bars and the Big Gay Ice Cream shop. One block inland, the towers of New York’s Financial District loom overhead like cliffs guarding a secluded beach.

Green is the new black

Rado serves fresh looks for the Captain Cook in 2020 with an ever-expanding line of colors and materials, with special attention paid to the increasingly-popular green dial and bezel application.

The move towards green was a conscious response to growing consumer intrigue in the colorway. For evidence of this, one need only look to the 2019 upswing in demand for watches like the 116508 green dial Daytona. The trend has extended beyond rarified Rolexs to approachable brands like Seiko and Oris. And as CEO Matthias Breschan explained, if someone is looking to buy a green dial watch, why not make it a Rado?

This watch’s particular green comes across on the cooler end of the spectrum - think more pine than lime. But because the human eye can see more shades of green than any other color, many layers of color emerge in the course of a wrist roll.

This verdant dial color is especially popular in Asian markets. And although the design decision was made well prior to the current virus outbreak, it might prove a prescient mitigator against the overall economic downturn.

Return of the Bronze Age

Green isn’t the only new color on the block for Rado this year. The brand is entering the new Bronze Age, and we are here for it. The first man-made material is especially well-suited for maritime watches such as this, since after being properly acquainted with the sun and saltwater, it’ll have all the character of a veteran sea captain.

For even further validation, the patina queen of New York (aka the Statue of Liberty) gazes on admiringly from the across harbor.

“We’re gonna need a bigger watch”

Beyond the updated visuals, the new Captain Cook boasts a water-resistance of up to 300m and a power reserve of up to 80 hours. The anchor below the twelve o’clock position rotates to advertise the automatic ETA caliber C07. And as Beschan explains, when the jewel stops rotating, it’s a reminder to take the watch in for service.

Whereas the 1962 Captain Cook came in at 37mm, the new edition is now available in 42mm, although it doesn’t feel as hulking as one might expect for a 300m dive watch. One reason for this is the stout and sloping lugs, helping to keep the weight of the watch grounded on the wrist.

Another factor? The concave bezel - now with a green ceramic insert - slopes inward, meaning the boxed sapphire crystal sits lower and just barely peaks beyond the bezel. The full height comes in at just a hair over 12mm. Tudor’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight, by contrast, sits at almost 15mm and is less water-resistant at 200m.

A boatload of value

With a price tag under $2,500, these Captain Cooks offer exceptional value for the money. The new models keep the same endearing vintage aesthetics that we’ve come to love - those hands for example - and combine them with dive watch durability and contemporary touches like high-tech ceramic and the EasyClip strap changing system. So whether you’re cruising the high seas or simply cruising around the neighborhood, the new Captain Cook proves a worthy addition to the arsenal.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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