August 19, 2019
by Ariel Adams
Inside the watch is the Swatch Group’s ETA-made caliber C07.611, which goes by a few names, depending on the brand it is housed within. Unlike brands such as Tissot, Mido, and Hamilton (for example), the movement doesn’t have a “Powermatic” style name at Rado. In fact, on the website, the movement isn’t even given a name. It is the same family of movements which ETA tweaked down to 3Hz (from 4Hz) but also increased the power reserve to 80 hours. ETA claims that various material choices and tweaks in the movement make this 3Hz movement just as accurate as 4Hz movements but with the longer power reserve. In any event, what most customers will need to know is that the Captain Cook Automatic 45mm has an automatic mechanical movement with the time and date, along with a promised 80 hours of power reserve.
Rado is typically also very mindful of wristwatch removal and wearing comfort. On the titanium bracelet, we have a simple, albeit effective deployant clasp that appears to be a simple fold-over deployant but that butterfly-opens in two sections, making the watch easy to put on and take off for more wrists. I want to personally thank designers who consider watch-wearing and removing efficiency as part of the overall design process. Nothing bothers me more than straps or bracelets that simply take too much time to put on and make comfortable.
It is difficult to track where Rado, as a brand, is currently headed. We know for sure that the brand is trying to redouble its focus on a younger and more global audience. That makes sense, as Rado has some really interesting designs to explore again, as well as a focus on modern materials and finishing styles that have a lot of contemporary aesthetic appeal. The return of the Captain Cook was always about trying to make something old new again. That isn’t a theme Rado has traditionally been adept at, but they did an excellent job with the more vintage-style Captain Cook products.
Having said that, those well-done vintage-style watches didn’t feel like modern Rado products to me. The 45mm-wide Hyperchrome Captain Cook Automatic in titanium does feel like a modern Rado Product. But it is pulled in a vintage-design direction, so you have this clash between modern design and size preferences with an aesthetic designed for a more petite composition. Such issues are what professional watch designs face on a regular basis, and the solutions are not easy.
Lacking the universal appeal of, perhaps, an Omega Planet Ocean family product, the Captain Cook is one of the Swatch Group’s most interesting “quirky divers.” Build quality and finishing are Swatch Group world-class, and it is fun to find watches like this within Rado’s otherwise massive catalog of products they sell all over the world. The Captain Cook Automatic is the first product family in a while that has Rado sending a direct message to the timepiece-enthusiast consumers whose attention it wants. Rado now has that attention, and I can’t wait to see what the brand does next. For those with the big wrists to support the size and proportions of the Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook Automatic in titanium, this reference R32501153 | 01.763.0501.3.015 watch on the bracelet has a retail price of $2,600 USD. Learn more at the Rado website here.
>Model: Hyperchrome Captain Cook Automatic 45mm (reference R32501153 | 01.763.0501.3.015 as tested)
>Price: $2,600 USD
>Size: 45mm-wide, 13.8mm-thick, and about 57mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When wanting to wear a water-themed timepiece that is an interesting contradiction between classic dive-theme elements and modern timepiece tastes and preferences. A watch like this gives timepiece enthusiasts endless topics to discuss, so it is a great conversation starter.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Larger-wristed watch-lover seeking a slightly showy yet easy to read and wear dive-style watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: Comfortable on the wrist despite size, excellent legibility, good use of materials and finishings all over case and dial. Hardened titanium case is light and durable.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Combination of design and case size elements can feel awkward on all but the largest wrists. Rado explains little or nothing about the movement on their website. Attempts at producing a mainstream appeal ends up going niche, but Rado can tweak for future success.