November 14, 2022
by Nick Lehner
When watch collectors think ceramic, Rado is often the first brand to come to mind. The company has a history of pushing the boundaries of this scratch-resistant material and often combines it with avant-garde designs. Models such as its Diastar and True Square are just a few examples of the brand’s creative use of ceramic. This being said, Rado has also recognized the recent popularity of vintage-style dive watches. A few years ago it revived its 1960s diver and re-released its Captain Cook in steel and later bronze. Likely due to its success, earlier this year, the brand expanded its favorite material to the popular dive watch line. The Captain Cook High Tech Ceramic Diver line retains the diver’s classic style but renders it in modern ceramic. Most of the current models are available in unique, but still subtle colors. With its latest Limited Edition release, however, Rado continues to push the modernity of the line.
Rado is also increasing the ceramic content with this LE, as it is the first Captain Cook with a fully ceramic bezel and crown. It features a one-piece ceramic case, as well as a ceramic bezel, bezel insert, and crown. Even the bracelet is constructed of ceramic, with ceramic buttons and a titanium clasp. The caseback is also titanium with a black PVD coating and a black-tinted sapphire window to match the case.
Rado has also applied a number of changes under this Captain Cook’s boxed sapphire crystal (with AR on both sides) to further differentiate the limited edition. The dial is also made from sapphire, with a subtle smoked tint. This provides a view of its ETA-based calibre R808 from the front of the watch as well as the anchor-shaped rotor at the back. Wearers can see the balance wheel oscillating at 21,600 vph as well as estimate the state of wind (up to a total of 80 hours) by viewing the visible mainspring in its skeletonized barrel. The date display has also been removed so as not to impede the view.
A black chapter ring surrounds the dial. Mounted above that are brushed gold-tone hour markers and hands that are filled with black Super-LumiNova (glowing blue at night). Laser-etched markings on the bezel are filled with matching gold paint. The dial wouldn’t be complete without the Captain Cook’s signature oscillating anchor logo.
At 43mm-wide, 29.8mm lug-to-lug, and 14.6mm-thick, this Captain Cook is on the larger side, but it should not feel too heavy. This is due to the fact that it is entirely made from lightweight ceramic and titanium. Despite its flashy appearance, it should also be a robust option for everyday wear. One of the concerns with some all-black watches is that the black coating is easily scratched, making the watch look worn. With a black ceramic case and bracelet, this concern is alleviated as ceramic is very hard, making it scratch-resistant. Even if it is somehow scratched, it is also the same color all the way through, which would make a scratch more difficult to see. A major impact does present the possibility of cracking the ceramic, but it should be robust against typical bangs and scratches. If you’re worried about getting it wet, it is also water-resistant to 300m. More than sufficient for any potential buyers, and has an impressive rating for a fully ceramic watch.
If all of this sounds good to you, Rado will produce an individually numbered run of 1,962 watches for the Captain cook High-Tech Ceramic Line Limited Edition. They will be priced at $4,450 USD. This makes it $700 – $1,150 more than non-LE ceramic Captain Cook watches, depending on the version. The additional cost gets buyers the entirely ceramic bezel and crown, as well as the sapphire dial, and the exclusivity of being an LE. Most ceramic dive watches from other brands are more expensive and don’t include a fully ceramic bracelet, so it seems that Rado is providing good value. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.