April 23, 2022
Since its reintroduction to the brand’s catalog in 2017, the Rado Captain Cook series has grown to become a true dark horse contender in the hotly contested field of vintage-inspired dive watches. Over the years, the series has grown to encompass a wide array of contemporary reimaginings of the original Captain Cook design, but the line tends to find its greatest success among enthusiasts when it remains faithful to its uniquely charismatic early ‘60s roots. For its latest release, the brand channels the Jet Age charm of the rarely-seen vintage Captain Cook world timer variant into a new model that captures the spirit of the original while refining its execution with thoughtful modern touches. The new limited edition Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole brings a warm new jet-setting character to the Captain Cook line, with a compelling blend of early ‘60s design sensibilities and cutting-edge production quality.
At a compact 37mm-wide, the stainless steel case of the Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole should offer a suitably vintage profile on the wrist. Like the standard Captain Cook, the Over-Pole’s case design follows a classic skin diver-style layout in images, with tapering attached lugs, slim vertical case sides, a bold unguarded pillbox crown, and a broad coin edge bezel extending past the edge of the main case. It’s this bezel where Rado allows the Captain Cook Over-Pole to stand apart from its stablemates, however. While previous diver-style iterations have always used a unidirectional bezel, here the brand replaces this with a bidirectional design featuring a glossy black ceramic insert. Like the rest of the line, this insert features a striking bowl-like inward slope in images, but the brand opts to fill this space with an engraved world time scale. Although a handful of the 24 city names have been changed from the original 1962 iteration of the Over-Pole, the overall execution remains firmly rooted in early ‘60s visual themes in images with a slim, clean typeface and a tightly packaged presentation. Around back, Rado adds a sapphire display caseback to the design, allowing the decorated handwound movement within to shine through. Despite this new addition, the Captain Cook Over-Pole’s water resistance rating remains an acceptable 100 meters.
The Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole’s dial is its starkest visual departure from the rest of the series. Nearly every element here is unique to this model, from the polished dauphine handset to the unique diamond-shaped facets on the applied indices. The silver sunburst dial adds a wealth of visual drama to the layout in images, with a heavily grained texture and a stark dégradé gradient from silver to pure black at the edge of the domed dial surface. While this serves to sharply accentuate the curvature of the dial, it also aids in legibility for the printed outer 24-hour scale. Designed to be used in conjunction with the rotating world time bezel, this scale allows the Captain Cook Over-Pole to be used as a quick and simple reference for multiple time zones at a glance, without the added complexity of a GMT complication. Rado also keeps several ‘60s-era visual flourishes intact for this dial, including the red numerals for the 3 o’clock date window and the swoopy printed Over-Pole emblem at 6 o’clock. Interestingly, the brand also retains its signature rotating anchor emblem at 12 o’clock. Originally devised as a hallmark of its automatic models, Rado’s use of the moving anchor for this handwound movement is either a stylistic statement or a minor design oversight. Overall however, the Captain Cook Over-Pole’s dial stays true to the globetrotting vintage spirit of its forebear in images, and wouldn’t look out of place in a ‘60s Pan Am or TWA airport lounge as the wearer prepared to jet off to some far-flung corner of the world.
Rado powers the Captain Cook Over-Pole with the ETA-based R862 handwound movement. Essentially a manually wound rework of the Powermatic 80 movement shared by Rado and many of its Swatch Group sister brands, the R862 offers a striking visual presentation in images. On paper, the R862’s finishing is competent but unspectacular, with Côtes de Genève across the bridges, sunburst brushed gears, and blued screws. In images, however, the R862 is handsomely balanced, with partial bridges giving way to a broad opening that organically frames the balance at 12 o’clock but keeps the design clean and focused. Performance-wise, the R862 offers the same massive 80-hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate. The R862 also boasts a high-tech Nivachron hairspring, and Rado claims the movement exceeds its internal accuracy testing requirements in five positions. Rado packages the Captain Cook Over-Pole with a pair of strap options. The first is a classic leather strap in deep cocoa brown, with prominent cream contrast stitching. For those looking for a bolder presence on the wrist, Rado also includes a beads of rice bracelet in stainless steel, featuring brightly polished center links. This bracelet gives the watch a handsomely upscale and period-correct look in images, while offering modern amenities such as a sharply engraved clasp and a secure two-button release.
By bringing a charismatic early ‘60s world timer design into the modern age with contemporary build quality, the limited edition Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole adds a new facet to this collection while strengthening its vintage-inspired roots. Only 1,962 examples of the Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole will be made. The watch is available now exclusively online through the Hodinkee shop, and will become available through authorized dealers in late May 2022. MSRP for the Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole stands at $2,400 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.