March 14, 2019
by Bilal Khan
New for 2019 is this Rado Captain Cook limited-edition watch that has a dial painted to achieve the bronze patina from a vintage Captain Cook that Rado pulled from its archives. Not as immediately obvious to the eye is the fact that the ubiquitous red anchor used to designate an automatic Rado watch is now done in an actual Ruby background. Rado did this in the 1960s but hasn’t, for some time now, specifically in ruby, but only in a painted red, I believe. Finally, this limited-edition piece of 1,962 is going to come with a travel pouch and an additional NATO strap and steel Milanese bracelet, along with a strap-changing tool for a very reasonable $100-$200 premium over the existing versions.
When the Rado Captain Cook was released as a “vintage reissue” back in 2017, coming in at 45mm and 37mm versions, I did notice a lot of people were more low-key excited about the smaller version. I went ahead and chose the larger 45mm version when I reviewed the Captain Cook, but I was surprised at how well the 37mm model wears when I tried this version on. Part of this may be due to the fact that, when you consider the 43mm lug-to-lug size, it’s not as “undersized” as one might initially infer.
By now, everyone has heard the background story to the Captain Cook watch ad nauseum, so I am going to just focus on the aesthetics here. The first thing that came to mind for me is, “Wow that’s a really nice color on the dial.” Personally, I think the recreating of a patina can often just create baggage that I’m pretty indifferent to. Of course, the marketing department at a company like Rado (owned by the Swatch Group) isn’t going to downplay the vintage piece that inspired this limited-edition model.
Rado uses a pretty funny phrase here when it says that this watch is a “vintage look for modern time travelers.” Sure, you can roll your eyes, but these guys have to create some “pitch” like this for every product they release. What does this one really mean? In this case, it’s the vintage aesthetic, coupled with the fact that Rado uses a scratch-proof ceramic bezel that they’re famous for.
What might hook me, though, is the added travel pouch, NATO strap, and Milanese bracelet (plus strap-changing tool) that this Captain Cook comes with. Given the 37.3mm width, 43mm lug-to-lug, and quite slim 11.1mm thickness, this is a watch that is impressively versatile. The NATO strap is for weekends and fun, the Milanese is for when you want that more aggressive bracelet look, and the leather strap totally works for after work drinks and dinner. And yes, I’m sure it fits under a sleeve, but am I the only one who thinks a Patagonia fleece vest is the more ideal work outfit companion here?
Of course, the movement is unchanged and the watch uses the caliber C07 aka the Swiss ETA caliber C07.611. This gets an 80-hour power reserve and operates at 3Hz. The enclosed caseback has the three seahorses engraved, so there’s no view into the otherwise competent movement. Oh, and the watch is water resistant to 100M.
This new Rado Captain Cook 37mm limited-edition watch is a very cool addition to the lineup. It’s nothing revolutionary, but I think the appeal of this size and the versatility provided by the additional straps are going to be very appealing when you consider the $2,100 price. You can learn more at rado.com