When Rado released the Captain Cook diver (reviewed here) last year, it garnered a lot of buzz among watch enthusiasts due to its distinct and faithful design as well as the fact that we didn’t really see it coming from Rado. A brand that typically used to specialize in modern pieces with a focus on ceramic, Rado is releasing another heritage-inspired diver with the new Tradition Captain Cook MKIII automatic watch. Inspired by the 1962 Captain Cook, Rado aims to keep the design DNA intact while making some contemporary adjustments, like using titanium and increasing case size. It’s a safe recipe, but initial impressions look pretty good and Rado wants to keep the Captain Cook revival going with good reason.
There is talk out there of a true to original limited edition version that will retain the case size and red dial touches, as opposed to the yellow seen here.
Starting with the distinctively Rado styled case, Rado have in the newly released version of their original 1962 design opted for sandblasted and hardened grade 5 titanium. Two PVD-coated screw down crowns, also in grade 5 titanium, one for the internal elapsed time bezel and another for time and date setting, are located at 2 and 3 o’clock. Case size is, well, large at 46.8mm in diameter by 48.3mm in length, and 13.9mm in thickness. While those are large dimensions, the short lug to lug size should make the watch fit well on a variety of wrists.
Combined with the screw-down titanium caseback featuring a very cool engraved three seahorse motif, the Rado Tradition Captain Cook MKIII is rated for a reasonable 220m (22 bar) of water resistance. A box section sapphire crystal coated with anti-reflective material on both sides keeps watch over the very jazzy, 1960s-looking dial.
With applied indices (featuring Super-LumiNova for nighttime reading) and a color-matched rotating internal bezel with both white and yellow lume, the Tradition Captain Cook MKIII’s dial is a veritable retro festival of black and yellow. Large, lumed triangular hands – the hour hand in white, and the more-important-for-diving minute hand in yellow – complement the colorful dial design. Rado have also implemented their funky rotating anchor signature at 12 o’clock, this time with a silver anchor set against a yellow background.
Dial text is located at 6 o’clock, with an applied rhodium brand signature, white printed text for the model name, and yellow for the water resistance rating. Rado designs can be a bit polarizing, with some loving their colorful, funky designs and others calling them a bit dated. Rado are making no claims that the Tradition Captain Cook MKIII is anything other than a vintage-look piece for those who like that sort of thing.
What is perhaps more interesting to the real nerds out there is Rado’s inclusion of the C07.621 movement. Also employed in the popular Hyperchrome Captain Cook, a more traditional looking diver’s watch Rado released in 2017, the ETA-made C07 is a 25 jewel, three hand, day/date, automatic caliber featuring an eyebrow raising 80-hour power reserve, owed to a lower 3Hz rate compared to the traditional 4Hz rate typically employed by ETA calibers.
While an 80-hour reserve is impressive, the lower rate may cause issues with accuracy at the tail end of the reserve. Time will tell. Still, good for Rado for not just throwing an off the shelf 2824-2 in the watch like throngs of other Swiss manufacturers.
A black textile strap with grey stitching equipped with a matching PVD-coated deployant clasp rounds out the vintage styled package, and should make for comfortable wear.
It looks like the success of the Rado Captain Cook has encouraged the brand to reach into their back catalog and be the latest in a long list of brands doing vintage reissues. Fortunately, signs point to another attractive piece, but we’ll wait for hands-on impressions to completely decide. Price for the Rado Tradition Captain Cook MKIII Automatic watch will be $2,550, which is in line with their previous releases in the Captain Cook family. We will also keep you updated on the Limited Edition model. rado.com