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Rado’s incredible mastery of materials has been ceaselessly demonstrated over a whole range of Captain Cook models, especially with the use of their signature high-tech ceramic. This time, Rado unveiled the classic diver in an interesting new case material that is making a huge comeback in recent years—bronze. The rugged beauty of bronze sets the Rado Captain Cook Bronze sub-collection apart from the pack for its unique physical properties and mesmerising appearance as it develops a warm, natural patina.
From a brand that was initially conceived as a small atelier, to become an industry leader for innovation more than a century later. Rado is a well-respected name that is no stranger to the watch world, producing incredibly robust timepieces that pushes the boundaries of what was achievable with luxury watchmaking with top-class Swiss craftsmanship, revolutionary high-tech materials and outstanding timekeeping performance. While originally founded in Lengnau, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland in 1917 as ‘Schlup & Co.’ by brothers Fritz, Ernst and Werner Schlup, it wasn’t until the brand took off in the early 1950s, selling watches under the ‘Rado’ name we’re familiar with today.
Rado Captain Cook Automatic Bronze Burgundy Ref. R32504407
Ever since its founding, Rado has fostered the philosophy “if we can imagine it, we can make it”, which still holds true today, reflected by the brand’s highly-durable, innovatively designed timepieces. Rado is perhaps best known for their innovative use of technologically advanced materials, being one of the pioneers in the watchmaking industry adopting high-tech ceramics in their watches. Although the implementation of ceramic is widely seen across innumerable watch brands in this day and age, Rado revolutionized the industry with the birth of the Rado Integral back in 1986 with its use of scratch-resistant high-tech ceramic in the bracelet.
For the watchmaking industry, the 1960s was a booming period of valiant exploration and innovation for countless illustrious watch brands, it was arguably the golden age of wristwatches with watch manufacturers delving into unchartered waters when it comes to design and mechanical engineering. The ever-popular dive watch was certainly one of the genres of watches adopted by many major players in the market; and you’ve guessed it, Rado was no exception.
True to 60s design
In an endeavour to produce a robust dive watch offering, Rado introduced the first ever Rado Captain Cook in 1962 with its iconic inward-sloping dive bezel and arrow-shaped hour hand, a timeless design that truly aged beautifully till this very day. Named in honour of the 18th century British navigator and explorer Captain James Cook famed for his voyages that accurately mapped out the Pacific, the Rado Captain Cook is a true naval workhorse transcended through time.
Breathing new life to the 1962 Captain Cook, the Rado Captain Cook Bronze Burgundy Automatic Ref. R32504407 rediscovers the classic case design of the original in a contemporary 42mm case constructed of CuAl bronze, or otherwise known as aluminium bronze which is an alloy composed of predominantly aluminum and copper. Compared to other types of bronze popularly used in watch cases such as CuSn8 and CuSn6, aluminum bronze develops a brighter and more aesthetically attractive patina, holding a cleaner appearance over time as a layer of aluminum oxide coats the case to impede extensive tarnishing. Alongside this attribute, bronze provides superior saltwater corrosion compared to steel, a property especially vital for robust dive watches.
49.5mm lug to lug for better wearability
Measuring with a lug to lug distance of 49.5mm and a case thickness of 12.5mm, these tasteful dimensions allow the watch to sit closer to a 40mm. This is a piece that definitely caters to the masses as a dive watch that wears considerably smaller and more elegant on the wrist than the measurement suggests, thanks to its rather compact lug design and slim case profile.
Finished impeccably with a predominantly brushed finish at the top of the lugs and the side of the case, the sharp and defined lines of the case demonstrates Rado’s exceptional care for the finer details, even if the bronze case develops a patina over time. The watch is accompanied with a textile NATO strap in burgundy with a single central gold-coloured stripe, the perfect choice of striking colours aligning with the colour theme. Complete with matching brushed bronze hardware, this is a durable and exceptionally comfortable strap that splendidly complements this amazing dive watch.
Superluminova glows brightly in the dark
As a pioneer watchmaking brand implementing the innovative use of ceramic in their timepieces, the Captain Cook Bronze Burgundy Automatic Ref. R32504407 perfectly embraces Rado’s pioneering spirit with a concave glossy burgundy high-tech ceramic insert on the bronze 120-click coin edge dive bezel that brings a unique charm to the watch synonymous with the Captain Cook line. Showcasing both a beautiful opulent appearance and extreme toughness, Rado’s high-tech ceramic is essentially harder than nails, while being more eye-catching than steel, boasting incredible scratch and wear resistance that will stand the test of time.
Underneath the scratch-resistant boxed sapphire crystal is where the Captain Cook Bronze Burgundy Automatic Ref. R32504407 highlights its timeless heritage design, accurately reproducing the classic appearance of the original 60s Captain Cook in a striking radially-brushed burgundy dial along with the iconic arrow-shaped hour hand and sword-shaped minute hand. At the 12 o’clock position, the freely swinging anchor logo is undoubtedly one of Rado’s most distinctive features, a quirky touch that is simply a treat to see whenever you glance down at your wrist.
Screw-down caseback for 300m water resistant
Having the date complication, in a bright red font, resting at the 3 o’clock position, the dial bears a pleasing and uncluttered symmetry, complemented with large applied luminous hour markers in a matching golden colour. For a finishing touch, the ‘Captain Cook’ text is printed with the classic vintage font, evoking a sense of nostalgia.
Under the hood, the Captain Cook Bronze Burgundy Automatic Ref. R32504407 is driven by the Swiss ETA C07.611 self-winding movement based on the ever-reliable Powermatic 80 movement. Featuring a power reserve of a whopping 80 hours, this 25 jewel movement beats at a 3 hertz rate of 21,600 beats per hour (BPH) with hand winding and hacking capabilities. Encased within a stainless steel screw-in caseback stamped with three sea horses and a screw-down crown at the 3 o’clock position, the Captain Cook is equipped with a capable water resistance of 300m, ready for some underwater ventures.
Being one of the brand’s most prominent line up, the legendary Captain Cook collection from Rado offers a truly contemporary vintage-inspired package that combines modernity with a strong and illustrious heritage to back it up. Rado definitely lives up to being the ‘champion of materials’ with the remarkable use of their high-tech ceramic. While there may be countless watches with ceramic bezels in today’s market, there are simply no other watches just like the Captain Cook, a solid dive watch that has grown to become a true icon in the watch world.
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