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Achieved through a cumulation of many years of intensive research and development of combining innovative materials with the Captain Cook’s rich heritage, Rado revolutionized their classic Captain Cook with their latest reveal of an ultra-modern timepiece. The Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic collection realizes Rado’s DNA in its purest form, integrating some of the brand’s most cutting-edge technologies such as Rado’s full high-tech ceramic monobloc case construction, scratch-resistant and hypoallergenic high-tech ceramic and Rado’s premium R734 calibre with the anti-magnetic Nivachron™ mainspring. This is one incredibly sleek and avant garde luxury diver that handsomely demonstrates Rado’s enormous watchmaking potential.
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 High-Tech Ceramic Blue Ref. R32128202
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.
With the integration of Rado’s revolutionary materials, the Rado Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Blue Ref. R32128202 takes the classic case design of the original to a whole new level with a contemporary 43mm full high-tech ceramic case. This light gunmetal grey ceramic case is achieved through a demanding and precise process of ceramic injection-moulding resulting in an extremely robust case that is almost as hard as diamond, boasting hypoallergenic properties and remarkable scratch resistance. Measuring with a lug to lug distance of 50mm and a case thickness of 14.6mm, the watch exhibits a bold wrist presence, sitting considerably more muscular on the wrist compared to previous Captain Cook models.
50mm lug to lug for better wearability
During the final stages of manufacturing Rado’s high-tech ceramic case, diamond is utilized to shape the material and finally finished to attain an entirely matte surface that feels pleasantly smooth to the touch. Pairing up with the case, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Blue Ref. R32128202 comes with a matching full high-tech ceramic three-link style bracelet with matte outer links and polished center links, a lovely detail that adds an attractive character to the stealth appearance.
As a pioneer watchmaking brand implementing the innovative use of ceramic in their timepieces, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Blue Ref. R32128202 perfectly embraces Rado’s pioneering spirit with a concave blue high-tech ceramic insert on the polished stainless steel 120-click coin edge dive bezel that adds a touch of lustre to the piece. 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.
Superluminova glows brightly in the dark
Underneath the “chevé” scratch-resistant box sapphire crystal, the dial of the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Blue Ref. R32128202 breaks through the classic, simple dial of the original Captain Cook to present a gorgeous black tinted sapphire dial encompassed within a deep blue chapter ring which reveals the intricately finished perlage work and the inner workings of the automatic movement, along with the swinging balance wheel, exposed above the iconic Rado logo through a semi-skeletonized cavity. Tinted to just the perfect amount, the dial remains vastly legible, establishing a rather futuristic appearance that finds beauty in its complexity.
Despite looking notably different from the Captain Cook from the 60s, this dial retains the distinctive arrow-shaped hour hand, sword minute hand and of course, the freely swinging red anchor Rado logo. The lack of a date complication here allows for a balanced and well-proportioned dial, shining the spotlight on the visually attractive tinted sapphire glass dial. Night time visibility is unyielding with SuperLuminova-treated applied indices for a bright glow in the dark.
Open caseback with 300m water resistance
Under the hood, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Blue Ref. R32128202 is driven by the impressive Rado calibre R734 self-winding movement, essentially being an upgraded and modified variation of the ETA C07.611 movement with the enhanced Nivachron™ mainspring. This upgraded mainspring grants the movement additional resistance to magnetic fields, protecting against potential harm to the 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. The movement can be seen at the see-through exhibition window at the back of the watch, revealing the custom-signed Rado rotor on the Cal. R734.
Unlike steel cases, implementing a screw-down crown and its O-ring for a ceramic case is considerably more demanding. Regardless, Captain Cook conquered this challenge to successfully achieve an effective water resistance of 300m, not compromising its full-fledged performance as a dive watch.
As tinted dials are becoming increasingly popular, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Blue Ref. R32128202 stands out from the rest of the competition with its fusion of revolutionary materials. Let’s be clear, the High-Tech Ceramic collection from Rado isn’t simply a line up of watches with different materials, it is the combination of the Captain Cook’s proud heritage, the gratifying feeling the smooth high-tech ceramic, and the visual perfection of an alluring design that fabricates a truly one-of-a-kind experience.
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