Rado Revives the Captain Cook Diver in Three Distinct Flavors

Share this story:

Not wanting to be left out of the retro-heritage craze, Rado has jumped into the fray by reaching back into their archives to present a reinterpretation of a scarce and lesser known 1960s diver–the Captain Cook. This watch was named after the 18th Century British explorer Captain James Cook, famous for his exploits in the South Pacific. While the original dive watch is rare today—and nowhere near a household name like the Seamaster or Submariner are—it is still well-known and highly regarded by the vintage watch collector community.

Introducing the faithful 37mm HyperChome Captain Cook reissue

It’s refreshing to see this model re-emerge today as the Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook collection, which consists of three distinct versions. There are two 37mm models (you read that correctly, a 37mm diver!)—one for men and the other styled for women—and a (much) larger 45mm option.






The 37mm men’s Captain Cook is the most vintage-faithful iteration, and it is definitely my favorite of the three. Let’s take a minute to talk about the size. Now, 37mm for a diver back in the day was quite common, but today it’s almost unheard of. The size definitely gives this watch a vintage feel and a wearability missing from so many of today’s behemoths. The stainless steel case has clean straight lugs and a polished finish, with an engraved three-seahorse logo on the back. The crown does not screw down, so the watch features a water resistance of only 100m.

Rado_Captain_Cook_Baselworld_2017_-8Smaller sizing aside, the watch really is a stunner. It features a warm gray dial with a sunburst finish and painted luminous hour markers. These are very much like the original, as is the distinctive handset with the broad-arrow hour hand. Rounding out the dial is the trademark Rado anchor logo which is inset into the dial below the twelve, with the anchor rotating freely depending on which way the watch is oriented. It comes with a box-shaped sapphire crystal and a really sharp black ceramic bezel insert. I cannot overstate how nice the insert is, and it even features a font that is extremely close to the original.

Powered by a 25-jewel ETA movement, the rebadged CO7.611 caliber— like many movements across the Swatch Group family—has an 80-hour power reserve.

This one comes supplied on a vintage style brown leather strap with a simple pin buckle. This model will be limited to 1962 pieces to commemorate the year the original Captain Cook was launched.





The inspiration.
The women’s variant, also 37mm.

The women’s version is the same size, but comes with a white ceramic bezel and silver dial that has eight of the hour markers replaced with small diamonds. This provides an element of bling without being overbearing or gaudy. The lady’s version comes on a fine milanese mesh bracelet.

Now, if 37mm is too dainty for your modern sensibilities, you may be interested in the 45mm edition. This larger model comes housed in a hardened titanium case. The dial is blue with a sunburst finish, and has applied luminous hour markers rather than the painted type of the more faithful recreation. The hands are slightly different on this one, too, with a narrower hour hand than what is on the 37mm model. Rado_Captain_Cook_Baselworld_2017_-1The bezel features a blue ceramic insert to match the dial. This one has a curved sapphire crystal, and Rado added a screw down crown to up the water resistance to 200m. It is powered by the same 25-jewel ETA movement as the others, and comes supplied on a matching blue textile strap with a steel folding clasp.Rado_Captain_Cook_Baselworld_2017_-2As I already wrote above, of the two men’s models, the 37mm is by far the most accurate vintage reproduction, and it is easily my favorite of the group. Now, I concede that the dimensions may be too small for many, and it may end up costing Rado some sales, but I personally like the decision to keep things small. That said, I think they could have bumped the size up to 38-39mm with ease. Another thing worth noting is that this is more of an aesthetic diver than anything else with a water resistance of just 100m. Few quibbles aside, however, Rado has done a fine job resurrecting a true vintage icon with the new HyperChrome Captain Cook line.

The limited edition Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook will be available this spring with an expected price of around $1,800. Pricing for the other two versions is TBD. Rado






Images from this post:
Christoph (Instagram’s @vintagediver) is a long time collector and lover of all things vintage, starting with comic books when he was a kid (he still collects them). His passion for watches began in 1997 when he was gifted a family heirloom vintage Omega Genève by his step-father. That started him on the watch collecting path—buying and selling vintage watches of all sorts, with a special appreciation for vintage dive watches and Seiko.
  • Porter Hudson

    Oh these tiny, tiny watches.

    • Franco

      Hey, Porter Hudson. I agree that watch is too small at 37mm and, only 100 M. WR. I would love to have something that looks just like that but with a bit more size to it. For now im wearing a
      seiko srp639. “Baby tuna” not too big and, definitely not too small. I have on a grey NATO strap.

  • Terrance Steiner

    I do love how Rado’s rotor logo actually rotates.

  • swillynoodle

    Oooo, I very much like the 37mm. Definitely works for my 6-6.25 inch wrists. It eases the pain of missing out on the squale x page & cooper vintage squale master. And while it is completely different watch, it satisfies the vintage diver itch at half the price of the seiko 62mas re-release.

    It certainly looks like this year is shaping up to be a vintage-fest.

  • chenpofu

    This is super tempting.

  • Carl

    Since first seeing photos and reading the reviews of this watch a couple of days ago, I have become absolutely obsessed with it. Now, after seeing your photos – which are the best I have seen so far – the watch is a must-have for me. I have already asked my AD about the possibility of ordering one.

    You photos show unbelievable craftsmanship and regard for detail. It looks like the background of the date wheel is silver and not white, and matches the silver text on the dial, the chapter ring and the silver arabics and markers on the ceramic bezel. As excellent as your photos are, it must even look better in real life.

    I love the case back also, another high level of detail. The size at 37mm is perfect for the watch. Wonderful to see a vintage reissue that stays true to the original size. And even the beauty of the ceramic bezel insert is something to behold. The have also done the lume perfectly, sometimes various brands just overdo it a bit too much. This is perfect.

    This is a little jewel, and difficult to find this level of craftsmanship at any price.

    Thank You for an excellent review.

    • Appreciate the kind words, Carl. Be sure to share a wrist shot if/when you get the watch!

  • vexXed

    Superb effort by Rado, but I did notice the chapter ring is misaligned. Hopefully it won’t be an issue on release.

    • Carl

      Yes, I noted that too. I know it would bug me. If I get the watch, I will probably have to order it, as I am not sure they will get one to have in stock. But you never know. Early days yet

  • jwso43

    I really want to like this one as a slim-wristed guy myself, but it’s not quite there for me. Frankly, I feel the dial proportions are better on the huuge 45mm version, but maybe seeing the watch live could change my mind.

  • Russ

    Beautiful watches by Rado, I love the 37mm version. The 45mm version looks great but is too large for me.

    BTW, I’ll just go ahead and say that ISO dive watch ratings only require 100m (330 feet), so that’s plenty for anything you’re likely to do in the water.

  • Eric Miller
  • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    IMO, it is not so much “not wanting to be left out of the retro-vintage movement” as it is a return to the apex of watch design. Incorporating new materials and new manufacturing techniques;while using tried and true design themes.
    Face it – it’s a wrist watch – not a rocket. What worked in 1965 (insert date post 1950 or so) and if it “worked” then – it will work now.
    The use of new materials and manufacturing methods is a boon to the sport.

Article / Featured

Rado: Innovation in Materials

When you stop and think about it, most watches are …
Article / Featured

Rado: Keeping an Eye on Design

The relationship between design and watches should be an obvious …