Heritage has been a running trend in the watch industry for a couple of years now, and it’s one that shows no signs of slowing down, nor has the consumer appetite for it waned. When done right and in the spirit of the inspiring watch, a heritage piece can be especially enticing. After all, what’s not to like when one pairs a winning vintage aesthetic with modern build quality?
That’s what we got this year with RADO’s HyperChrome Captain Cook collection, an unexpected, heritage-inspired tribute to a rare diver the brand produced back in 1962. The watch was named after the renowned 18th-century British explorer Captain James Cook, who charted thousands of miles of unexplored coastline in the Pacific, bringing with him a wide-ranging, mostly self-taught knowledge of cartography, anthropology, and astronomy. The watch bearing Cook’s name was RADO’s contribution to the burgeoning dive watch craze that hit its peak in the ’60s. The watch was manufactured for only six years. As it stands, vintage examples are relatively rare, and you’d be lucky to find one in good condition.The contemporary collection is built around three watches. One edition (R32501203) comes in a robust titanium case with a blue dial and ceramic bezel insert. This is the most modern take on the design at 45mm in diameter. Then there are two significantly smaller 37mm editions—one designed for women (R32500703) and one for men (R32500305). Though it’s been upsized from the original 35.5mm, 37mm is still small for a modern watch, and you can count on one hand the number of contemporary men’s watches that measure 37mm or under.