After 35 years of pioneering use of ceramics in the realm of watchmaking, it is no understatement to suggest that Rado has more than mastered the material. The brand’s approach to the production of ceramics is fascinating unto itself. But what really sets Rado apart is a certain pedigree of its ceramic that the brand designates as High-Tech Ceramic. In this instance, final ceramic monobloc watch components – cases, bezels and bracelet links – are subject to a plasma oven, where plasma-activated gases fundamentally alter the molecular structure of the ceramic at temperatures of 20,000oC. This treatment causes the once-white ceramic components to take on a very recognizable metallic sheen. Beyond the resulting material’s attractive aesthetic, it also boasts exceptional scratch-resistance and durability, all while managing to be superbly lightweight.
Today, Rado seems to have had particular success in applying its most forward-thinking material to a timepiece that the brand first produced all the way back in 1962. In this way, Rado has become one of a handful of watchmakers that has most poetically reimagined its past with its present-day capabilities. We speak, of course, of the much-loved Captain Cook and its latest iteration, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton.
The 2023 Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton boasts a deep anthracite matt plasma high-tech ceramic case forged, quite obviously, as a monobloc piece. Its matching bracelet, too, is assembled from individually formed matt plasma high-tech links and boasts a titanium triple-fold clasp with Ceramos push-buttons, which is yet another proprietary ceramic material made by Rado. What particularly sets this new Captain Cook apart, though, is its rose-gold-coloured PVD coated stainless-steel aspects, specifically on its bezel. Speaking of the bezel, here the insert is also made from high-tech ceramic and is marked with rose-gold-coloured lacquered numbers, markers and triangle.
Focusing on the watch face, we see that the brushed grey tinted sapphire crystal of the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton’s dial gives way to a great view of a new skeleton design of the self-winding calibre R808. Further adding to the watch’s rose-gold-coloured accents are its hands and hour markers, with appropriate SuperLuminova application. The R808 also adds to the accent with a horizontally brushed platine and a rose-gold-coloured minute-wheel bridge, clearly visible in the centre of the dial. Clocking an 80-hour power reserve, the movement is fitted with a Nivachron hairspring, making it capable of minimizing the detrimental effects of magnetism.
At 43mm, the 2023 Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton’s size remains unchanged and manages to make for yet another great addition to the collection, with a thoughtful pop of colour on an otherwise radically futuristic dive watch.
Movement: Automatic calibre R808; 80-hour power reserve
Case: 43mm in high tech ceramic; water-resistant to 300m
Strap: High-tech ceramic and titanium bracelet
This article was first seen on WOW’s Summer #69 Issue.
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