Introducing Rado’s New Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton – This Time In Blue!

by Sameera Gamage

The latest version of the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton will leave a lasting impression in the hearts of watch lovers with its new deep, urban shade of late-night blue look.

Renowned as one of the masters of materials, RADO has long been revered as one of the trailblazers in material innovation. The brand has consistently pushed the boundaries of traditional watchmaking by pioneering new materials that redefine durability, aesthetics, and performance. Rado’s mastery of the ceramic material stands as a testament to this.

Rado’s journey into the world of ceramic began in the 1960s when the brand introduced the DiaStar. The DiaStar was the world’s first scratch-resistant watch made from tungsten-carbide and sapphire crystal. After DiaStar’s success, Rado continued to push the boundaries of conventional watchmaking by experimenting with materials, which led to the introduction of High-Tech Ceramic. High-Tech Ceramic is a material that is known for its exceptional hardness, lightweight and hypoallergenic properties.

The all-new Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton in navy blue!

Rado’s first timepiece to feature a case that was entirely crafted from high-tech ceramic was the Integral, released in 1986. This innovative timepiece marked the beginning of Rado’s journey into mastering ceramic. As the years have passed, Rado has continually updated its ceramic manufacturing process and techniques, making use of the latest technologies to deliver a product with better precision and aesthetic detail.

Matte navy blue high-tech ceramic screw-down crown with a laser-structured anchor.

“High-Tech Ceramic is truly a product of advanced science. Under highly exacting conditions, extremely pure and finely calibrated powders of aluminium oxide, zirconium oxide and silicon nitride with perfectly uniform grain sizes are shaped into a particular form and then baked at high temperature to create an object or a watch case of the desired dimensions and properties. New methods developed by Rado involve using a plastic carrier medium mixed with the mineral powders to allow injection into precision moulds at pressures around 1000 bar. Once cooled, the pieces are removed from their parent mould, and the carrier agent is dissolved in a standard chemical solvent process prior to a final sintering phase at 1450°C.

This precisely controlled sintering is what makes possible the extraordinary level of density and hardness of High-Tech Ceramic, over regular ceramic. The procedure is true rocket-science territory, as the dimensions of the first moulded elements shrink during sintering; the particles tighten up as porosity disappears, and precise calculations must consider this important change of around 25% in the dimensions. The reward is a case that now stands at 1,250 on the Vickers scale!”

Rado on the creation of the modern high-tech ceramic case.
How the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton wears on a 6.5-inch wrist.

The all-new Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton is the latest addition to Rado’s ceramic line. The Captain Cook is an iconic timepiece in Rado’s collection, a watch that pays homage to the iconic dive watches of the 1960s. Rado has released Captain Cook in a few different coloured ceramic cases already, including black and, my personal favourite, olive green. In fact, the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton in olive green was only released a few weeks ago (see article with live pictures here!).

The stainless steel extendable folding clasp on the matte navy blue rubber strap.
The stainless steel extendable folding clasp on the matte navy blue rubber strap.

This latest offering of the Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton has a deep navy-blue ceramic case with a matte finish. While the case has a subdued appearance, the bezel stands out proudly with its polished finish. The knurled bezel and the high-tech ceramic insert on the bezel both have polished finishes, which contrast and glisten beautifully against the matt, high-tech ceramic case. What I also do like compared to the Olive Green timepiece is that it has been kept to one colour throughout the whole watch, albeit with different finishes.

Captain Cook dial, showing the matte rhodium moving anchor symbol with synthetic ruby backplate

The dial remains unchanged, with a sapphire crystal showing the movement in it’s full glory underneath. What I like about this skeletonised dial is that Rado has used a tinted sapphire. So many brands make skeletonised dials whereby they compromise the readability of the dial to showcase the movement underneath. By utilising a tinted sapphire dial, you get the best of both worlds. You are still able to see the movement operate underneath while the reliability of time is still super clean. It also helps that the Captain Cook comes with large hour indices and hands, including the arrowhead on the hour hand, all filled with generous amounts of Superlumi-Nova which will come in handy if you ever take this timepiece deep-diving. Rado’s signature design details remain on this model, including the matte rhodium moving anchor symbol with synthetic ruby backplate.

The open case back shows the R808 movement and Rado’s signature anchor-shaped rotor. The deep navy-blue PVD of the case back is also a first for radio.

The movement that you can see through the dial is the Rado calibre R808 movement. The R808 calibre comes with a decent power reserve of 80 hours, giving almost 3.5 days of power without wearing the watch! The movement also comes with an antimagnetic Nivachron™ hairspring, which, while enhancing its anti-magnetic properties, also makes it highly shock resistant. Rado has also exceeded testing requirements for the movement by testing the timepiece to 5 positions, which ensures it retains accuracy regardless of gravity’s role in affecting the balance wheel when it’s in its different positions. Through the open case back, we get a clearer view of the movement, including the signature anchor-shaped rotor. As a first for Rado, the case back is finished with a matching deep navy-blue PVD.

Final Thoughts

High-Tech Ceramic is Rado’s forte, and they are continually trying to improve their knowledge and experience of the material so that not only different colours can be achieved but also better material quality. Out of all the high-tech ceramic releases of the Captain Cook Skeleton that Rado has produced so far, this latest model has to be my favourite. Not only because I have a soft spot for the colour blue, but also because I think it has a uniform and balanced look due to being a singular colour material for the entire timepiece.

The stunning Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Skeleton in navy blue!

While there are plenty of two-tone Captain Cook timepieces, and they certainly look great, it’s also refreshing to see a singular blue shade on this model. I can’t wait to see if the brand releases a blue ceramic bracelet version of this piece. Now, that will be a show-stopper!

Reference: R32153209

Specifications:

  • Case: 43mm, 49.8mm lug-to-lug and thickness of 14.6mm
  • Case: Matte navy blue high – tech ceramic case, monobloc construction. Polished navy blue high-tech ceramic turning bezel with a polished navy blue high-tech ceramic insert with engraved white lacquered markers and triangle in white Super – LumiNova®
  • Dial: Matte blue, tinted sapphire crystal. Matte rhodium-coloured applied indexes with white Super-LumiNova®
  • Crystal: Box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both faces.
  • Water resistance: 300m (30 Bar)
  • Movement: Calibre R808 Automatic movement with Nivachron Hairspring. Pivoting on 25 jewels.
  • Power reserve: 80 hours
  • Bracelet: Matte navy blue rubber M att navy blue high-tech ceramic cover with brushed pushers stainless steel extendable folding clasp.

Australian Recommended Retail Price: AUD $7,350

Availability: Available now via Rado authorised dealers or online at rado.com

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