Rado has attracted quite a bit of attention with its retro HyperChrome Captain Cook. Although it sticks to the overriding “heritage revival” theme of this year’s launches, this dive watch comes as something of a surprise from a brand synonymous with innovative, futuristic designs, and slim timepieces in revolutionary materials.

Partly in reaction to the nosedive in global watch sales over the last couple of years, brands have been reinforcing their provenance, as well as introducing more accessible, practical, yet elegant sporty automatic wristwatches in an attempt to appeal to a new, younger audience. Rado is no exception. This series, named after the 18th century British explorer Captain James Cook, is a reimagined collection of three watches for men and women, based on the original 1962 Rado dive watch with the same name.

Although water-resistant to 10 bar, its brown, vintage-leather strap suggests that, much as luxury crossover vehicles seldom see mud, this 37mm piece isn’t really intended for extreme adventures of the deep. It does, however, look every bit the part, with its oversized indexes; chunky, arrow-shaped hands; and a rotating bezel inset with scratch resistant black hi-tech ceramic. Inside is an automatic ETA C07.611 movement with 80 hours of power reserve. A women’s version has a dial studded with eight Top Wesselton diamonds, a white, hi-tech, ceramic bezel, and a fine-knit metal Milanese bracelet.

The 37mm case is a very elegant size, but for men who like to make more of an impression, Rado also offers a 45mm model, with a blue colour scheme on a blue or black textile strap. All dials feature a rather novel, rhodium-coloured, moving-anchor symbol with red background at noon. Priced at just less than $2 000 at time of launch in Basel. rado.com or swatch.com/en_za/

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