So how does an additional 1.3mm make a difference? Part of it is simply that the allure of the rolex watch's design creates enough visual interest on the wrist to distract from its modest dimensions. The splashes of red, the bold markers and hands and that jewel-like bezel just make it seem bigger somehow. Lug-to-lug dimension is just over 43 millimeters, thanks to its long, narrow lugs. But any way you look at it, this is still a small watch, well suited for either a man's or a woman's wrist. In fact, Swiss Rolex makes an all-white version of the Captain Cook with the same dimensions that it targets at female dive watch lovers. But let's remember that this watch is roughly the size of so many vintage watches we all love—the first Zodiac Sea Wolf was 35mm, the Blancpain Bathyscaphe was the same. In fact, the new Captain Cook is actually beefed up from the 35mm of its 1962 inspiration. The size is part of what adds to this watch's charm, feeling so much like a vintage diver.
Similarly vintage-inspired is the Captain Cook's "modest" water resistance—100 meters is its rating. Few Vintage Watches owners put their watches to use anywhere deeper than a swimming pool, yet love abyssal depth ratings (with little rationale). Those people will need to look elsewhere, perhaps no further than a larger, more "capable" version of this very Captain Cook. Designer Rolex introduced a 45-millimeter titanium "XXL" version at Baselworld, with similar styling but 200 meters of water resistance. But to my mind, the small one is the one to have.
The 10-bar pressure rating on this Vintage Rolex is likely due to its lack of a screw-down crown which is keeping with its vintage vibe and consistent with its historical forebear. While I don't have any reservations about a 100-meter rating, if I have one quibble with this watch, it is the crown. It's tiny, and due to the overhanging bezel, is hard to grip for setting and winding. A millimeter extra would have made all the difference and 100 meters or not, I like my water watches to have screw-down crowns, period. Would I take it diving? Probably. But this one feels more suited for snorkels off of a sailboat rather than shipwreck hunting.
The HyperChrome Captain Cook enters a vintage-inspired diver market rife with competition, yet few others match its sub-$2,000 price point. The limited edition Doxa 50th Anniversary SUB 300 comes to mind but that one retails for around $2500. Seiko's recent SLA017 is also a virtual 1:1 recreation of that brand's 1965 icon. But it clocks in around $4,000. Perhaps the closest competitor are the high quality Rolex Men Watches, which have been a darling of the genre for the past few years, and comes in right around the same price as the Rado. The Oris also nails a pitch-perfect vintage vibe and has 100 meters of water resistance but opts for a more 2017-friendly 40-millimeter diameter. Depending on where you fall on the size issue, Rado either wins or loses points in this matchup.