We will start our presentation of Czapek Antarctique with a brief history of the manufacturing company because I think it is a little bit less heard of. However, let me first point out that I really like their slogan – “We Collect Rare People”.
“François Czapek was a Czech-born Polish watchmaker who fled to Geneva in 1832 after fighting in the Polish uprising. He immediately started his own atelier and in 1839 entered a partnership with Antoine Norbert de Patek, introducing him to the world of watchmaking. In 1845, at the end of their partnership, he created Czapek & Cie and achieved considerable success. He became the official watchmaker of Napoleon III and opened, what was most likely the first watchmaking boutique on the Place Vendome in Paris. He wrote a book about watchmaking, but unfortunately, he died before publishing a second one. Czapek & Cie has been revived in 2015 with an exceptional collection, whose leading model won the Public Prize in the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie in Geneva in November 2016. This collection takes its inspiration from an 1850’s Czapek time piece. It features a beautiful enamel dial and a 7-day proprietary movement perfectly combining craftsmanship with design and exclusivity with rarity. The Company second collection, a suspended Tourbillon with a second time-zone, was launched one year later in 2017, while the first Czapek chronograph Faubourg de Cracovie was unveiled at Baselworld 2018. The company is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.” Source: Czapek.com
On 26 May 2020 at Geneva, Czapek & Cie showed to the world a new and special model. The Antarctique combines sophisticated yet simple style with a new designed inhouse movement which creates a new image for casual timepieces.
They presented a masterpiece under the name Antarctique. The size of the watch is 40.5 millimetres and thin enough at 10.6 millimetres to accommodate a shirt sleeve over it without trouble. The bracelet is integrated with the case in order to fluidize the watch superb lines all over the wrist. The transparent case back shows the hearth of this watch consisting in the 30 mm SXH 5.01 in-house movement powered by a 18 K gold micro-rotor.
I want to also mention the movement’s free sprung balance which is equipped with variable inertia provided by four gold masselotte weights, which enables the highest level of precision tuning for a mechanical watch. The SXH5.01 runs at a fast 28,800 vph. The single barrel harbours a flat spring wound via the traditional Czapek ratchet wheel with five arms. The timepiece has a power reserve of at least fifty-six hours, a truly remarkable feat for a micro-rotor. Water resistance to 120 meters makes it a natural for the sportive types who would like to keep their watch on while swimming.
The dial of the Czapek Antarctique watch is manufactured using an unique lamé technique, this technique consists in creating a series of traits on the dial with a comb. These characteristic striations give the colours more depth and starker reflections. Edgy three-dimensional indexes are applied on this handcrafted pattern as if they were bridges over the ocean. On the dial, the date window is positioned at 6 o’clock to maintain the Czapek aesthetics based on vertical symmetry. The hands design is reminiscent of a sword, sporty and easy-to-read, as well as the indexes.
Czapek Antarctique is available in several versions. The Terre Adélie will be made in a limited edition of 99 pieces. It is a tribute to the French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville who named an Antarctica island after his wife, Adèle, during his daring expedition to the continent in 1840. It comes in four colours, Deep Blue, Secret Alloy, Black Ink and Burgundy. The Orion Nebula, a special edition with hand-varnished dial, will be produced in 10 pieces only. Further versions, as well as a new ladies’ model, are scheduled for fall 2020.
In conclusion, if you are in market for a new watch to wear or to invest in and the price tag is friendly with your budget I think that this watch is worth the price for the fabulous look and the outstanding level of craftsmanship.
PS: Many thanks to Valeria and Pierre from Czapek&Cie for their help provided to 7F&W.
For more information please visit the producer’s website.
Photos by: Czapek&Cie