Geneva, 26 May 2020 – Czapek & Cie unveils a special model and starts a new chapter in its remarkable history. The Czapek Antarctique combines sophisticated style with an unprecedented in-house power movement pushing the boundaries of the popular sport-chic territory further.
There’s more to haute horlogerie than virtuosic complications. Movement design, rare and fine finishing, select materials or intricate case surfaces, and attention to detail, are all key factors that increase a timepiece’s value in the eyes of the beholder. They are also at the heart of Czapek’s latest model, the Antarctique, says CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel. “The message from our friends and shareholders was clear: To make a watch that exudes a feeling of preciousness, but could also be worn and admired every day…even at the end of the Earth”.
Under the hood
The Antarctique is a 40.5-millimetre three-hander, thin enough to slip comfortably under a cuff, and with a carefully-honed, edgy look. The transparent case back reveals the model’s beating heart, the powerful, 30-millimetre SXH5.01 automatic calibre, conceived exclusively by Czapek’s concepteur, Daniel Martinez. Special attention was given to both performance and appearance, so the movement’s parts are arranged for visual harmony and transparency.
The architecture of the movement is also exceptional. At the root is a free-sprung balance wheel with variable inertia provided by four gold masselotte weights, which enables the highest level of precision tuning for a mechanical watch. The micro-rotor was manufactured in La-Chaux-de-Fonds out of a very special ‘fully recycled’ 18-kt gold supplied by AGOSI. It was placed off-centre to allow a plunging view into the mechanism. 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.
Elements of character
Every part of the Antarctique has been made with a level of care to detail close to obsession. For instance, the gear train is held in place by a series of seven handsome skeletonized bridges inspired by nineteenth-century pocket watches.
Their unique shape, which has been added to the Swiss design register, does recall the Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie chronograph rotor. It proves that stringent watchmaking craftsmanship can be further enhanced with a hint of free-floating creativity, as if form were an equal party to function. The straight-grained sides and the six chamfered inward angles are other hallmarks of a high-end timepiece.
The most visible part of any watch is the dial. The Antarctique’s dial was designed and manufactured by Metalem, a Czapek & Cie cooperation partner, using a unique lamé technique, invented by them 30 years ago and revamped today for this project. 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.
The 40.5mm stainless steel case is integrated with an original double ‘trompe l’oeil’ curve, another unconventional design choice making this timepiece unique and exclusive. It is rounded off by an ergonomic brushed integrated bracelet, whose links mesh to form a highly polished “C” for Czapek.
A great deal of attention was put on the bracelet, its feeling when placed on the wrist, comfort, lightness and its capability to be forgotten by its wearer and suddenly reveal its stunning beauty creating an intense pleasure. As Czapek has developed an exclusive quick-change system, an additional strap is provided. Customer can choose between a soft and elegant calf bracelet or a sportier-looking rubber strap.
“This watch, whatever the colour, is a thrill for both the newcomer and the horological expert,” says de Roquemaurel. “The neophyte will instinctively fall in love with the dial and the remarkable movement inside, while the expert can use the watch almost as an exhibition piece to explain how a movement works and what makes haute horlogerie so unique.”
It’s all in the name
The idea of the name Antarctique was originated by the family trip to Antarctica of one of Czapek’s most historical and active shareholders, a successful entrepreneur who ardently finances new businesses mostly for sustainable solutions.
The name Antarctica raises a host of associations, from intrepid explorers who risked life and limb to discover the world’s remotest parts, to the sheer breath-taking beauty Nature at its most pristine. Indeed, the Sixth Continent has become a preeminent symbol of environmental deterioration and the need for humans to step up their efforts to preserve the planet. “The name resonated, because it also represents our commitment to doing our part,” explains Xavier de Roquemaurel. “It’s not only in the use of recycled gold for the rotor. It’s about safeguarding other irreplaceable assets as well, like the many Swiss artisans dedicated to the traditional watchmaking art. This perfectly illustrates our motto, ‘We Collect Rare People’.“
The Antarctique is available in several versions. The Terre Adélie will be in 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.
The Crew behind Antarctique:
- Conception: Emmanuel Bouchet, Adrian Buchmann, Daniel Martinez, Xavier de Roquemaurel & Patrick Rossi
- Components and movement manufacturing: AB Product, Arcofil, Atokalpa, Ceramaret, Chronode, CMT-Rickenbach, Comblemine, Crelier, Generale Ressort, Inca, Inodeco, MLV, MPS, Novassort, Precipro, Risa, Stocco – and a few standard components as well
- Habillage: AB Product, Capsa, HMS Waeber, Jean Rousseau, Metalem, Wolf
Everything you always wanted to know about the SXH5 Caliber* (*but were afraid to ask)
Czapek & Cie SXH5.01 Caliber is a three-hander self-winding micro-rotor movement. Here are its main features:
- Haute-Horology caliber conceived in-house and “from scratch” by the Czapek team,
- Exceptional architecture with 7 bridges cut out like lace allowing a clear view of the finishing (the gear train),
- Original bridges’ shape inspired by 19th century movements and by Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie chronograph’s rotor,
- Superlative finishes with hand chamfering of 6 inward angles and drawing of the flanks,
- 8.8 Newton mm single barrel loaded by a micro-rotor in certified 100% recycled 18k gold to free up the view on the movement and let it remain reasonably flat and thin (4.5mm),
- High autonomy power reserve of 56 hours,
- 100% Swiss made (gold excepted) with a majority of components exclusive to Czapek,
- 8 mg.cm² variable inertia balance wheel to allow precise adjustment and excellent chronometry,
- Powerful movement with an optimal balance of inertia and torque to achieve perfect isochronism and power horse versatility,
- Exclusive calendar positioned at 6 o’clock to stay true to Czapek’s aesthetics based on vertical symmetry,
- The 15 movement’s partners and co-creators of its exclusive components – such as the prototype maker Emmanuel Bouchet, Atokalpa or Générale Ressort – represent the ‘crème de la crème of Swiss watchmaking and joined the Czapek team to strengthen its horizontal manufacture in one of the purest version of the We Collect Rare People spirit.
About Czapek & Cie
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 into 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.