Czapek & Cie Quai de Bergues is one of the nicest and complex collections in the independent scene. There are not too many independent brands out there that bring, year after year, new and interesting interpretation in the same collection. One can say that Czapek competes with established brands by the number of variations. Recently, I have published the press release of the “This Is Not a Blue Watch” – Czapek Sapphire Blue. It reminded me of other enamel pieces I have seen earlier this year, including the prototype of the Sapphire Blue. I have decided to refresh, mine and yours, the visual memory with some of the enamel pieces of the Czapek & Cie Quai de Bergues Collection. Note that the watches are prototypes and not all the details conform with the final version.
Czapek & Cie Quai de Bergues enamel
Quai de Bergues collection is not a stranger to enamel, rather, quite well acquainted. If we also take into consideration the Special Editions, the collection is heavy weighted into the enamel direction. The piece presented today were seen during Baselworld 2019. While the pieces are spectacular in the metal, the pictures do them no justice. Especially since my lack of photographic expertise cannot handle difficult lights and hard to photograph pieces (the black dial: as beautiful is in real life, as hard is for me to correctly shot it).
Black, white and blue
The black dials and white are a classical and conservative choice for enamel dials. But the light blue is something new, especially in the men’s category.
The “Grand Feu” enamel dials are difficult to produce, offering high quality and durability but leave no room for defects. The Czapek dials are perfectly executed by their Le Locle situated partner, Donze Cadrans.
For those familiar with the brand, the secret signature visible on the dial is the most obvious witness of Czapek quality. Moreover, a secret signature can be also produced by request (with length up to 33 characters)
But as magic as the secret signature is, the bue enamel dial realised on the Ricochet guilloché pattern is by far the most spectacular piece. In the collection are several guilloché pieces with various (and ingenious) colours. Having such a light blue dial is daring and bold. But Czapek accepts challenges easily, making you think that producing this dials is a simple task.
The beauty of the Quai de Bergues dials stays not only on its base. The way the dials are adorned is another distinctive and strong point of Czapek.
The small seconds with its unusual position at 7 o’clock balances the power reserve sub-dial. In the pieces presented here, the double hand doubles the indication of the power reserve with the weekday.
The independent brand offers the possibility to chose the design of the power reserve: the dual function (double hand – power reserve and weekdays displayed in any desired language) or just a simple reserve indication with a stylised arrow.
Now a classic for Czapek, the ‘Fleur-de-lys’ hands govern the top of the dial. The elegant shape is an original design from the Czapek pocket watch made in 1850.
The dial is nicely balanced. The combination ‘Fleur-de-lys’ hands with slender Roman numeral and subtle minutes’ register is of exquisite elegance. The hands’ shadow on the dial brings depth.
Reminding about bespoke, Czapek offers the possibility to have the hands in precious personalisation: rose gold, black rhodium or blue plating. During the last years, I have seen several pieces with various combinations. Sincerely, I cannot decide which one I like more since all have their charm.
Beautiful on the outside, gorgeous on the inside
The Quai de Bergues watches are powered by the in-house calibre SXH1. This movement was developed together with Jean-François Mojon and its Chronode (responsible for other great collaboration with brands like MB&F and many other important names). The SXH1 is aesthetically and functionally the modern implementation of the Czapek’s 1850 original movement.
The two barrels design offer seven days of autonomy, helped by a 3Hz beating heart. Lavish decoration adorn this movement in a way that you feel compulsory to take your watch from the wrist just to immerse into the movement’s details.
The movement architecture reflects the dial side. It gives the impression of an almost mirrored design. And vice-versa. The finishes consist of double open ratchets, sandblasted bridges, blue screws, bevelling, final anglage.
Some final notes and the gallery
Czapek & Cie Quai de Bergues is a beautiful, mature collection. On the casing side, the independent brand offers two case variants (both visible in the pictures above and in the galley) and five materials to choose from. On the dial side, Czapek offers several materials and colours with endless possibilities. With only the “imagination is the limit” and, of course, some technological constraints, Czapek can offer everything you desire. They even dare their customers to come with new ideas, to push the technology further and to create new fantastic designs.
On the personal side, I am a fan of this collection and the brand (since the very beginning). I admire how every encounter with Xavier de Roquemaurel, CEO of Czapek & Cie ends up with prototypes showcasing and discussion over new models. I cannot decide over a model or variation since every time I decide on a favourite, new colours/variation come into the game. For the moment I find the blue enamel the most appealing. But I am prepared in my heart to be amazed again. Maybe sooner than expected. Stay tuned, here on Watch I Love Magazine you will always find about Czapek novelties.
For a more detailed description of the Quai de Bergues, you can have a look at the Czapek Midnight in Geneva – a celebration of past, present and future review.