Just another day until the Christmas eve and we continue the Wishes for Christmas series with another super cool independent – Czapek Geneve. We have a look today at the newest iteration of one of their gorgeous watches, the Place Vendôme Tourbillon Dark Matter. Not a new watch per se but a daring variation preponderant black. Here’s a short presentation with the key points on what I like about it.
I follow Czapek since the beginning. I remember reading about Quai des Bergues back then and being impressed by what I see in the pictures and the good impression of the others. But the first watch that I had in my hands was Czapek & Cie Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu “Ici et Ailleurs” back in 2017 (together with my first meeting with Xavier de Roquemaurel). I like all the Czapek watches, until and after Place Vendôme Tourbillon, but this one remained always as the one. A watch that I am always happy to see. And this Dark Matter is my expectation of Czapek for the third decade of the 21 century – traditions and technology combined.
Czapek & Cie Place Vendôme Tourbillon Dark Matter
Place Vendôme Tourbillon Dark Matter is one of the watches launched during Geneva Watch Days, back in August. While keeping the essence of the watch the same, the Genevan independent decided for a dark theme with a more modern “industrial” look. Industrial might not be the best word to describe it. But it was the most appropriate term to associate with this anchored in the “present times” piece.
Original design language
The Dark Matter comes in a 43.5mm titanium case treated with black ADLC coating. This process adds a new layer of resistance to the titanium and the black appearance. Despite the hardness of the material and the difficulties of the decorating technique, the case presents alternation of polished and brushed surfaces. The case presents the signature crown protection that also integrates the GMT pusher.
I always found the design of the Place Vendôme very strong – powerful lines, well defined. But also very suitable for the modern age and technical capabilities. Beyond the traditionalism and exceptional execution, Czapek innovates technically and visually.
Integrating function still keeping the Czapek look
If you put side by side a Place Vendôme Tourbillon and a Quai des Bergues, you will be immediately struck by the major similarities in design. The layout shares the original Czapek pocket watch idea. The time display was moved from central position to the top of the dial, integrating also the power reserve indication.
The time uses a black enamel register with printed indexes. Two alpha hands with SuperLuminova insert indicate the minutes and the hours. The power reserve disk seems to be the same as in the previous versions of the Place Vendôme Tourbillon.
The GMT dial remains virtually unchanged. The novelty comes in the decoration of the cock. A honeycomb pattern was added for a more intriguing look. This pattern is present on all the screwed elements (bridges and decorating elements). The GMT indication tip was filled with black lacquer. To set this function, one needs to actuate the corresponding pusher.
On the tourbillon’s side, we find the same familiar style. A blue screw indicates seconds on the corresponding bevelled edge marked with subtle indexes. The large tourbillon cage is imposing, catching immediately the attention.
The day/night indication kept its style too – a small disk at 6 o’clock displaying an engraved sun and a lacquered moon and stars. While the day/night complication is not the most useful out there, it is definitively one of the cutest.
Another signature element – the look of the Calibre SXH2
Czapek & Cie collaborated with Chronode and created a very interesting movement. Chronode, for those unfamiliar with them, is dedicated to researching, developing and producing mechanical movements, modules and sophisticated horological complications. Great names of the industry worked with them for some of the most exotic watches on the market (Czapek, Urban Jurgensen, Hermes, HYT, Cyrus, MB&F).
The hands-wound movement uses a one-minute tourbillon with 3 Hz oscillator and provides 60 hours of power reserve. Calibre SXH2 is very subtle but well decorated. The sandblasting is a common presence on many components. The edges are carefully bevelled and polished. The sink and the screws have been hand polished.
Czapek & Cie Place Vendôme Tourbillon Dark Matter is a super cool and fresh watch. Even if Xavier refer to it as the rebellious one of the collection, I find it as a good representation of what Czapek as a brand is: a deep-rooted brand with a superb and strong heritage that ventures into the future with both feet. In the sense that, still keeping the heritage and the traditionalism alive, it experiments with concepts, materials and technologies.
The watch is gorgeous on the wrist. Light and comfortable, the watch makes a good impression. Tourbillon Dark Matter is my favourite from the Place Vendôme line and it is something that I will happily wish for this Christmas.
Czapek & Cie Place Vendôme Tourbillon ‘Dark Matter‘ Technical Specifications and Price
Titanium case with ADLC coating, tourbillon & GMT function. Black enamel dial, white gold hands. Limited edition to 10 pieces.
- Hours and minutes on the separate dial located at 12 o’clock
- One-minute tourbillon located at 8 o’clock – Second-time zone on a subdial at 4 o’clock, turns counter-clockwise
- Disk day/night indicator located at 6, turns counter-clockwise
- Power reserve: off centred disk, located at 12, turn on 90° on 60h, winding counterclockwise
- Calibre SXH2: Haute Horlogerie proprietary mechanical hand-wound movement developed by Chronode and Czapek & Cie
- Power reserve: 60 hours with one barrel spring
- Frequency: 3 Hz (21,600 VpH)
- Diameter: 34.8 mm – 15 ½ lines
- Height: 9.8 mm
- Titanium grade 5 case with ADLC coating
- 43.5 mm diameter
- Curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
- Sapphire crystal case back with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
- Water-resistance: 50 meters (5 atm)
- Alligator strap with Titanium buckle
- Black enamel dial, polished bridges and sandblasted plate
- 12 in Arabic numerals
- Arrow hands in white gold with SuperLuminova
- 90’000 CHF – international retail price