The luxury sports watch is one of the most successful categories, dominated by cult classics such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus – two timepieces that defined the genre back in the 1970s. Smaller independent watchmakers are now entering the category. Brands like Laurent Ferrier, Urban Jurgensen or H. Moser & Cie. have recently unveiled steel sports watches with an integrated bracelet. It is now Czapek’s turn to present its take on the genre with the Antarctique.
Czapek is an independent watchmaker with an original business model. The brand was launched a few years ago, reviving the name of an illustrious Czech-born Geneva-based watchmaker. This renaissance was orchestrated through an equity crowdfunding campaign, a unique case in high-end watchmaking, allowing passionate watch lovers to be part of a brand, many of them active in supporting and advising the team. On the manufacturing side, Czapek operates as a horizontal manufacture creating a relationship with long-standing partners. As such, Czapek is a collective human adventure where working in concert plays a pivotal role.
The brand’s first sports watch
The idea of creating a luxury sports watch emerged from this group of people supporting and cooperating with the brand. “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,” says Xavier de Roquemaurel the brand’s CEO. The idea of the name itself was originated during a family trip to Antarctica of one of Czapek’s oldest and most active shareholders. Antarctica raises a host of associations, from explorers who risked life and limb to discover the world’s remotest parts, to pristine natural beauty.
The Czapek Antarctique is a luxury sports watch with a distinct personality, that in particular avoided the angular bezels seen too often on such models. Its design is based on a barrel-shaped flat surface framing a round, sloped polished bezel. The brushed finishing of the case radiating from the dial centre adds a refined touch. The box sapphire crystal protrudes slightly from the case. Like all Czapek watches, the crown is protected by a crown guard. With a 40.5mm diameter, the watch has a versatile size that will fit most wrists. And it is 10.6mm in height, which is thin enough to slip comfortably under a cuff.
The dial of the Czapek Antarctique is made by Metalem (a Le Locle-based dial maker and long-standing Czapek partner). It is manufactured using a Metalem technique called Lamé. It consists of creating a series of traits on the dial with a comb to create beautiful depth and reflections. The hand-crafted pattern is paired with dynamic applied indexes. The date window is positioned at 6 o’clock.
The integrated bracelet features fluid lines. Its brushed links mesh to form a highly polished and stylized “C” for Czapek. It is flexible, soft to the skin and wears comfortably. Last, it is fitted with an easy-release system letting you change the strap/bracelet and the personality of the watch in seconds – with the help of a small tool. Last, the watch is water-resistant to 120m.
New in-house movement
Until now, Czapek has been manufacturing its movements with Chronode (Quai des Bergues / Place Vendôme tourbillon) and Vaucher (Faubourg de Cracovie Chronograph). The Czapek Antarctique is powered by the brand’s first in-house movement, the SXH5 calibre. It was conceived from scratch by the brand’s constructor Dan Martinez, with parts manufactured by several partners: AB product, Générale de resort or Atokalpa (for the assortment) to name a few.
The SXH5 is a self-winding movement measuring 30mm. The first thing to catch the attention is its distinctive architecture, with a gold micro-rotor and 7 bridges, 5 of which are openworked offering a captivating perspective on the inner workings.
At 6 o’clock, the variable inertia balance wheel is held in place by a transversal bridge. The SHX5 operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has an autonomy of 56 hours on one barrel. The finishing creates a striking contrast. It is modern but elaborate with hand chamfering of the inward angles and drawing of the flanks. The bridge edges are raised with a matte textured interior. In the traditional Czapek style, the ratchet wheel is openwork with 5 spokes.
Price and Availability
The Czapek Antarctique is launched in a 99-piece limited edition named Terre Adélie (the French-claimed portion of the Antarctic discovered by explorer Dumont D’Urville). It is available in four different dial variants: Secret Alloy, Deep Blue, Black Ink and Burgundy. The watch can be bought via an online subscription at czapek.com.
Price is set at CHF 18,000 or USD 18,900. Additional versions are scheduled for fall 2020. For more information, please visit www.czapek.com.