Monochrome Watches
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The New Czapek Complicité Place Vendôme Stardust Cobalt

Fusing tradition with modernity, Czapek’s sophisticated double regulator setup returns with subtle design tweaks.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 3 min read |

Dual regulators were invented by horology’s illustrious grandfathers to improve accuracy and stability. Names like Huygens, who introduced the concept of resonance inside his movements, and others like Breguet, Berthoud and Janvier are all associated with this alignment of double regulators. Coveted by collectors, this rara avis is not extinct and reinterpreted by contemporary wizards like F.P. Journe and Vianney Halter and brands like Armin Strom, Audemars Piguet, MB&F et al. Last year, Czapek entered the elite circle and introduced its Place Vendôme Complicité, a dual regulator model developed with watchmaker Bernhard Lederer. Following the first editions in white and rose gold cases, the latest Complicité Stardust Cobalt respects the technology and habillage of former editions but introduces a couple of design tweaks.

The principle of the double escapement regulator is to achieve greater accuracy. With two balance wheels beating independently and power delivered from a single barrel via a differential, any variation in rate will be cancelled out.

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Toying with the idea since 2018, CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel’s ambitious vision for housing a double regulator inside the brand’s Place Vendôme was brought to life by German master watchmaker Bernhard Lederer in 2023. Using the signature layout of the Place Vendôme with sub-dials forming the base of a pyramid and a third sub-dial at the apex, the escapements were fitted at 4:30 and 7:30, with the differential connecting them at noon and their trains running down the centre.

The openworked dial ensures a perfect view of the pyramid alignment formed by the dual regulators and the differential gear at noon. Beneath the triangular bridges, you can appreciate the four adjustment screws on the variable inertia balance wheels as well as the Breguet terminal curve. The novelty of this latest reference is the use of heat-blued indices and hands contrasting with the circular-grained grey minutes and hours flange skirting around the movement. Another difference between this model and earlier reference is the substitution of the glass-box crystal for a domed sapphire crystal.

Relying on a fusion of tradition and modernity, the applied indices (from 9 to 3) and openworked sword-shaped gold-plated hands are luminescent, and the differential gear at noon is secured under a transparent sapphire crystal bridge with six rubies set in gold chatons. To keep an eye on the 72-hour autonomy of Lederer’s manual-winding calibre 8, there is a power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock with a blued hand.

The spectacle is guaranteed as the balance wheels oscillate in opposite directions, sending their 3Hz impulse to the gear train and differential. The reverse side reveals other components of the 293-part manual-winding movement with its contemporary matte grey bridges and refined haute horlogerie finishings. At 9 o’clock, you can see Lederer’s signature three-spring crown wheel mechanism.

Czapek’s Place Vendôme case has a 41.8mm diameter, a thickness of 13.3mm and a contemporary profile with polished surfaces and hollowed-out lugs with sandblasted interiors. Although the model we had for our photographs was a steel prototype, the commercial models will be crafted in 18k white gold. The large crown is flanked by protectors to ensure the 50m water-resistance.

The Czapek Place Vendôme Complicité Stardust Cobalt is limited to 13 pieces and retails for CHF 85,000 / EUR 89,000 / GBP 77,300 (all prices excl. tax).

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