Baselworld 2017 – Czapek Expands Their Collection with the Place Vendome Tourbillon
Czapek, a brand reborn recently and founded on the roots of Patek’s ex-partner, is expanding its collection with a beautifully designed timepiece blending tradition and modernity. The Place Vendôme is the brand’s first tourbillon and features dual time, power reserve and day/night indications, with a pleasant contemporary take on watchmaking.
The Czapek brand was revived at the end 2015, with the presentation of the elegant Quai des Bergues. Owing its design to a pocket watch (reference 3340), dating from 1850, the watch was awarded the Public prize at the 2016 Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève – GPHG. Its proprietary movement, manufactured with Chronode, offers 7 days of power reserve (read our article presenting the model here).
Whilst the Quai des Bergues has been offered in different versions (different materials, different dials, a smaller size), Czapek is now presenting a second collection with dual time, power reserve and day / night indications regulated by a tourbillon escapement.
Place Vendôme – Franciszek Czapek was a Czech born, Polish watchmaker who established himself in Geneva in the 1830s. He partnered with Antoni Patek for several years, founding Patek, Czapek & Cie, which gave birth to some exceptional watches before his depature from the company. Patek then founded Patek Philippe & Co with French man Adrien Philippe. In the meantime Czapek began his own company and was soon named watchmaker to the court of Napoleon III. He opened a store in Place Vendôme during the time this iconic Parisian square was earning its reputation.
When the Czapek brand was relaunched in 2015, its first collection was named for the address of Czapek’s first atelier on the Rhone banks in Geneva, ‘Quai des Bergues’. As a result, the brand’s second collection has been named ‘Place Vendôme’.
The Place Vendôme Collection offers pleasing symmetry, with the off-centered indication of the hours and minutes at 12, the second time zone at four o’clock and the tourbillon at 8 o’clock. The day / night indicator is visible at 6 o’clock.
The hours and minutes indication features a grand feu enamel ring with elongated Roman numerals, while the gold ‘fleur de lys’ hands are in the Czapek distinctive style. However, it looks resolutely contemporary, with its exposed mechanics and anthracite sandblasted main plate. The power reserve is visible through an aperture in the hours and minutes dial. The second time zone indication is shown on a disc that rotates counter-clockwise, and it is connected to the day/night indicator at 6 o’clock.
The beating heart of the caliber SXH2 powering the Place Vendôme is a one-minute tourbillon. It is held under a finely polished steel bridge (similar and symmetrical to the bridge of the second time zone). Its balance, with 4 regulating screws, runs at 21’600 vibrations per hour, offering a power reserve of 60 hours. The tourbillon cage is made of 57 parts and is superbly hand-finished.
The smooth case shape is similar to that of the Quai des Bergues, with its softly curved bezel and crown guard. 43.5mm in diameter, it is available in either platinum (10 pieces limited edition) or pink gold (15 pieces limited edition). The sapphire glass is curved with double-sided anti-reflective coating. The exhibition case back enables one to admire the impeccably finished movement: fine anglage, open-worked ratchet (like the Quai des Bergues), sandblasted bridges, blued screws…
The Czapek Place Vendôme is paired with a supple and beautifully crafted alligator strap fit with a pin buckle.
With the Quai des Bergues, Czapek did an awesome job of reconnecting the brand with its illustrious past in a traditional way. While staying true to this heritage, the Place Vendôme now embodies a superb and attractive modern incarnation of the brand. Hats-off! For more information, visit www.czapek.com.
Technical specifications Czapek Tourbillon
- Case: 43.5mm, pink gold or platinum – Curved Sapphire crystal with AR coating on both sides – Sapphire case back – water resistant to 30m –
- Movement: calibre SHX2, hand wound (proprietary movement developed with Chronode) – 15’’’ ½, height 9.8mm – power reserve 60 hours – 21’600 vibrations per hour – 35 jewels – hours, minutes, second time zone, power reserve indicator, day & night indicator, one minute tourbillon.
- Strap: alligator strap with pin buckle
- Price: CHF 78,000 in pink gold, CHF 88,000 in platinum