While the recently revived brand Czapek continues its development with the introduction of a highly interesting chronograph, the Faubourg de Cracovie, one watch in the collection – actually, the flagship model – shouldn’t be forgotten: the Czapek Place Vendome Tourbillon Suspendu “Ici et Ailleurs” GMT (quite a complex name). Already an exclusive watch in its inaugural shape, it now becomes even more exclusive with the option of an engraved case, making each watch unique.
After the deliberately classic Quai des Bergues, the first watch introduced by the “new Czapek”, the second model to be introduced was a complex, much more modern tourbillon timepiece, the Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu. While the Quai des Bergues played on traditional design codes and materials (with Roman numerals, enamel dials, antique-looking hands or guilloché dials), the Tourbillon departed from this pocket watch inspiration to offer a more architectural and technical design – although some of the features found on the first watch were not entirely forgotten.
The Czapek Quai des Bergues was based on a historically relevant off-centred display, with two sub-dials positioned at 4 and 7 o’clock. The Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu uses this same concept in a semi-openworked style and even pushes the idea one step further with an off-centred hours and minutes sub-dial. This model departs from the plain dial and pocket watch style of its predecessor with a movement that serves as a base for the indications. Sand-blasted surfaces, visible screws, metallic parts all around, pointy and graphic shapes for the visible bridges… The Tourbillon Suspendu “Ici et Ailleurs” is from another era.
The dial of this tourbillon watch reveals multiple indications, yet in a clear and legible way. The time (hours and minutes) is indicated in a large sub-dial at 12 o’clock, which also contains an arched power reserve gauge. At 4 o’clock is the other main indication, a second time zone on a 12-hour scale, located underneath a superbly shaped and finished bridge. Being a 12-hour indication, it had to be linked to a day & night indicator – in order to adjust this GMT feature to the right time zone – which is found at 6 o’clock. Finally, the tourbillon is proudly exposed at 7 o’clock, echoing the GMT function. All surfaces are decorated, and even though the dial of the Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu is far from being simple, it remains easy to read and offers a great visual balance – the 12-to-6 symmetry…
Housed in a platinum 43.5mm case is an exclusive movement – calibre SXH2 – designed specifically for Czapek by Chronode (a so-called proprietary movement). It features a tourbillon regulator with a traditional one-minute revolution period and its balance, with four 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 back reveals a large bridge with sand-blasted surfaces, with all the edges polished by hand.
While already exclusive in its inaugural edition – 10 pieces in platinum and 15 pieces in pink gold – you can now have this watch with an engraved case, making each model unique. Engraved cases are a complex exercise, as they can easily become baroque and inelegant. For this reason, Czapek has chosen to keep the engravings light and located only on the case bands. Available in both platinum and pink gold, the 43.5mm case can be engraved with an “Acanthus Leaves” pattern on each side – including the crown guard. Performed by Swiss artist Michele Rothen Rebetez, the antique Roman-inspired pattern contrasts with the technical look of this watch and adds some classical appeal to the overall design. Engraved entirely by hand, each watch will thus be unique.
The Czapek Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu GMT with “Acanthus Leaves” Engraved Case will only be available by “special order” (on the brand’s website). The price, including the engravings, will be CHF 107,000 for the 18k pink gold version and CHF 120,000 for the platinum version (this represents the extra CHF 15,000 for the engravings). More details on czapek.com.