Hands-On – Czapek Genève Quai des Bergues Guilloché
The name Czapek, once famed as a partner of what would become Patek Philippe, came back to the forefront of the scene late 2015 with the elegant and well-thought out Quai des Bergues. The watch was awarded the public prize at GPHG 2016, one of the most (if not the most) meaningful industry award ceremony, which is no small achievement. The collection reflects the Czapek ethics to propose finely crafted classics whose understated style offers a distinctive twist and a distinctive character.
The Quai des Bergues pink gold guilloche Emperor blue – unique piece.
This year the model is enhanced with exquisite guilloche dials, hand-made in the traditional way. This stylish timepiece is offered in three different versions: white gold with ‘sea-salt grey’ dial, steel with ‘aqua blue’ dial, and a unique piece in pink gold with an ‘emperor blue’ dial. These are manufactured with Metalem (a prominent maker of quality dials) and more precisely in one of their specialized ateliers where a handful of expert craftsmen preserve the sacrosanct art of hand-guilloché in the Val-de-Ruz. These are handcrafted to a degree of refinement which lends true uniqueness and authenticity to these works of art.
The art of Guilloché consist in engraving regular, repetitive patterns with a machine (hence the difference with hand-engraving). For hand-guilloché, a craftsman is driving the machine (with a wheel) and guiding the piece to be engraved by hand. Engraved with a CNC machine, the pattern will be perfect, always the same. With hand-guilloché, each piece become unique, the gift of imperfection being authenticity.
Guilloché has been practiced since the 15th century. The word guilloche is often said to be derived from the name Guillot, a craftsman that has developed the technique of guilloche…
The dial is fashioned out of a gold – platinum – silver – palladium alloy plate, and the exclusive ‘ricochet’ pattern is applied by hand on a rose engine lathe. Age-old techniques are used to create a new, original design: the intricate, repetitive motif is based on a double focal point to create finely-textured, captivating and distinctive wave interferences on the dial.
Interestingly, the brand name has been printed directly on the guilloche pattern instead of being applied on a cartouche, which is a nice touch. It is paired with the brand’s signature Fleur-de-Lys hands for the gold version (gold or blued steel) or dynamic openwork lance-shaped hands for the steel version.
42.5 mm in diameter, the watch has great presence on the wrist, while the ergonomic lugs ensure a comfortable fit. The case features a crown guard on the side. The sapphire crystal is slightly domed, extending the curved case profile and sloped bezel. Turn the watch over and the exhibition case back, secured by eight screws, reveals the hand–wound movement within.
Like all Quai des Bergues watches, the Guiloché dial versions are powered by the manual caliber SHX1. This proprietary caliber has been developed and manufactured by Chronode in Le Locle. Operating at 21,600 vibrations per hour, the movement features a seven-day power reserve thanks to its two barrels. It features central hours and minutes, a subsidiary small seconds at 7h30 and the power reserve indication with week days at 4h30. The finish is really nice with sandblasted bridges, anglage performed by hand and openwork ratchets – further evidence of the brand’s fine craftsmanship.
Hand-made beveling with traditional tools such as files, wood pegs and abrasive pastes on a Czapek movement. It takes about half a day to form a perfect chamfer on the contour of a single barrel bridge.
The Quai des Bergues guilloché are paired with qualitative alligator leather straps. The pink gold version features a blue ‘patiné’ leather reminding of shoe leather patina. A pin buckle matching the material of the case sets the final touch. For more information about Czapek watches, please visit www.czapek.com.
Technical specifications – Czapek Genève Quai des Bergues Guilloché
- Case: 42.5 mm – steel, white or pink (5N) gold case – sapphire crystal and see-through case back with antireflective coating – water resistant to 30m.
- Movement: caliber SHX1 mechanical with manual winding – 168 h power reserve – 21,600 vibrations/h – 31 jewels – hours, minutes, small seconds, power reserve indication.
- Strap: alligator leather with steel or gold pin buckle.
- Price: CHF 14,800 in steel and CHF 25,900 in gold