If the roots of the brand are connected to François Czapek, a Czech-born Polish watchmaker who fled to Geneva in 1832, Czapek was resuscitated in 2015 thanks to equity crowdfunding. In just a few years, the brand has gained respect among independent watchmaking brands, presenting no fewer than four different collections. After the elegant Quai des Bergues, the Tourbillon and the Faubourg de Cracovie Chronograph, it was time for the successful Antarctique luxury sports watch, which is powered either by a beautiful in-house micro-rotor movement or by a beautiful dial-side split-seconds chronograph mechanism… Now Czapek unveils a new iteration of its Place Vendôme created with master watchmaker Bernhard Lederer. Meet the Czapek Complicité.
The vast majority of mechanical watches operate according to the same principle: one energy source, one gear train and one regulator. Some watches, however, use two (or more) regulators. This is the case with the latest creation from Czapek, the Place Vendôme Complicité (its full name), created in collaboration with Bernhard Lederer.
Bernhard Lederer is a technician and practitioner of watchmaking in all its aspects. With 40 years of watchmaking experience under his belt, the German independent watchmaker made a name for himself with different innovative concepts. Now based in Saint-Blaise, on the outskirts of Neuchâtel, he also works behind the scenes for some of the greatest names in the industry with his small full-fledged manufacture, MHM. His Central Impulse Chronometer is one of the most interesting technical concepts presented recently. Inspired by George Daniels’ Independent Double Wheel Escapement, its escapement is driven by two independent gear trains, each with its own barrel and remontoir d’égalité.
Back to the Czapek Complicité. Its name is inspired by the watch’s pair of escapements and balance wheels working in tandem. But it is also linked to an idea at the very core of Czapek – that of bringing people together – as evidenced by their “We collect rare people” motto. Indeed, as with all of Czapek’s work, there is a deep sense of collaboration here. Xavier de Roquemaurel, the brand’s CEO, and Bernhard Lederer met since some of their children attend the same school in Neuchâtel. The connection was instant and turned into a true friendship story. From their countless discussions, an idea was born: to create together a watch with two regulators. This idea was present from the creation of Czapek but was never brought to fruition as the brand had not found the right partner to do so… Until now.
Indeed, the Czapek Complicité brings together two escapements and two balance wheels oscillating in opposite directions while a differential gear averages out their rates. Thanks to this sophisticated miniature gearing (with a tiny conical toothing), the balance wheels compensate for each other’s errors.
The originality of the construction lies in the architecture of the movement offering an unimpeded view of this fascinating double regulator mechanism. In particular, the differential gear is particularly visible thanks to the use of sapphire bridges (with gold chatons for their jewels). The two variable inertia balance wheels feature 4 adjustment screws and a spring with a Breguet terminal curve. These tick at 21,600vph. The power reserve is 72 hours and can be checked with the small indicator at 6 o’clock. The positioning of the two oscillators is a clear reference to the dial layout of the Czapek Quai des Bergues or the Split-Seconds, both with sub-dials at the 7.30 and 4.30 positions or the Place Vendôme Tourbillon.
The gold round case is 41.8mm in diameter (48.2mm lug-to-lug). It is fitted with a box sapphire crystal protruding from the case and providing a captivating view of the sophisticated mechanics of the movement. The crown is hugged by two discreet protectors, and the lugs are hollowed out. The water resistance is rated at 50 meters.
As a backdrop to the movement, two colour options are offered: cool tones of grey that create a subtle harmony with the white gold case and a bolder deep sapphire blue in a rose gold case. In both cases, the satin-brushed flange and index ring contrast with the matte grainé surface of the baseplate.
Turning the watch over, the exhibition caseback is secured by four screws, and a sapphire glass affords a view of the beautifully finished movement. In characteristic Lederer style, the crown wheel integrates three springs allowing for smooth winding and producing a pleasant “click” as their click slips past each tooth.
The Czapek Complicité comes on an alligator leather strap with a gold pin buckle. The watch is released in two limited editions of 50 pieces each. It will be priced at CHF 85,000.
Last but not least, an exceptional unique piece, the Place Vendôme Complicité, will be auctioned at Only Watch 2023. It is presented in steel (rather than the precious metals of the production models), and its dial is encircled by a champlevé enamel ring in the colours of Only Watch 2023.
For more information, please visit www.czapek.com.