By Harlan Chapman-Green

Czapek… Patek… Can you find any similarities there? I know I can and that’s actually not very surprising because the two are closer linked than you might imagine. They even say that without the work of a man named Francois Czapek, there would be no Patek. I’ll be honest there would most likely be a Patek Philippe anyway, but it might have folded quietly with the quartz revolution or if it had survived might be making watches which sell for similar prices to Frederique Constant. Not to put down Frederique Constant in any way, their watches are fine pieces, but I am glad that Patek Philippe is where it is today.

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Czapek pocket watch reference 3430 – 1850

 

Master watchmaker Franciszek Czapek (whom later became known as Francois Czapek) was born in Bohemia, Czech Republic in 1811. Antoni Patek noticed his technical brilliance and formed a 6-year long collaboration which spanned from 1839 to 1845. For this duration of time, the company was known as Patek & Czapek Co. with Francois becoming appointed the role of head watchmaker within the company while Antoni Patek covered the public relations department. This company made around 200 watches a year, some of which still survive today and can be found in private collections. When the collaboration between the two ended the company became known as Patek & Co. for a further 6 years until the name Patek Philippe was introduced, the name has stuck ever since.

Once Czapek left the Patek company, he founded his own watch with a man named Juliusz Gruzewski who had a connection to the Royal Court of Napoleon. Czapek watches became the official watchmaker to the court of Napoleon himself, a title previously attributed to the likes of L.Leroy and Breguet, it was a very high honour indeed! Czapek’s company had a manufacture in Geneva with two boutiques, one in Paris and another in Warsaw (if you read my articles about the Faberge Agathon watches you’ll remember that at this point in time the people from that area of the world loved French design and architecture).

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The reason the company disappeared around the 1870’s mark is still a complete mystery to this day as no one kept any documents. However, it is believed that Francois Czapek died around this period in time as the watches started being signed A. Chaillet.

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The company was eventually revived in 2011 and operations were moved to Neuchatel in Switzerland. This new watch is named after the street where the Czapek watch workshop was located. It took them a lot of research and crowdfunding to complete this watch, but the Quai des Bergues watch really is a marvel and the movement is no exception.

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By using the traditional designs of Czapek pocket watch movements combined with the benefits of modern technologies, the SXH1 calibre was born. Due to it’s design, it’s not only inherently beautiful, partly thanks to being completely uncluttered by an automatic winding system, the movement is also relatively practical by offering a full week or power.

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The watch is offered in rose gold, white gold, titanium or XO steel, a highly corrosive resistant form of steel. Choosing the gold version not only gets you a feast for the eyes, but also tiny touches such as the Fleur de Lis tipped hands.

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Another touch I like on the dial is the day of the week indicator. So as not to be asymmetrical, and, therefore, intrusive, with the design, the date indicator is a round subdial which shows the number of the day of the week and the name of the day in French.

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Depending on the choice of metal, the dials come in either black or white, both are designed to contrast harmoniously with the 42.5mm case. The watch will cost €9950 for XO steel, €14,900 for titanium €24,300 for rose gold and €24,900 for white gold. For more info, please visit czapek.com

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Technical information

FUNCTIONS

  • Hours, Minutes & Seconds
  • Small second at 7h30
  • Power reserve indication / Day of the week at 4h30

MOVEMENT

  • Calibre SHX1: mechanical movement haute horlogerie, developed by Chronode
  • Hand-winding movement
  • 168 hours power reserve on 2 barrel springs
  • 3 Hz frequency – 21,600 VpH
  • Diameter 32 mm – 14 lines ¾
  • Thickness 4.75 mm

Finish: double open ratchets, sandblasted, bridges, blue screws, bevelling

CASE & BRACELET

  • Pink gold 4N
  • Grade 5 titanium case
  • White gold case
  • « XO » steel case, anti-corrosion steel, exclusive Czapek
  • 42.5 mm of external diameter
  • 36.40 mm open diameter
  • Curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
  • Sapphire curved case back with anti-reflective treatment
  • 3 Atm of water – resistance
  • Alligator strap – pink gold buckle
  • Alligator strap – grade 5 titanium buckle
  • Alligator strap – « XO » steel buckle

DIAL

  • « Grand feu » enamel dial
  • Extended roman numerals, symbol of the Czapek elegance
  • Brass base covered with 0.15 unidirectional carbon and 0.4 mm wound carbon, exclusive Czapek
  • White & natural dial and brushed steel coloured ring

HANDS

  • Polished blued steel hands
  • “fleur de lys” hands in pink gold 4N
  • Black oxidized hands superluminova for hours and minutes

BOX

  • Ebony lacquered wood, interior in leather
  • Dimension (mm): 320*180*40

bio

HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN – CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

A keen bass guitar player, Harlan enjoys all the perks modern watchmaking technologies the industry has to offer. Although you might catch him sampling Omegas or the odd Rolex, Harlan loves all things Haute Horology, with his three favourite brands being Breguet, A.Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin. He hopes to study timekeeping more in depth someday and will never be able to thank his father enough for introducing him to the industry. You can follow him on Instagram Read his articles here