Hands-on: Three New Czapek Antarctique Watches

Czapek impresses with three new three-handed Antarctique models.


For 2023, Czapek released three new novelties that we got to go hands-on with at Watches & Wonders Geneva (sadly, the Antarctique chronograph wasn’t available at the time). Czapek were kind enough to organise a meeting for me during the show, so we figured we’d repay that by waiting for the fuss from all the other brands to die down before talking about them, the ol’ catch them while they’re napping trick.

Czapek has a cult following in the world of luxury watches. They’re an old name which, like most, was around a while ago and then disappeared into the history books until they were revived by Xavier de Roquemaurel in 2015. The Czapek name goes back to the early 19th century, when Franciszek Czapek worked alongside Antoni Patek (yes, that Patek), making watches under the name Patek, Czapek & Cie from 1839 to 1845. After the dissolution of that company, Patek went off with Adrien Philippe to make Patek Philippe, while Czapek worked alongside Juliusz Gruzewski and was very successful, becoming a purveyor to the imperial court. The name disappeared for unknown reasons around the mid 1860s and stayed dormant for over a century. In 2023, Czapek launched some new novelties into its Antarctique line, which is their interpretation of the integrated bracelet smart/casual sports watch category. 

The first watch we’ll look at, the Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector, was probably my favourite of the new novelties. Sitting at 40.5mm x 10.6mm, this titanium watch wears beautifully on the wrist thanks to its elegant bracelet and neat proportions. In fact, neat could be used to describe the entire watch, because that’s what this is. It’s inoffensive, but that doesn’t also mean it lacks character. The grey dial might seem like something and nothing at first, but the tasteful details, such as the reversed hour indicators, are a neat touch which keeps this watch unfussy. Using the gaps between the applied metal strips is innovative, and I can’t imagine this dial working at all with anything else. There are also touches of red in there, and I appreciate the refusal to put a date window on there, although it could feasibly take one.

Inside the watch and on display through the caseback is the calibre SXH5, which is made in-house by the team at Czapek. It’s got a lovely layout this movement, with dark-finished and semi-skeletonised bridges and cocks suspending the golden wheels and escapement. Silver wheels and a micro-rotor class the joint up too, but it’s the empty space which creates a level of depth that impresses the most. For some reason, this movement reminds me of those from Schwarz Etienne. I’m not sure why, though. In terms of specs, this movement runs at 4Hz for 60 hours in total. Czapek will be making 100 of these annually, and they’re priced at CHF 32,000 and come with a rubber or leather strap as well.

“Now, Harlan, that’s a great-looking watch, but I find the grey dial to be a little too plain for me”, no worries, Czapek’s got you covered with their second release, the Antarctique S Sashiko. Sashiko is a type of stitching from Japan with overlapping shapes that Czapek have recreated on the dial of the Antarctique S, with different colourations this dial plays with light in all the right ways. In this case, the overlapping shapes recreate the look of a lotus flower. If blue isn’t to your liking, there is a pink version too, and Czapek can replace the applied steel indices with a diamond specially cut for them by London-based studio Fuzion Ltd. This watch, in stainless steel, measures 38.5mm across and 10.6mm high, but it still has a quick change strap system like the watch above and the in-house SXH5 calibre in the back. Before tax, the price is CHF 24,000, or CHF 28,000 with diamonds, only 99 pieces of each dial colour will be made.

Today’s final piece is the Antarctique Révélation, a futuristic take on the Antarctique collection thanks to that skeletonised dial. As with the SXH5 calibre above, where depth was the keyword, the same can be said for the Révélation. It’s understandable, really, as the SXH5 is present here, but as it’s had nearly all of its plates cut away to make the skeletonisation work, it’s now called the SXH7. It took Czapek three years to design this movement, which isn’t a surprise as when you remove all the plates you need to consider structural rigidity as well as aesthetics, all of the movement is on display now. It still has a 4Hz beat rate and a power reserve of around 60 hours from its single barrel. Despite all that technical stuff being on display, it’s very readable for a skeletonised watch, and the sword hands are very obvious on the dial. The case is 40.5mm x 10.6mm but made of stainless steel, so it has some heft. It comes with a steel bracelet, and a rubber or leather strap is thrown in too. Limited to 100 watches per year, the price is CHF 38,000.