As a brand, Czapek might be only six years old, with only 7-8 full-time employees, but that is a number that belies the range of what the watchmaker is offering. The foundation of its product line is the creations of the talented 19th-century watchmaker François Czapek, which co-founders Xavier de Roquemaurel, Harry Guhl, and Sébastein Follonier contemporise for the watch aficionados of today. As a result, all of the Czapek’s lines, including the Quai des Bergues (its 5N rose gold iteration No.33bis, inspired by the circa 1850 3430 Czapek & Cie pocket watch, won the ‘Public Prize’ at the 2016 Grand Prix d’horlogerie de Geneve), the Place Vendöme, the Faubourg de Cracovie, and the Antarctique Passage de Drake, all have distinct designs. Of these, the Antarctique Passage de Drake, a steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet born in 2020, is currently their most popular line. And now, there are two new additions to it – the Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue and Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon.
The new watches follow in the debut piece’s footsteps, albeit with new dial colours - a glacier blue and a salmon (limited to 99 pieces), a hue that has enjoyed quite some patronage in the recent past. The watches come in at 40.5mm, with a central hours, minutes and seconds hand, with a date window at 6 o’clock. The dials feature an exclusive trapezoid, stamped ‘Stairway to Eternity’ pattern. In the Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue, this is created via a PVD treatment, while in the Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon iteration, it is created with the help of a galvanic process. Czapek collaborated with Metalem to craft both. The watches' bracelets, with their ‘C’ shaped polished links, are adjustable thanks to a mechanism that was introduced in Decemeber 2021. The Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue and Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon follow 2021’s Antarctique Rattrapante Silver Grey, a skeleton 77-piece split-seconds watch, a milestone watch for Czapek.
The transparent caseback of the new watches reveals the in-house SXH5 automatic calibre with a more than 56-hour power reserve. The micro-rotor is made of recycled platinum 950 mass and the network of seven skeletonised bridges of its movement are inspired by 19th-century pocket watches and the Fauborg de Cracovie’s chronograph rotor, through which the gear train is clearly visible. The watch has screw-down crown and a water-resistance of 120 metres.
As always, to take things up a notch, the brand is offering customising services with these pieces as well. Buyers can choose between the Arabic numeral '12' or a double index at 12 o’clock. There is also the choice of the seconds hand; personalisation on the caseback; and a fully brushed metal bracelet with a complimentary strap in rubber or leather, that are being offered.
The watches are available online at czapek.com, and at authorised dealers.
All images: Courtesy Czapek