Czapek - Czapek , QUAI DES BERGUES COLLECTION
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
Czapek - Czapek , QUAI DES BERGUES COLLECTION

Czapek , QUAI DES BERGUES COLLECTION

Czapek
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24'200 €

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Czapek , QUAI DES BERGUES COLLECTION

Czapek & Cie is the first Haute Horlogerie watch brand, which was re-established by watch lovers around the world thanks to an international crowdfunding campaign. The aim of the current ‘Czapek Team’ was to share with fellow watch lovers the incredible chance to restore his name to its rightful historic place and pave its way to a remarkable future in Haute Horlogerie.

 

To remain true to François Czapek style, they meticulously analysed a large sampling of historical pieces, searching the answer to that question: What is the "Czapek style"? In a nutshell, the evidence is in the magnificent pocket watch bearing the reference number 3430 and made in Geneva by Czapek & Cie around 1850. And it does ‘: The search for Beauty through time measurement. Czapek not only steeped his timepieces in his chronometric science, but he also gave them a special aesthetic aura, one that was true to his identity.

 

The first collection of timepieces to feature in the revival of Czapek & Cie is called 'Quai des Bergues'. It is a tribute to the first Ateliers and to this Promenade which was then the epicentre of the Genevan ‘Art de vivre’. Indeed, at its height, François Czapek earned himself the title Horloger de Son Altesse Impériale le Prince Napoléon III and then opened a store in Paris, on Place Vendôme to be precise – it may even have been the first time a watchmaker set up shop on this spot.

 

The 2016 ‘Quai des Bergues’ collection is made up of eight references spanning different materials platinum, white or rose gold, titanium or even a secret stainless steel called “XO”. The grand-feu enamel dial with its secret signature is a key element of this collection. Its ‘bombé’ shape, true to the origins, is obtained by capillarity and creates unique effect of depth. The 0.35-millimetre thick "fleur-de-lys" hand in 18-karat gold is a totally reinvented craft. Many of François Czapek's watches feature very finely carved hands… a craft that has been lost to watchmaking… but was rediscovered by the Czapek team and achieved with a tool with a radius of 0.1 millimeters.

 

But it’s not all about ancient know-how… How about a dial with a groove like that of a vinyl LP…? Made of a single extremely thin carbon thread wound on itself, the carbon dial of the Grade 5 titanium model pushes the limits of thinness (0.43 millimetre). Another challenge gave rise to another innovative solution: How could one create a titanium crown protector that did not disrupt the elegance of the fine design of the new titanium case. The answer was simple: Integrate it inside the case. This idea gave birth to a "revolution" case inspired from the mathematics of George Boole…

 

Premiere for a material in watchmaking: the "XO" steel features the highest resistance to corrosion. Historically, watchmaking, with its tendency towards small-volume production, is not really the industry in which new materials are discovered. And so watchmakers have developed an insatiable curiosity to bring materials borrowed from other industrial sectors to the exercise of their art.

In tune with this adventurous spirit and of multidisciplinary consciousness, the new guardians of the Czapek name rediscovered a form of steel that has never before been used in watchmaking. It was made almost a century ago. It's tougher to machine, but it does have some key traits making it perfect for watchcases. It is extremely resistant to corrosion, particularly in acidic environments and the most challenging seawater, like the North Sea.

 

Finally, the Quai des Bergues collection heralds the birth of the SXH1 calibre, the first in a family of movements developed specifically for Czapek watches according to the strictest rules of the watchmaking art. It was conceived in cooperation with Jean-François Mojon, who heads the Le Locle company Chronode. The calibre's architecture is inspired from an historical calibre conceived and manufactured by François Czapek in the 1850's.

 

The collection is available by subscription in Spring 2016, then in the Boutique from November 2016 on.

 

Technical specifications

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS – GOLD MODELS

 

CASE

Machined case in 4N rose gold or white gold

Sapphire crystal case back with antireflective treatment on the inside surface

Water-resistant to 30 metres (3 atm)

 

DIAMETER 42.5 mm

 

MOVEMENT

Czapek SXH1 calibre, manual winding proprietary movement 

Power reserve of 168 hours (7 days) on two barrel springs

Finish: open ratchets, sandblasted bridges, blued screws, bevelling

 

FUNCTIONS

Hours, minutes, seconds

Second subdial at 7:30

Power reserve and weekdays on subdial at 4:30

 

DIAL

« Grand Feu » enamel dial with « bombé » shape and secret signature

Czapek Roman numerals

 

HANDS

Blued steel hands or Rose gold Fleurs de Lys Hands

 

BRACELET

Black, brown, nuts, grey or blue alligator strap

4N rose gold or white gold buckle, depending on the case material

 

Who's who

“You look like a nice guy, so I agree that we meet but my objective will be to convince you not to do it! “ These were the first words Xavier de Roquemaurel recalls about Laurent with a smile. “We were in 2013, and this was the beginning of a unique relationship.” Xavier was in his first year of preparing Czapek’s relaunch with Harry Guhl and Sebastien Follonier the watchmaker. He was full of energy but also very conscious of his limitations. “I had had the chance to loose my job (yes it can be a chance but it takes time to see it like this) and was feeling very impressed to be here with Laurent. We met, various times, and he became one of the most critical brand advisors out of the 12 people that we selected for that task.” Hopefully Laurent did not convince Xavier to give up. 

 

Yet the mission of the Czapek team was nearly impossible: the specifications of reviving François Czapek were unmatchable, the business was over crowded and mature, the resources were scarce, the business model seemed unrealistic… these ‘conversations’ turned out to become an incredible melting pot of high end watchmaking experiences… “An extraordinary watch has to do two things at the same time, it has to strike the newbie, who will be impressed by its beauty without understanding its mechanical dimension, and at the same time it has to fascinate the connoisseur who will look at it with a loupe, and smile silently.” Xavier was eager to learn, and these words from Laurent resonated in his mind. He would work and rework with the team every design, every detail, every aspect of their plan until getting to the perfection. “They wanted to achieve something impossible: launch a brand with half a million, raise a million in crowd funding, and sell in the first year 250 watches at the peak of the worse crisis in the industry. This boldness was unique. After two years, they came with the first models, the Quai des Bergues in gold and in titanium. The gold models were beautiful. The level of execution was way above any of the 3D renders we are used to see” recounts Laurent. One element behind these successful first steps is the collaborative approach that the Czapek team follows. They welcome problems and sit together with their suppliers until inventing a solution, which then becomes an innovation. “We try to free the people we work with to help them give the best they can” admits Xavier. “Alone we can’t do much, and our vision is to remain true to the style of the initial founder, François Czapek… so we need the contribution of each stakeholder.” The 21st-century Quai des Bergues does not imitate the past, though. It was carefully designed as though François Czapek had continued working to this day. On November 2, 2015, eight days precisely before launching the brand, the two men were seated in one of their favourite spot in the rue Saint Honoré, sharing a legendary Croque Monsieur at lunch, and Laurent concluded this new chapter in the history of Czapek with a simple “let’s do it!”. In the end it’s all about people and passion… The next chapter is now in 2016 with the subscription in the spring and the first watches available in the fall...

 
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