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Czapek & Cie.  - The start of a landmark year

Czapek & Cie. The start of a landmark year

Baselworld provided an opportunity for Czapek & Cie. to present three reinterpretations of the Quai des Bergues collection. And it also gave us an excuse to talk about the company’s incredible fund-raising scheme.

Czapek, whose history began at the start of the 19th century, was reborn at the end of 2015 thanks to three passionate watch collectors and a crowdfunding initiative. The three entrepreneurs decided to give a hundred or so people the opportunity to be part of Czapek’s renaissance, by allowing them to invest in the company in return for preferential pricing on watches.

Czapek’s first fund-raising campaign, which ended in January during the SIHH, raised CHF 860,000. It was closely followed by a second campaign, which brought in a total of 1.1 million Swiss francs. In the context of Swiss participative funding, these figures are exceptional. Xavier de Roquemaurel, the company’s CEO, is delighted, because the total is 10% more than the goal the company initially set.

The fundraising campaign was conducted simultaneously in three countries – Switzerland, France and the UK – through the Raizers and Crowd for Angels crowdfunding platforms. As a result, the majority of the company’s new shareholders are Swiss, French, Polish, Czech and British, with some from Canada and China.

The watchmaker’s gamble has enabled it to raise the money it needed to fund a new in-house movement, as well as paying for a booth at Baselworld 2016. For its début appearance, the company presented three reinterpretations of its Quai des Bergues models.

Secret phrase
It’s the ultimate in customisation: a secret phrase is hidden on the dial, appearing only when the sun reflects off the watch face. The secret signature of François Czapek was universally admired the first time it was seen. Now, the company is offering to customise the timepiece by engraving specific words suggested by the client, in place of the Polish watchmaker’s secret phrase. The edition presented in Basel was therefore a prototype for the customisation that is possible today. This watch was made at the request of a client who wanted to send a personal message to his father, with a quotation from the late David Bowie. Hidden, but reappearing on demand, the phrase “We can be heroes for one day” gives a very personal meaning to this timepiece.

Secret sentence

Aiguilles Fleurs de Lys in BlackGold
The second reinterpretation of the Quai des Bergues collection is the No. 33, whose fleur de lys hands impart a sense of refinement and timeless elegance to the watch. The hands are produced using a unique process, carved individually using an ultra-fine tool, then polished and chamfered by hand. Available up to now only in 4N rose gold, the same watch now also comes in BlackGold or 18K black rhodiumised gold. This variation undoubtedly gives the watch a bold modern touch.

Aiguilles Fleurs de Lys en BlackGold

Titane DiamondBlack ADLC
Finally, the third reinterpretation has been applied to the No. 27, which now comes with an intense black ADLC (Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon) finish. PACVD (Plasma Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition) technology was applied in a vacuum to achieve the effect, making the coating chemically inert and stable over time.  It also absorbs certain wavelengths, thus creating a black effect while remaining transparent. The finer the coating, the more intense the black.

DiamondBlack ADLC

 

The brand

Czapek & Cie. harks back to the origins of one of the watch industry’s most prestigious names, which was born from the watchmaking skills of two Polish émigrés who sought refuge in Switzerland after Poland’s November uprising. 

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