New brand Czapek is back
A new lease on life for the watchmaker of Napoleon III.
A resolutely avant-garde 19th century brand, Czapek is being revived by three passionate devotees, complete with powerful technical content and an unusual marketing concept.
170 years after the creation of Czapek & Cie, Czapek is reborn on November 10th 2015. The enthusiasts behind this promising initiative have chosen WorldTempus to announce today’s official launch.
Fans of watchmaking history will doubtless have recognised in the name Czapek the first associate of Patek. The two Polish exiles sought refuge in Geneva in the 1830s and jointly created the company Patek, Czapek & Cie in 1839. The contract they signed stipulated an initial six-year phase of cooperation, during which several hundred watches were produced, most of them bespoke creations for various European courts. Some of these models are indeed exhibited in the Patek Philippe Museum. In 1845, the two men decided to go their separate ways, each with a new associate. Czapek & Cie was founded on May 1st 1845 and proved extremely successful with a workshop in Geneva (first on the Quai des Bergues and later at 175 Rue du Rhône), boutiques in Paris (one of the first on the Place Vendôme!) and in Warsaw, official status as watchmaker to the court of Emperor Napoleon III, and the publication of the very first watchmaking book in Polish. François Czapek unfortunately died before completing the second volume.
From historical wealth to technical accomplishment
Will Xavier de Roquemaurel (CEO) and Harry Guhl publish it with their anonymous associate after reviving the brand? The three founders have been working on their project since 2008, when the brand name was registered after having been previously abandoned. Having decided to pay tribute to this exceptional watchmaker, François Czapek, they drew inspiration from his 1850 twin-aperture pocket watch featuring a forged iron hand between 4 and 5 o’clock cleverly indicating both days of the week and the 7-day power reserve, while echoing the small seconds subdial between 7 and 8 o’clock.
For this contemporary version, the exclusive calibre developed by Chronode picks up the same attributes, attractively displayed on a Grand Feu enamel dial crafted by Donzé Cadrans. Pushing the concept of horizontal production to its ultimate limits, Czapek works with the finest artisans: Lab for the complex yet refined case, HMW Waeber for the stylised hands and Camille Fournet for the straps, while the design work is done by Neo-Desis, a firm known to collectors for the Tourbillon 24 secondes by Greubel Forsey as well as Harry Winston’s Opus 6 and 8 models.
Loyal to the spirit of the original timepiece with its elegant and authentic personality, the result is interpreted in an initial “Quai des Bergues” collection (a nod to the original workshops) composed of six models, all powered by the seven-day calibre developed with Jean-François Mojon. A prestigious version in pink or white gold with a Grand Feu enamel dial comes with a CHF 25,000 price tag; while a sportier titanium and steel version (retailing at between nine and ten thousand francs) features a highly innovative “vinyl” carbon dial: its 0.4mm wire-wound (single spool) carbon ring is as light as it is sturdy. Supplied by the Swiss steel specialist Montanstahl, the stainless steel of the case itself also makes an exclusive first appearance in the watch industry. And the innovation does not stop there…
Why buy the watch if you can buy the brand?
Keeping close track of the times and of their kopecks, the Czapek founders have also adopted an original crowdfunding equity growth concept regulated by the Swiss financial market supervisory authority (FINMA). The system enables Czapek to build up a worldwide circle of shareholders, as well as offering collectors from around the world the chance to acquire a stake in the capital of a brand whose destiny they will be able to influence, as well as the possibility of acquiring watches at preferential rates. To complement the distribution of this production slated to reach less than 1,000 timepieces per year (and only 250 during the first year), Czapek will entrust the brand to one retailer per country. Two other collections are already in the pipeline for the next three years. The resolutely functional first models will be given their first public preview today in Geneva at the Flower Clock (La Potinière) and subsequently at the Belles Montres watch show in Paris as well as back in Geneva during the SIHH in mid-January, at the Hôtel… des Bergues. Where else?
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.Find out more >
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