Czapek & Cie A week on the wrist: Place Vendôme Tourbillon
A short test drive of Czapek & Cie's first tourbillon.
Even for someone who gets to try out a lot of different watches, switching from my everyday diver’s watch to the Czapek & Cie. Place Vendôme tourbillon was something of an occasion. I got a feeling of warmth from the rose-gold case and rich brown alligator strap, especially compared with the all-steel practicality of my usual wrist companion. And I quickly got used to wearing it and had to remind myself on several occasions that it costs well over twenty times the price of my own watch and that it was thus better to take if off for some activities where I would normally keep the diver’s watch on my wrist. A precious gold case and a tourbillon deserve respect, after all.
Place Vendôme Tourbillon © Czapek & Cie
The introduction of a tourbillon into the Czapek & Cie. collection necessitated a reconfiguration of the dial, but the brand managed to keep the familiar symmetry of the counters at 4.30 and 7.30. Instead of a combined power reserve/week day indicator at 4.30 there is the second time zone indicator. My eyes were, however, inevitably drawn towards the tourbillon beating away on the left-hand side in the 7.30 position. The relatively large aperture affords a clear view of the rotation, with even the escape wheel clearly visible. The tourbillon carriage is suspended from above by a fine bevelled triangular bridge, which is mirrored on the dual time-zone scale (read over 12 hours) with a blue-tip indicating the corresponding hour. Although the tourbillon is captivating in itself, there are many other details to discover on the dial, including a day/night disc at 6 o'clock between the two scales that acts as an additional handy reference and a subsidiary dial with grand feu enamel scale for the hours and minutes at 12 o’clock that integrates a power reserve indication in the bottom half (showing “Max” when fully wound with 60 hours of power reserve).
On the wrist the Place Vendôme tourbillon is imposing but not heavy. Its comfortable lines wrap neatly around the contours of the wrist and give a sensation of security that matches with the fine quality of the timepiece. But this is also a watch that you need to take off from time to time simply to marvel at the view from the back, with the manually-wound movement visible through the transparent sapphire crystal case back with an exquisite finishing in a sandblasted grey sheen that matches that seen on the dial side and adds a contemporary look to the movement that was developed in conjunction with Chronode.
Le Calibre SXH2 © Czapek & Cie
The Place Vendôme is a limited edition of 25 numbered pieces, 15 in platinum Pt950 at a retail price of CHF 105,000, of which just a third are still available (numbers 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15) and 10 in 18-carat rose gold priced at CHF 92,500, of which half are still available (numbers 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10). The watch is fitted with an alligator strap with 5N rose gold or platinum buckle and purchasers can choose a personal engraving for the case back. Czapek & Cie. also offers additional personalisation options as part of its “bespoke” programme, like the Acanthus leave engraving by artist Michèle Rothen Rebetez (read article)
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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