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Czapek - Exclusive: Czapek unveils a new Cracovie edition for L.A!

Czapek Exclusive: Czapek unveils a new Cracovie edition for L.A!

While worldwide travel is down, the imagination of watchmakers remains boundless. Today, Geneva-based Czapek unveils an ultra-limited edition that knows no frontiers.

It’s a watch that’s gone under the radar for many collectors. And by that very nature, it is highly sought-after. Today, Czapek is reissuing this watch—18 pieces in total, which will probably still not meet the demand. A totally atypical piece, which finds its origins in Krakow, transiting through Geneva and ending up in California. A watchmaking UFO! 

Exclusif : Czapek ouvre une ligne Cracovie – Los Angeles !

Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin © Czapek

3 x 12 = 18

There’s history and then context for that history. For California Dreamin’, the new creation by Czapek, there’s some context for the history that led to it: the decisions, acts and creations that preceded the official (re)launch of Czapek on 12 December 2012 (12.12.12). 

On this date, the brand Czapek Genève brand is unveiled. Xavier de Roquemaurel takes the helm. The Quai des Bergues watch is announced, production is launched and the first Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) prize will soon follow. The story has now been well documented. 

What many people don’t know is what happened before the famous 12.12.12. In order for “Czapek Genève” to see the light of day, there were pre-orders which allowed the team to raise a funds and gather an initial pool of collectors. This pre-order was for a piece that never officially saw the light of day: the “Czapek Design Study Chronograph”. There were only ten or so pieces. As its name suggests, the watch was primarily an “exercise in style” or “design study”. The piece was powered by a movement from the 70s and featured a so-called “California” dial, with Roman numerals on the upper half and Arabic numerals on the lower half. The movement in question was a hand-wound Valjoux 7733, still very recognisable by its central V-shaped bridge. 

Exclusif : Czapek ouvre une ligne Cracovie – Los Angeles !

Calibre SXH3 © Czapek

Krakow Dreamin’

Today, this mysterious piece is resurfacing. However, there is no longer any question of reproducing it in its original state, mainly for three reasons. The first: the initial series was strictly limited and could not be refurbished in its original state. The second: Czapek now has its own chronograph movement, the SXH3. Finally, the third reason: there is no need for a new “style study”, as the brand also has its own chronograph design, the “Krakow Suburb” collection. The new “California Dreamin” is therefore born from this beautiful story: inspired by the first model ever made by Czapek Genève, with its own movement, in-house design and in a limited edition. 

Neo vintage? 

The Faubourg de Cracovie “California Dreamin’” comes in the form of a classic tricompax chronograph, in a 41.5 mm steel case. The first distinct aspect that jumps out at you is its grained brass dial. It offers it a slightly rough, vintage-looking aesthetic. The three counters have a sunburst finish.

Exclusif : Czapek ouvre une ligne Cracovie – Los Angeles !

Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin © Czapek

The second distinctive feature is the “California” marking. Panerai is fond of it, with a very famous 1936 Radiomir model, but it is probably Rolex who invented it (Patent 221.643 from 1941). Some iterations can be found at Tudor, MAT Watches or Ralf Tech. Only, all of these watches are three hand models with hours, minutes, seconds. A California chronograph is extremely rare and this is what makes the singularity of this “California Dreamin’” by Czapek. 

Our verdict

Czapek Genève was launched less than 10 years ago. Based on this fairly young brand, we thought we knew almost everything already about it. Clearly, this is not the case. Bringing back this style of “pre-lauching” design study is a beautiful idea, bringing to light a model that almost nobody had ever heard of. 

The idea of the tricompax California is also brilliant: it is a rare object. And it will remain so: 18 copies is not much. And, as always at Czapek, the relevance of the price positioning is obvious: CHF 28,000. At this price, a piece from a 100% independent brand, with its own in-house movement, for such an original creation in a limited edition, is simply unrivalled on the market today.


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