Re-launched in 2015, the legendary Swiss watch brand Czapek & Cie presents its new line of haute-horlogerie collection this year as a tribute to Place Vendôme, the famous square in Paris where François Czapek, spiritus rector of the brand, opened a high end luxury watch boutique in the mid-nineteenth century.
Unveiled at this year’s edition of prestigious Basel Fair, the first line of watches in the collection features a one-minute suspended tourbillon. It comes together with a second time zone for today’s world travelers, a day/night disk, and a classic power reserve indicator.
Even with the new functionalities, lovers of the brand will easily recognize the watch’s unusual look with the two subdials at 7:30 and 4:30. On the Place Vendôme, a third has been added at 12 o’clock to display the time. The first series, which will come in a limited edition of ten pieces in platinum and fifteen in Rose Gold, was named “Lumières.” It refers to both the reflections flashing off the beveled edges of the bridges visible on dial side as well as to the Age of Enlightenment, which ultimately produced the tourbillon, the ultimate balance between science and mechanical poetry.
For the 2016 winners of the Public Prize of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the Place Vendôme goes further into channeling the spirit of François Czapek. The characteristic grand-feu enamel of the Quai des Bergues is still used for the dial, as are the fine “fleur de lys” hands pointing to sleek Roman numerals. They are now joined by an anthracite bead-blasted mainplate and suspended bridges of polished steel.
From a technical standpoint, the watch represents an evolution from the more staid, romantic Quai des Bergues. A day-night disc turning counterclockwise has inserted itself between the two subdials, which now carry the tourbillon on the left and the second time zone on the right. The power reserve indicator migrated and now peers out of the clock face at 12 o’clock.
The Place Vendôme “Lumières” is driven by the proprietary, manually wound SXH2 movement beating at 21,600 vph (3 Hz). The single barrel spring delivers a solid 60 hours of power. The 34.8-millimeter diameter is relatively large, but the height of 9.8 millimeters allows the watch to be discreet and elegant in spite of the many functions. The traditional satin-brushed bridges and open-worked ratchet are back again. In the back of the watch is an inscription: Tourbillon suspendu – Ici et Ailleurs.
Hours and minutes on separate dial located at 12 o’clock
One-minute Tourbillon located at 8 o’clock
Dragging second time zone on ring at 4 o’clock
• Day/night indicator located at 6 o’clock.
• Power reserve: Off centre disk, located at 12, 90° rotation, winding counter-clockwise
Caliber SXH2: haute horlogerie proprietary mechanical hand-wound movement developed by Chronode and Czapek & Cie
Power reserve: 60 hours with one barrel spring
Frequency: 3 Hz – 21,600 VpH
Diameter: 34.8 mm – 15 ½ lines
Height: 9.8 mm
Front: anthracite sand-blasted plate, steel bridges with sandblasting, circular graining, and polish
Tourbillon: polished, chamfered and with flanks drawn. One blue screw marks the seconds
Case back: open ratchet with circular bevelling, sand-blasted bridges, blue screws, manual chamfering
5N Rose Gold or platinum Pt950 case
43.5 mm diameter
Curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Sapphire crystal case back with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Water-resistance: 30 meters (3 atm)
“Grand feu” Enamel ring, steel polished bridges and sand-blasted plate
Hands: 5N Rose Gold “fleur de lys” hands
Alligator strap with 5N Rose Gold or platinum buckle
“Lumières” Edition Limited to 25 Numbered Pieces
• 10 Pieces in Platinum PT950; Numbered 1/10 TO 10/10
• 15 pieces in 5N Rose Gold; Numbered 1/15 TO 15/15
• CHF 99,000 in platinum PT950
• CHF 88,000 in 5N Rose Gold