Anyone who’s been with us for a while now, will know that I have a soft spot for Czapek & Cie. I just love the whole idea and community driven aspect of the brand. Czapek had a wide range of watches to present at SIHH and Baselworld this year, and this one had my attention in more ways than one. It features a ‘simple’ stainless steel case, amps up the volume with a handcrafted ‘panda’ enamel dial, those typical Fleur de Lys hands that you find on Czapek, and to finish things of it is of course a Certified Chronometer (COSC).
If you are not familiar with Czapek & Cie yet, do yourself a favour and read our past coverage of them right here. It is a gem hidden in plain sight of the watch industry.
For a few Baselworld releases Czapek & Cie decided to look further into the art of enamelling as a way to extend the aesthetic range of some existing models. “Enamel is durable and it renders colour with a special feeling of depth,” says CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel. “So we decided to tap into our partnerships with Donzé Cadrans and Metalem to create new dials for present and future owners and to pay tribute to our concept of horizontal manufacturing.” Mind you, enameling is as beautiful as it is a pain to get just right, so it is a real treat to see the brand move into this often feared territory.
“The brilliant Grand-Feu white dial harmonises well with the keenedged 42.5-millimeter steel case. It gives the watch a natural lightness and clarity.” Worth a mention is that the black subdials are indeed also enamel, pretty much the toughest enamel colour to get just right because any flaw will be highly visible. Czapek also has its stereotypical hidden signature at 9 o’clock by the way, looks like it was hidden great as I didn’t manage to capture it under the Baselworld lighting..
The watch features the Caliber SXH3, a Haute Horlogerie integrated automatic
Chronograph movement with a bespoke execution featuring a power reserve of 65hours. Very El Primero-Like it beats at a frequency of 5 Hz – 36’000 VpH
Also, notice the Golden Occiliating weight with Czapek logo and the finely sandblasted & diamond polished anthracite bridges and the snailed trottoirs.
The result is the Faubourg de Cracovie Tao, an unprecedented black
and white Grand-Feu enamel “panda” watch. “The two subdials at 9 and 3 o’clock have been slightly sunken into the striking white dial and appear in shiny black, like the eyes of a panda – the famous analogy used to describe such chronographs. The subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock has remained white, with the date almost incorporated creating a kind of mouth for the panda. Finally, the 12 in Roman numeral is still red as a focal point of the watch. It’s where everything begins.”
“These impulses have come from the owners and members of the company,” de Roquemaurel points out. “Together with our manufacturing partners we are engaged in an extraordinary adventure to unleash all the potential of Czapek, whose spiritus rector and original founder, François Czapek, was an outstandingly creative watchmaker.”
The case is just as impressive. Its stainless steel, and has some insanely gorgeous lines for both the case and the pushers. A lot of thought went into that design and balances superbly with the overall look of the dial. The crown guards are also pushers and notice how nice and comfy the lugs taper down for a great fit on the wrist.
Cheers to the #watchfam!