While the brand may be best known for traditional styling and immaculate movement work, Czapek & Cie has become the latest brand to enter the ring with a stainless steel integrated bracelet sports watch line. This new series, the limited edition Czapek & Cie Antarctique, combines the brand’s artisanal movement making work with a sharp, characterful take on the integrated bracelet genre that expands the line far beyond Czapek & Cie’s usual niche.
The Czapek & Cie Antarctique starts with a 40.5 mm stainless steel case that blends clean and geometric forms with a slightly rounded profile, adding a touch of warmth to an otherwise potentially mechanistic and sterile design. The overall form sits at 10.6 mm thick including a box sapphire crystal, with a profile that maintains a touch of sporty heft. While the overall case shape should be familiar to enthusiasts, the small details here set the Antarctique apart from its competitors. The overall brushed finish of the case is wide and aggressive for an industrial feel, while the distinctive wide crown guards flanked by deep notches in the case sides break up the case profile even further while creating a visual hallmark for the design. The sapphire display caseback adds a further calling card in the form of Czapek & Cie’s decorated in-house movement, while still maintaining a sporting 120 meters of water resistance.
Czapek & Cie offers the Antarctique series with five different dial options, all based around the same central design tenets. These include a set of sword-tipped paddle hands along with razor sharp applied stainless steel indices. From here, the five models diverge. The Czapek & Cie Antarctique Terre Adélie series includes four different dial color options, all finished with a deep and aggressive vertical brushed pattern. Colors for the Terre Adélie include a deep burgundy red, ocean blue, classic black, and a dramatic steel gray called “Secret Alloy” by the brand. For those with more adventurous tastes, there’s the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Orion Nebula. This unique hand varnished dial treatment features swirls of dramatic reds, blues, whites, and blacks in a cosmic pattern inspired by the famous celestial body. In order to maximize the punch of this particular finish, Czapek & Cie removes the applied baton indices and minutes track in favor of minimalist applied dots at each hour. While this limits the Orion Nebula’s usefulness as an actual sports watch, it’s difficult to deny the striking impact of this dial finish.
The in-house SHX5 automatic movement inside the Czapek & Cie Antarctique is every bit as striking, with a delicate latticework of seven bridges and a microrotor designed to give the most complete view of the gear train possible through the display caseback. Every component of the movement except for gold elements is entirely Swiss made, with the vast majority of parts exclusive to the brand. In terms of performance, Czapek & Cie claims a 56 hour power reserve and a 28,800 bph beat rate.
The bracelet itself is a key component of any integrated bracelet watch design, and it’s here that Czapek & Cie makes its most aggressive choices with the Antarctique. The unique look, with its prominent C-shaped polished center links, certainly differentiates it at a glance from other watches in the category, but it’s a love it or hate it detail that is sure to divide enthusiast opinions. The optional black rubber and calf leather straps are hardly less divisive, with the lone polished C-shaped link integrated into the case creating a slightly inelegant transition between strap and case with an abrupt visual break.
With the Antarctique series, Czapek & Cie has taken a major step outside of its usual niche of traditionally styled haute horlogerie into the white-hot field of integrated bracelet sports watches, offering a handsome design with a fair helping of the brand’s own character. Only 99 total examples of the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Terre Adélie will be made, available exclusively through the brand’s online subscription service until July 15, 2020. MSRP for the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Terre Adélie stands at $18,900. The Czapek & Cie Antarctique Orion Nebula will be even rarer, limited to only 10 units at a price of $20,000. For more information, visit the brand’s website.