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Historical Name Revived With Czapek & Cie Quai Des Bergues Watch

Historical Name Revived With Czapek & Cie Quai Des Bergues Watch Watch Releases

The names of Antoni Patek and Adrien Philippe are two of the most famous monikers in the horological world. Less known, although perhaps no less significant in the context of Patek Philippe’s genesis, is the name of François Czapek. A storied watchmaker whose legacy had all but faded from history, François Czapek is about to experience a renaissance with the release of the Czapek & Cie Quai des Bergues watch. But in an already crowded landscape, why does the reemergence of this historical brand mean anything to the industry? Maybe because without François Czapek, Patek Philippe may never have become the heavy-hitter it is today.

Historical Name Revived With Czapek & Cie Quai Des Bergues Watch Watch Releases

Born in 1811 in Bohemia, François Czapek (born Franciszek Czapek) was a master watchmaker whose six-year partnership with Antoni Patek between the years 1839-1845 produced some incredibly fine watches that are now featured in the collections of some of the world’s most serious watch aficionados. Operating under the name Patek & Czapek Co. (some sources list the company name as Patek, Czapek & Cie). Czapek took the role of head watchmaker, while Patek dealt with the sales. Their company produced around 200 watches a year. Following the dissolution of their partnership, Antoni Patek founded Patek & Co. (1845-1851) before eventually establishing Patek Philippe in 1851.

Historical Name Revived With Czapek & Cie Quai Des Bergues Watch Watch Releases

Czapek’s career was not over, however. Immediately after splitting from Patek, he founded Czapek & Cie with Juliusz Gruzewski, a confident of Napoleon III. Although the absence of his name today might suggest his company floundered and failed, it did exactly the opposite. He established himself as watchmaker to the court of Napoleon and his popularity and fame grew. He established an atelier in Geneva, owned one shop in Paris, and another in Warsaw.

Historical Name Revived With Czapek & Cie Quai Des Bergues Watch Watch Releases

And then mystery intervened. In 1869, the company changed hands. There is no documented reason as to why, but it is speculated that it had something to do with Czapek’s illness or death, the date of which remains unknown. Despite this, business clearly continued for some time after Czapek’s unexplained disappearance. We know this thanks to a surviving pocket watch dated 1876 and signed A. Chaillet, the new proprietor of the brand. In the years that followed, Napoleon’s deposition, deportation, and subsequent death led to the permanent transfer of Czapek’s business to Chaillet. It wasn’t until the name was revived in 2011 and moved to Neuchatel in Switzerland that the name of François Czapek emerged once more.

And now, we welcome the birth of a new/old brand! This iteration of Czapek’s creations is obviously worlds apart from the kind of thing he was producing more than 170 years ago, but it is interesting to see how this modern interpretation of his company’s principles stacks-up against its own distant past and the merits of its direct competitors today.

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Historical Name Revived With Czapek & Cie Quai Des Bergues Watch Watch Releases

The Czapek & Cie Quai des Bergues range is named after the street on which Czapek had his workshop. This revival project has been funded by private investment, secured by the company’s three directors. In order to raise enough capital to do their labour of love justice, they created a preceding, small-run chronograph utilising an historic calibre from the seventies. The C73 is a manual wind chronograph that powered the Czapek Design Study Chronograph, which was sold to a small circle of friends. Using these funds, the directors explored crowd funding as a further resource to propel the project towards fruition.

Historical Name Revived With Czapek & Cie Quai Des Bergues Watch Watch Releases

This extra capital enabled the brand to fit the Czapek & Cie Quai des Bergues watch with a proprietary movement called the SXH1. The SXH1 calibre is aesthetically faithful to the pocket watch movements used in 1850, but with all the benefits of modern engineering practices. The manually-wound calibre has 29 jewels, an operating speed of 21,600vph, and an excellent power reserve of 168 hours (or seven days, for those of us who can’t be bothered working that out).

Historical Name Revived With Czapek & Cie Quai Des Bergues Watch Watch Releases

The twin ratchet wheels are beautifully spoked with a snailed finish that is more noticeable on the intermediate winding wheel and crown wheel. This light-catching effect is a great contrast to the traditionally frosted bridges with polished bevelled edges, and an abundance of flat-headed, blued screws makes for a visual feast.

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  • iamcalledryan

    The old pocket watch looks amazing, and I really like the matte finishing on the new movement. Interesting take on the 7 day reserve indicator, but I don’t like being dictated to on the day of the week per state of winding – you lose some of the freedom that a 7 day movement is designed to give you!

  • Richard Baptist

    I love this watch! I love the white dial with the blued hands. It’s clean, the right size (or maybe a little larger than I would like), and different. The only thing I can’t work out is how does the day/power reserve work? I thought they were two independent hands but looking at the pictures it looks like a fixed double sided hand. So as you wind the watch and the power reserve changes, the day changes? That does not make sense – or do I have this wrong? Despite that an interesting watch. Now where is that 9k euro I had lying around?

    • DanW94

      I think the idea is that you fully wind the watch on Sunday and that corresponds to a full 7 day power reserve. Then you don’t have to wind again until the following Sunday. So if it’s a Wednesday, you can’t wind the watch to achieve a full 7 day power reserve because then it would change the day back to Sunday. Someone correct me if I’m wrong. Ryan essentially said the same thing below.

      • iamcalledryan

        Correct. Want to wear it on a Friday and find that it has run out of gas? Well you need to either wind it to about 15% of its full wind, or mess with the day display. Silly. It forces you to be a weekly winder, which is fine if you are organized and/or have a butler to handle those details!

        It is a historical nod though. The 7 day movement was specifically designed for a Sunday evening wind and a full week of fun ahead. But now we have autos, multi-watch collections, no-one wants to commit to have to wind or wear on any given sunday.

      • Shinytoys

        yes, more in keeping with the 8 Day Wind of finely made antique clocks.

  • Pronunciation guide please. “Zapek” “Sapek” “Chapek” ?

    • iamcalledryan

      Until they become more famous, I think any of those will do!

    • David Bredan

      Good point! Given the origin of the name, it is pronounced “Tsapek”

    • Talleyrand

      No it’s Tchapek… the Czech original has the “hazhek” over the C obviously ?apek … as in chapter

  • Marius

    I really like the recent fetisch for reviving long-gone brands. After Chronometrie Royal, Moinet, Angelus, that new Chopard revival, etc. it`s now time for Czapek. I mean, I`m sure people are saying:`Hey, do you remember those cool watches Czapek made, 300 years ago? Boy, I just wish somebody would revive that Brand and restart the production.` But, at least, the name is easy to pronounce and remember.

    • We’re almost in satire territory…

  • Dinkee, H. O.

    A superb and clever feature, this dual Day of the Week and 7 Day power indicator! Why haven’t more makers of hand-wound movements thought of this? So easy to use and set. When it’s Wednesday and the power is out because the watch was out of rotation all you need do is wind it up until Wednesday. And then on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday you’ll have the correct day of the week when you rewind it again! So if you leave it to run out, it is easy to set again! Brilliant for we with thirty or so Rolex, PP’s, VC’s, AP’s, Journe, Lange — all in rare and exclusive references! — who want an easy pick up wind and wear “something different”. An impulse buy that won’t bite!

  • Shinytoys

    What an elegant time piece. The details in the movement are superior. Glad to see the return of the marque. Well done Rob Nudds.

  • WINKS

    Rob, I believe it’s Antoine rather than Antoni as far as Mr. Patek’s first name is concerned.

    • Maciej We?yczko

      Antoni is right name – Patek was a Polish noble. His full name was: Antoni Norbert Patek

  • AKDISQUS

    10K no movement finish, leather strap, no water resistance, not automatic, not even high beat and printed dial. This is Geneva indeed.

    • iamcalledryan

      Correct, it is not a diver or a chronometer or a sports watch.

    • Berndt Norten

      your last line was funny, Skeletor, and it almost excuses you for the silliness before. I find the dial ok but the case back is rather attractive. Nothing Grand Seiko makes approaches this.

    • MEddie90

      No movement finish? I mean sure its no crazy finish but its an even and consistent frosting/eggshell with some pretty nice angles. Theres more to finish than Geneva stripes and perlage and given finish on the historical watch its based off i’d say its an appropriate nod to the company’s (admittedly rather tenuous) heritage.

      At this point i’m pretty sure you’re a troll, complaining about a classically inspired dress watch having a leather strap and not being automatic is not something even an idiot would do.

      • AKDISQUS
        • MEddie90

          Same accuracy? any info to back that up? As for nicer finish…. yep, you’re definitely not serious.

          • AKDISQUS

            In-house movement for a 100$ watch. Go read any review of orient watches. Everyone amazed by the quality of the watch being so cheap. At this modern age, buying yourself an overpriced swiss watch is like punishing yourself for being ignorant.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0gYsEHpVJg

          • MEddie90

            I can appreciate an orient, a bambino is a regular wear of mine and its a darn well made watch for the price. Doesn’t change the fact that you have no basis to compare accuracy of the pieces and to put orients utilitarian/industrial finishing on par with this watch is ridiculous.

          • AKDISQUS

            Why I have no basis? Both tell time, both are inaccurate with certain degree. The difference is price. What you mean by utilitarian/industrial finishing? They are all industrial designs since more than 1 being made in exact copy. If you mean bambino finish is by machine, then you are correct but so is this overpriced watch. I just don’t see any particular tangible reason why this watch is much more expensive.

  • Arnold and Son wants their hands back. Really, I at first thought this was another brand from them. Nice looking and not a stupid crazy price (in steel).

    • iamcalledryan

      I thought the same thing – nothing wrong with Breguet hands, especially when that was the weapon of choice for their pocket watches.

  • wallydog2

    Beautiful watch, but if I had my ‘druthers, I wouldn’t squash out the IV, V, VII, and VIII

    • And then you could make the VI right side up too.

      • wallydog2

        Zoot alors*! It gets worse!
        *I think that means “holy crap” in French, but don’t quote me.

  • Josh Graves

    Not bad. Right when you think the watch market cannot be more saturated with resurrected companies, out comes another. Fortunately they are keeping their senses together and are not charging an absolute fortune.

  • John F

    A couple of marketing specialists buy the brands linked to Patek to make a new company from scratch: this is the parasite thing I hate in the Luxury field

  • Crowdfunding a $15,000 watch? That sounds like a good investment.