February 8, 2022
Since its introduction in 2020, the Czapek & Cie Antarctique series has grown into a robust dark horse contender in the white-hot field of integrated bracelet sports watches. With its unique bracelet design, dynamic dial finishing, intricate in-house movement, and charismatic blend of sharp angles and soft details, the Antarctique series has earned no small amount of enthusiast acclaim, particularly after the 2021 introduction of the revised Passage de Drake sub-line. For 2022, the brand doubles down on this popular concept with a pair of new dial options, adding distinct new personalities to the refined base design. The new Czapek & Cie Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue and the limited edition Czapek & Cie Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon offer vibrant, eye-catching new dial colorways, giving this elegantly restrained design a more playful character.
Both the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue and the Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon share the same 40.5mm stainless steel case design as the rest of the Antarctique series. At first glance, this is one of the simplest cases in the current crop of integrated bracelet steel sports watches, but this sleek form carries a wealth of charisma in the fine details. The overall silhouette is clean and planar, dominated by sharp unchamfered edges and broad brushed surfaces. At 10.6mm-thick, this is not a particularly deep case, but Czapek & Cie visually slims the watch down further in images with a harsh, almost brutalist rectangular case side cutout. On top of this aggressive angular form, however, the brand adds layers of warmer, more luxurious detail. For example, the curving sweep of the slim crown guards at 3 o’clock and the oversized signed crown itself add a softer touch in images, while the subtle compound curve of the outer case side edges gives this sharply defined form a slightly more curvaceous, organic look. In keeping with the sporting ethos of the series, both new models also offer a solid 120 meters of water resistance.
For the dials of the Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue and the Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon, Czapek & Cie adds new colors to the series’ geometric stamped dial design. The dynamic “Stairway to Eternity” trapezoidal texture remains intact, creating a dramatic series of highlights and shadows in images with a rich semimatte finish. Although the pointed paddle handset and bold red-tipped seconds hand are carried over from previous iterations of the Antarctique Passage de Drake, the applied indices are substantially reworked for these new variants. The overall wedge-like shape of these indices remains similar, but the pointed tips are far more pronounced with a broader polished bevel. In addition, the applied Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock have been replaced with double indices, and there is a new partial index flanking the dial-matching date window at 6 o’clock (for those that prefer the look of the Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock, Czapek & Cie offers these as an option). Of course, the largest departure from previous models in the series comes in terms of color. For the Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue, the brand uses a suitably icy pale blue PVD coating, which gives the watch a livelier and less self-serious character in images than more commonplace navy blue finishes. As the name suggests, the Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon instead opts for a salmon dial hue, but the galvanic dial finish appears almost golden in photos. It’s a yellower, more delicate hue than most salmon dials, but this sunny color plays handsomely with the rest of the design without feeling overstated.
Czapek & Cie powers both the Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue and the Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon with its in-house SXH5 automatic movement. The brand’s finishing concept for this movement runs 19th-century construction concepts through an ultra-modern filter, with seven pocket watch-inspired skeletonized bridges rendered in a high-tech mix of matte blasted and brushed black with hand-polished chamfers. The recycled platinum micro-rotor allows for a relatively uninterrupted view of the SXH5’s gear train, while the engravings for both the rotor and the bridges are laser-applied. In terms of performance, the SXH5 offers a respectable 56 hours of power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Czapek & Cie completes both models with its trademark C-link integrated bracelet in stainless steel, with a flowing tapered design and eye-catching polished center links.
By introducing more vibrant colors into the series’ lineup, the new Czapek & Cie Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue and the limited edition Czapek & Cie Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon give this nuanced fan-favorite design a bolder personality. Although the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Passage de Drake Glacier Blue is a regular production model, the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Passage de Drake Salmon is limited to only 99 examples. Both models are available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for both models stands at $22,000 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.