Although integrated bracelet sports watches have been around for decades, their widespread popularity in recent years has made them one of the more common styles of timepieces being produced today. While the original integrated bracelet sports watch trend occurred during the 1970s, countless new additions have entered the market within the last ten years, and a significant portion of the world’s top manufacturers now all have some variation of this core aesthetic in their respective portfolios. Back in 2020, Czapek & Cie launched its Antarctique collection, which is the Geneva-based brand’s version of an integrated bracelet sports model. Since making its debut, the Antarctique has appeared in a handful of different colorways and configurations, and the latest release from the brand for 2023 is the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector, which features a unique time-only dial and embraces a largely monochromatic gray colorway to create a highly modern take on the brand’s integrated bracelet sports watch design.
Similar to the original version of the time-and-date Antarctique, the new Czapek & Cie Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector features an angular tonneau-shaped case that measures 40.5mm in diameter by 10.6mm-thick. However, on the new Dark Sector version of the model, the case and integrated bracelet are now both crafted from titanium with brushed and polished surfaces. Beyond the change in materials, much of the external design and construction of the watch remains the same, and it features an anti-reflective box sapphire crystal sitting above its dial, along with rounded crown guards flanked by prominent cutouts on either side of its case.
Similar to previous versions of the Antarctique, the reverse side of the case on the new Dark Sector version gets fitted with a screw-on caseback that features a large sapphire display window, while the winding crown at the 3 o’clock location screws down to help create 120 meters of water resistance. Additionally, while the signature design of the collection’s bracelet with its C-shaped center links has remained unchanged, the new Czapek & Cie Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector also comes with an additional strap in either gray calf leather or rubber.
The use of titanium for the case and bracelet will inevitably create a slightly different appearance compared to the existing stainless steel models, although the most distinctive feature of the new Czapek & Cie Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector is its dial. Applied on top of an anthracite gray surface are two rows of segmented concentric rings that sit just inside the perimeter of the printed minute track. The rings are segmented at the location of the 12 hour markers, and rather than having the applied elements themselves serve as the indexes, it is the voids between the ring segments that actually function as the hour markers.
Unlike the calendar-equipped Antarctique models that feature date windows at the 6 o’clock location, the new Czapek & Cie Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector features a minimalist time-only display to better highlight the symmetry of its unique and modern dial. However, just like previous three-handed versions of the Antarctique, the new Dark Sector edition displays its time with a set of slender sword-shaped hands, along with a thin seconds hand that has been given a bright red tip. Additionally, to complement the small dash of color on the seconds hand, the dot located at the 12 o’clock position within the minute track also appears in a matching hue of bright red that further leans into its contemporary styling.
All things considered, the “Dark Sector” part of this new watch’s name is fairly appropriate given the sector-style layout of its dial and how the dark gray voids between the applied segmented rings serve as the hour markers. However, this moniker also serves as a reference to the Dark Sector Laboratory and telescopes, which are located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, where the skies are the darkest and clearest in the entire world.
Powering the new Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector is the brand’s Cal. SXH5 automatic movement, which has been completely designed in-house by Czapek & Cie. While it features a distinct architecture with seven bridges that recall the designs of 19th-century pocket watch movements, the plates and bridges themselves have been given a black sandblasted finish for a highly modern appearance. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) and offering users a power reserve of approximately 60 hours, the Czapek & Cie SXH5 movement also features a micro-rotor design and a variable-inertia balance, with the oscillating mass for the micro-rotor crafted from recycled platinum.
Watches are very similar to cars in that you will often find yourself paying more for something that weighs less and has fewer features. Consequently, the new Czapek & Cie Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector is accompanied by an official retail price of $36,000 USD, which makes it a decent bit more expensive than what Czapek was asking for original date-displaying stainless steel models back when they made their debut appearances. Additionally, while total production for the new watch will not be capped at a specific number of examples, Czapek has stated that the Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector will have a limited yearly production of 100 pieces, meaning that a bit of patience might be required if the new model ends up being popular among collectors. For more information on the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector, please visit the brand’s website.