Icy Hot: Inside Czapek’s Limited-Edition (and Sold-Out) Antarctique Collection


Integrated-bracelet steel sports watch designs are becoming increasingly popular, and the latest brand to capitalize upon the trend is Geneva-based independent watchmaker Czapek & Cie. Later this year, the Swiss manufacture launches its latest limited-edition sport-luxury collection, dubbed the Antarctique, so named for the harsh and beautiful continent that inspired it — and, according to the brand, already sold out.

The Antarctique, Czapek’s fourth collection, includes the more traditionally designed Antarctique Terre Adélie, as well as a hand-painted model called the Antarctique Orion Nebula. The new line is highly limited, and not only debuts a new luxury-sport design, but also showcases for the first time Czapek’s new, in-house, time-and -date automatic movement, Caliber SXH5.01.

Antarctique Terre Adélie

The Antarctique Terre Adélie is a classically designed, integrated steel sports watch with several unique flairs that set it appealingly outside the mainstream. The watch is named after the Terre Adélie (or Adélie Land in English), a French-claimed territory in Antarctica often used for scientific research.

The Terre Adélie offers four dial colors — deep blue, burgundy, secret alloy (silver), and black ink — and comes on an integrated steel bracelet with unique C-shaped links, along with additional matching calfskin and rubber straps. The new model is moderately sized and very thin, with a diameter of 40.5 mm and a height of 10.6 mm — in-line with some of its competitors like the Girard-Perregaux Laureato and Vacheron Constantin Overseas. The brushed steel case features faceted edges on its top and bottom integrated lugs, with two elongated partial guards protecting a signed, screw-down guard on its side. The case also features polished accents throughout, most notably on the inter-links on the metal bracelet and on the smooth bezel surrounding the face. The case has been constructed for a 120-meter water resistance.

Underneath the sapphire crystal of the watch is, at first glance, a familiar sports-watch configuration, albeit one differentiated with a few Czapek-specific twists. The largest of these is seen on the dial, where a two-texture design resides, composed of a smooth minute ring on the outer edge and a brushed center. Converging on the two are the watch’s applied, sharply accented minute markers, doubled up at the 12 o’clock position, and a subtle date window residing in parallel at the bottom of the dial. Sweeping over the dial are two disjointed, sword-style hands for the hour and minute, while a red-tipped pointer with a small counterweight ticks away the seconds.

Inside the Antarctique Terre Adélie is the aforementioned Caliber SXH5.01 automatic movement, which is completely finished with dark brushed and polished surfaces, allowing its few pieces of color — i.e., the gold micro-rotor, jewels, and gears — to pop against the dark background. The movement is beautifully finished, boasting intricately skeletonized bridges that the brand says are inspired by those in early 19th-century pocketwatch movements. The new automatic caliber has a frequency of 28,800 vph and hosts a 56-hour power reserve.

Antarctique Orion Nebula

The Antarctique Orion Nebula features a very similar overall construction to the Terre Adélie, but also hosts a fabulously abstract dial, reminiscent — as its name would indicate — of the Orion Nebula (pictured below via NASA), a famous celestial body visible to the naked eye in the night sky. This model uses the same case design and movement as the Terre Adélie, though now with a more minimalist dial complete with a hand-painted picture of the Orion Nebula with simple white dots used for hour markers. The dial continues the use of the elongated, sword-style hands and red-tipped seconds counter seen on the previous, more “earthly” design.

The Antarctique Terre Adélie is limited to 99 editions, priced at $18,900, while the Orion Nebula is limited to only 10 editions with a retail price of $20,000 — both versions, as per Czapek’s communications, sold out within 17 days of their launch. To learn more about Czapek and its other collections, you can visit the company’s website, here.

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