Last year, the independent brand Czapek & Cie. celebrated the opening of its first boutique in Geneva with a limited edition from its elegant Quai des Bergues collection, dubbed “Midnight in Geneva” for its deep-blue, star-dappled aventurine dial. This year, for those looking for a more understated option to that model’s 42.5-mm dimensions, Czapek has announced a new version in a more unisex-friendly 38-mm case.
The starry dial of the Czapek Quai des Bergues “Midnight in Geneva S” (the “S” denoting “Small” or “Smaller,” presumably) hosts the signature elements of the young brand, named for 19th-century Polish watchmaker Francois Czapek — elongated Roman numeral appliqués at the hours, titanium hands accented with Fleur-de-Lys and finished with silver powder, and a classical minute track along the border. Aventurine, the translucent glass material used for the dial, is prized for its sparkling look and derives its name, say some historians, from the Italian phrase “all’aventura,” (“by chance”), referring to a legend that it was created when a glass artisan accidentally dropped metal shavings into a metal mixture. Like its larger counterpart, the “S” version of the watch features subdials at 4;30 and 7:30 to display the power reserve and small seconds, respectively.
That power reserve — no less than 168 hours, or seven days, stored in two spring barrels — is one of the major advantages of the Quai des Bergues’ movement, the manually wound Caliber SXH1, which is exclusive to Czapek. Developed in a partnership with the braintrust at Chronode (you can see more of their horological expertise on display in the MB&F Legacy Machine 2 and HYT H1.0 Black Fluid, to name some recent examples), the movement is also notable for its high-end decorations, including open ratchets, blued screws, bevelled edges, manual anglage, and sand-blasted bridges. Best of all, it’s visible under a sapphire caseback, echoing the curved sapphire window over the dial. The watch is mounted on a dark blue alligator strap, which closes with a stainless steel buckle. Priced at 18,000 Swiss francs, the watch is limited to a relative pittance of 18 pieces worldwide, available at Czapek’s flagship boutique in Geneva, at authorized retailers, and at the brand’s website.