Cool, stylish and sophisticated, the new Antarctique Passage de Drake Black Ink by Czapek of Geneva joins the brand’s portfolio as a permanent inclusion, following on from the sell-out success of the series of limited editions which introduced this stunning all-steel men’s wristwatch, with integrated bracelet, and a distinctly sporty personality.
Measuring an unobtrusive 40.5mm across, and just 10.6mm tall, the Antarctique is a thoroughly modern design with sleek lines and a wrist-hugging slender profile. Thanks to its flat surfaces, pronounced edges and angles which complement the gentle ‘trompe l’oeil’ curve which flows around the case, and the contrast between the grainy brushed finish and the highly polished detail, it is a piece of reserved quality designed for comfort and practicality.
The styling continues almost seamlessly from case to bracelet as the brushed stainless steel links attach to each other and to the case itself via a series of polished C shaped links. An integral part of the Antarctique design, the bracelet features a folding clasp, and is also easily removed to be replaced with a rubber alternative which is also supplied.
Beneath the subtle convex curve of the sapphire crystal, the textured surface of the Black Ink dial stands out and catches the eye, playing with the light and casting tiny shadows as the watch moves with the wrist. Czapek’s new signature ‘Stairway to Eternity’ pattern is a three dimensional stamped flinqué finish, and it defines this new Passage de Drake collection.
Standing out clearly against this striking trapezoidal backdrop, the steel hour indices and arabic 12 are applied to the dial and have luminous inserts. The hour and minute hands are long and elegant, and a generous application of powerful Super-LumiNova ensures excellent legibility in all light conditions. The sweeping seconds hand is long and slender and a date window at the six o’clock position with colour matched date disc completes the functions.
Inside Antarctique beats what is Czapek’s new triumph; the refined SXH5 self-winding calibre is the brand’s first fully in-house designed and developed movement, and it is superb. Finished to the exacting standards of haute horlogerie it features a sandblasted black German silver mainplate, with mirror polishing, anglage and bevelling applied by hand to its components. Visible through the sapphire exhibition caseback, it is a breathtaking display of mechanical architecture, distinguished by its angular semi-openworked bridges which are directly inspired by the 19th century pocket watches of François Czapek.
Beneath the cascading series of skeletonised bridges, the inner workings and the detailing of the free sprung balance and going train of interconnecting wheels and gears are revealed. Offset and fitted flush onto the main plate to shave excess height off the movement and allow for a compact profile, the energy for the single barrel comes from the 100% recycled solid platinum micro rotor, whose constant free spinning rotations provide the chronometer-rated 28’800vib/h mechanism with a minimum of 56 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
With a water resistance of 120m the new Czapek Antarctique Passage de Drake Black Ink is as practical as it is a handsome looking and highly technical contemporary wristwatch. A piece which is equally at home on the quayside or manning the helm, at work or at play, it successfully captures the spirit of the active, outdoor life.