An absolutely stunning wristwatch encased in a lightweight titanium case, and shrouded in a coat of black ADLC with a dial crafted in black grand feu enamel, the Place Vendôme Dark Matter by Geneva-based Czapek is a sophisticated and highly exclusive contemporary ten-piece limited edition, with an imposing presence on the wrist.
As the flagship model of the Czapek portfolio, the Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu is a distinguished piece of classically inspired haute horlogerie and design. Boasting a magnificent exposed tourbillon, second time zone, day and night indicator and power reserve, it is a compendium of complications, featuring a bespoke proprietary manufacture movement, and this superb all black version introduces an element of cool modernity to the collection.
The Czapek name holds a prestigious place in the history of fine watchmaking, and a story which took place across the mid-1800s, of a young Czech master called François Czapek, whose illustrious career began alongside that of his fellow countryman and business partner Antoine de Patek, in their newly adopted home town of Geneva, gaining a reputation for their horological masterpieces, working side by side over a six year partnership.
Resurrected after an absence of more than 150 years, the Czapek name made its return in 2015, once again in its rightful place, adorning the dials of superbly manufactured watches, and connecting the present to the past by naming its collections after those boutiques.
Beneath the subtly domed sapphire glass the dial is monochrome with silvery detail contrasting with the dark anthracite honeycomb base, which provides the surrounding for the primary hour and minute display which dominates the upper half of the dial. Just below, on either side the second time zone and tourbillon balance out the display.
Despite the mostly dark dial, the time is clearly legible, and luminous accents on the hands of the main dial ensure that even in low light environs, it is easy to tell the time. The hour indices and minute markings are set in a ring of black grand feu enamel, and within that, through the curved letterbox aperture the power reserve is shown.
The second time zone is a rotating disc marked out with the twelve hour numerals, and has a skeletonised centre, revealing part of the gearing within. At first glance the overall dial seems to have a perfect symmetry, but on a slightly closer inspection the raised bridge above the second time zone display tapers to a point, and it is that point which indicates the time.
Next to it at the 7 o’clock position the mesmerising sixty second cycle of the tourbillon, which is suspended from a similar, but not identical bridge, is the eye-catching focal element of the Place Vendôme, while between it and the second time zone display, a beautiful little day and night display rotates once every twenty four hours at the six.
On the underside, a sapphire caseback reveals a big ratchet wheel on a numbered back plate of grey anthracite which are finished with highly polished anglage edges, exposing the gear train and a view through the tourbillon. Developed in conjunction with complications specialist Chronode, the proprietary SXH2 hand winding movement beats at 21’600 vib/h and offers an impressive power reserve of sixty hours from its single barrel.
A limited edition of ten pieces only, the Czapek Place Vendôme Dark Matter is a twist on the company’s most technically sophisticated collection. It is presented on a black alligator leather strap with titanium buckle.