A masterpiece of modern day Haute Horlogerie, the Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu Titanium Ombres by Czapek of Geneva is an outstanding and highly individual wristwatch which captivates with symmetric three dimensional architecture and elegant configuration, and while it is state of the art contemporary watchmaking, the essence of the early pocket watch is unmistakable in its finely finished bare metal, complemented by the simple beauty of an enamel dial ring, and brought to life through its exposed mechanical heartbeat.

With a unique history which goes back to the mid-1800s, the works of Polish master watchmaker François Czapek were for the privileged few. A craftsman and a businessman, his career began as a young man by the side of his friend, countryman and partner Antoine de Patek on the watchmaker’s bench, as for six years they established a reputation for timepieces of rare distinction together. As this chapter ended in 1845, both would move on to greater things, and Czapek enjoyed significant success as purveyor to the nobility, with his own boutiques across Europe. Except in 1869 it all suddenly and mysteriously seems to have ended when, without explanation, he vanished, never to be heard of again, apart that is from a distinguished place in the story of Patek Philippe, which also arose from the ashes of their formative partnership.

Brought back to life in 2015, once again the Czapek name is at home on the dials of superbly manufactured watches, and its collections are named after those boutiques.

Named after the location of Czapek’s Parisian boutique, the Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu Ombres is an exceptional and distinguished piece for the discerning traveller in a limited edition of only twenty-five pieces. Encased in a generous 43.5mm case of Grade 5 Titanium, the display is one of eye catching architecture, contrasting monochrome shading and the spellbinding graceful rotation of its exquisite mechanical heartbeat.

Beneath the gently domed sapphire crystal the principal function of time is displayed in hours and minutes on a matte grey central dial surrounded by a ring of black grand feu enamel champlevé, with rhodiumised arrow hands. The power reserve is illustrated through the curved letterbox aperture. Either side of the dial, a pair of almost identical bridges are screwed onto the sand blasted plate, and rise up to extend above the two other most prominent features. On the right, a twelve-hour disc rotates under a pointed tip to display a second time zone, while in its round cavity which provides a view of its intricate finesse, the sixty second tourbillon is suspended beneath its skeletonised bridge. Between them a small disc indicates day and night, rotating anti-clockwise once every twenty-four hours.

Turned over, and a sapphire caseback reveals a big ratchet wheel on a numbered back plate of grey anthracite with highly polished anglage edges, exposing the gear train and the unsupported underside of the tourbillon. Developed in conjunction with complications specialist Chronode, the proprietary SXH2 hand winding movement beats at 21’600 vib/h with a power reserve of sixty hours.

A spectacular example of Swiss haute horlogerie, the Czapek Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu Ombres is presented on a strap of alligator leather with pin buckle.


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