CZAPEK QUAI DES BERGUES GUILLOCHÉ RICOCHET ‘BLACK PRINCE’
Encased in black ADLC treated Grade 5 Titanium, with a mesmerising hand engraved black dial, the Czapek Quai des Bergues Guilloché Ricochet Black Prince edition is a superb watch with a striking presence, and takes this pocket watch inspired collection into contemporary territory in an exclusive production of only fifteen pieces.
The darkened lightweight metal adds a dimension of subtle sophistication and modernity to a watch which at its heart is classical in its layout, and painstakingly finished by hand in an ode to a Czapek timepiece from the mid-1800s, where the story of this remarkable and important name began.
Modelled on a pocketwatch masterpiece from 1850 by François Czapek, the Quai des Bergues Guilloché Ricochet Black Prince also takes its name from the address of the Geneva atelier and boutique where he had set up in business on his own, following a six year partnership with Antoine de Patek. During this time, the two young Polish masters honed their prodigious talents, side by side at the watchmaker’s bench, before separating in 1845 and embarking on careers which would immortalise Patek’s name, and bring great success to Czapek as well, although for he it would end in mysterious circumstances, when he simply vanished at the height of his achievements in 1869, leaving behind workshops and three boutiques across Europe’s finest cities, and an important legacy which has lain dormant for a century and a half.
Reborn in 2015, today Czapek watches are being manufactured by hand in Switzerland once again, working with specialist local artisans and combining traditional watchmaking skills with bespoke state of the art Haute Horlogerie and the Quai des Bergues Guilloché Ricochet Black Prince is a connection with that prestigious watchmaking history, its distinctive layout evocative of the unique techniques and characteristics of his lavish eighteenth century pocket watches.
The case has a rounded body and measures 42.5mm across, with a sculpted recess around its waist and curving lugs, while the shoulders either side of the crown complement the profile of the watch.
Beneath the gently domed sapphire crystal the black dial is quite outstanding, and to captivating effect its Ricochet guilloché creates a hypnotizingly intricate pattern of overlapping circles, which ripple and fan out from around the two recessed subdials. A technique conceived by Czapek himself, each dial is executed to perfection on a manual rose engine onto a domed bombé disc of gold, silver, palladium and platinum, and the detail is absorbing.
With luminous coating on the long arrow tip hands and the applied indices, the legibility is excellent in all light conditions, and the small constant seconds are displayed in the recessed subdial at the seven. In the other subdial at five, another Czapek novelty is the joint seven day power reserve and weekday indicator, originally devised as a convenient reminder of the weekly ritual in its time of winding one’s timepiece every Sunday evening.
It follows that the Quai des Bergues is powered by a hand winding movement with a seven day reserve, and from the underside, a sapphire glass exposes the proprietary Calibre SXH1, with its two skeletonised barrel ratchets, sandblasted bridges and cock revealing the balance and escapement. Designed and developed in collaboration with local Swiss Haute Horlogerie specialists Chronode, the movement is bespoke, and in its every detail, the bevelling and anglage is indicative of their uncompromising standards.
A superb watch which is individual and sophisticated, the Czapek Quai des Bergues Ricochet Guilloché ‘Black Prince’ is exclusive too, with only fifteen numbered pieces of this exceptional edition produced.