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INTRODUCING: Czapek & Cie. Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector

The Czapek & Cie. Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector.

In a darker shade of grey, the Antarctique looks better than ever.

Czapek & Cie.’s revival has been a bit of a rule-break in watchmaking. CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel and his two business partners, Harry Huhl and Sébastien Follonier, gave the legendary brand CPR through a crowd-funded, client-owned format, and the brand has been on a roll since. Some of Czapek’s new models reference watches from its past, but the Antarctique is the line of sports-luxe models that de Roquemaurel and his team believe François Czapek would have created if he was alive today.

CEO of Czapek & Cie., Xavier de Roquemaurel.
CEO of Czapek & Cie., Xavier de Roquemaurel.

If we can compare the design of the Antarctique to, say, furniture, it would be a mid-century modern. The simple and clean lines of the watch, balancing sharp and soft edges, are very much in the style of 1950s and 1960s design. The dials are what give the watch a fresh, modern take, with exciting details that range from three-dimensional motifs in the Passage de Drake to the new Titanium Dark Sector.

The Czapek & Cie. Antarctique Passage de Drake S has a modern, three-dimensional dial.
The Czapek & Cie. Antarctique Passage de Drake S has a modern, three-dimensional dial.

The latest edition of the Antarctique is limited to just 100 pieces annually. Nicknamed the Titanium Dark Sector, it is the line’s first titanium model. According to de Roquemaurel, it’s inspired by the skies of the Antarctic as well as “the Dark Sector Laboratory and telescopes at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station”. 

The Czapek & Cie. Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector.
The Czapek & Cie. Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector.

This isn’t a Vantablack watch, even though de Roquemaurel describes the skies over the Antarctic as “the clearest and darkest in the world”. It does come in a sexy anthracite grey that gives the watch a 21st-century look, with a matching dial. Doing away with standard hour markers, two rows of concentric rings sit on the inside of the minute track on the dial. The rings are segmented at the hour markings, and Czapek uses the absence of indexes to indicate the time. It’s essentially the opposite of a sector dial.

The caseback of the Czapek & Cie. Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector reveals the SXH5 movement powering the watch.
The caseback of the Czapek & Cie. Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector reveals the SXH5 movement powering the watch.

Everything else about the Antarctique remains the same, from the gently extruding crown guards to the polished angles, brushed surfaces, and C-shaped (or, as I prefer it, staple) middle-link bracelet. Three hands on the dial are the only elements you see moving – the caseback reveals more of the in-house SXH5 movement with its 19th-century style construction. The individual bridges of each gear wheel and the balance expose the watch in a manner that’s skeleton-like but in a modern, engineering manner.

A detailed view of the Czapek & Cie. SXH5.01 movement.
A detailed view of the Czapek & Cie. SXH5.01 movement.

The movement offers 60 hours of power reserve on a single barrel and measures just 4.5mm thick. That enables Czapek to create a 40.5mm-sized Titanium Dark Sector that’s just 10.6mm thick and 95g in weight. The watch will be available from 1 April (not a joke) at all authorised retailers for CHF 32,000, excluding local taxes. 

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.