The origin of the company began with Franciszek Czapek. A name which probably will not ring a bell to anyone but the most hard core of watch enthusiasts. Czapek emigrated to Geneva during the Russian invasion of Poland in the 1800s. In Geneva, he took the French name François Czapek. In 1836 he met a fellow Polish immigrant by the name of Antoine Nobert de Patek, and together they started a watchmaking company called Patek, Czapek & Cie on May 1 1839. A brief history of the brand with the full story here.
Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie ‘Tao’
The case, dial and hands
Faubourg de Cracovie Chronograph is now available in a ‘Panda’ variation. The dial is enamel with a pair of cut out black enamel subdials. A red tipped seconds hand and red XII marker provides a sporty touch to the otherwise classic design of the dial.
The dial is designed as two register chronograph with 12 hours / 30minutes indications symmetrical placed at nine, respectively at three o clock.
The small seconds and a colour matched date window are placed at six o’clock. For the purists, who may prefer not to have a date, it is also possible to order the watch without the date window.
The white dial is obtained using the grand feu technique. The company doing these dials, Donzé Cadrans is one the most famous suppliers for grand feu dials. Some of their clientele includes Lang & Heyne as well as Ulysse Nardin.
The 41.5mm steel case is not by any means small. It is thick considering the automatic chronograph complication and the raised box sapphire crystal. The case features cutouts on the case sides, a budding trend with references from the motor industry. From the side profile, we also see the pushers flushed and aligned with the crown guards. The integration is done smoothly and creates a visual effect of a rounded case.
The case finishing is top notch with various contrasting surface treatments with satin-brushed surfaces and polished bevelled edges.
Czapek Genève Faubourg de Cracovie Chronograph is powered by the Calibre SXH3. The movement is created in collaboration with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier. It is a column wheel vertical clutch movement with skeletonized plates and rotor.
The movement is personalised and decorated especially for Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie. It’s 5 HZ beat rate improves chronometric precision and despite the higher power use from a high beat, the watch has a power reserve of 65 hours.
The Faubourg de Cracovie Tao is a limited edition of 18 pieces and is priced at CHF 29,000. It can be ordered online via https://czapek.com/product/tao/ with some customization options, namely date/no-date and type of hands.
The watch looks good, especially for those who like some heft in their watch. Considering the size and styling, it is a hybrid between a full classical chronograph and a sports watch. The enamel dial looks good, and ticks the box for the artisanal aspect one would expect in a watch at this price point. But movement finishing leaves more wanting, and the movement design doesn’t leave an impression. It looks like something Hublot or TagHeuer or Zenith Defy could field and with Zenith, the El Primero with 5 Hz possibly looks more exciting and can be had at a fraction of the price. These LVMH brands of course, will not have the same exclusivity as Czapek, nor an enamel dial.