Amongst the plethora of iconic brands within the watchmaking industry, few have the ability to create timepieces that evoke pure unadulterated emotion equal to that of Czapek. Founded in 1845 by one of Patek Philippe's original founders, Czapek's long heritage as a watchmaker for nobility and royals has ingrained a longstanding tradition within the brand to create some of the finest watches on the market. As someone who has an interest in and has handled high-end timepieces from many independent brands, Czapek has always been somewhat of an exotic outlier for me. It doesn’t possess the allure of mega-popular independent brands like MB&F or Urwerk, or more classical Maisons like H. Moser & Cie, but ever since its revival in 2015, Czapek has managed to carve out their very own unique style, one that they can proudly call their own. Czapek designs have a particular and specific quality to them that I find quite difficult to explain in words, they can only be felt.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate timepieces that possess a certain quality that is more than meets the eye, especially timepieces with a certain “sleeper” kind of appeal, if you will. What we have here today is one such timepiece that I personally find quite interesting, this is the Czapek Antarctique “Monochrome White” Limited Edition of 33 pieces in collaboration with world-renowned online watch publication Monochrome Watches from the Netherlands.
Based on the design formula of Czapek’s Antarctique collection, the Antarctique “Monochrome White” may seem plain in comparison due to the choice of the dial color, especially since it is a sports watch at its very core, but I think that is precisely what makes this limited edition special. The overall design doesn’t attract much attention unless people know what it is or how rare it actually is. The appearance of the grained, silvery, two-tone dial has a very pure quality to it, which greatly contributes to legibility and clarity. Also, look closer and you will quickly realize that this particular model comes fitted with a customized seconds-hand in full red, as opposed to the standard variant with only a red tip. A custom detail within an already rare limited edition, how cool is that? The Antarctique Monochrome White exudes a delicate sense of preciousness, whilst still maintaining an appearance that is quite appropriate for everyday wear. Measuring a modest 40.5mm x 10.6mm in dimensions, the Antarctique Monochrome White is quite the elegant contemporary sports watch, and thin enough to slip comfortably under a shirt cuff.
The integrated bracelet on the Antarctique Monochrome White is extremely well-made and meticulously finished with contrasting surface finishing techniques. It also features an “on-the-fly” micro-adjustment mechanism that is seamlessly incorporated at the clasp section with a spring-loaded mechanism that allows for ease of adjustment. Absolutely brilliant.
When you turn the Antarctique Monochrome White over, you will be greeted by, what I think is the star of the show – the absolutely gorgeous in-house Cal. SXH5 movement in all of its glory. Featuring a distinctive architecture with impeccable finishing and decoration and topped off with a platinum micro-rotor and seven bridges, the Cal. SXH5 is also the very first movement developed and produced in-house by Czapek. It operates at 28,800 vph and holds an impressive power reserve of 60 hours.
As an overall package, the Antarctique Monochrome White Limited Edition is as good as it gets. I love how discreet it is on the wrist. It flies right under the radar and doesn’t scream in your face. To me, the ultimate form of luxury is a discreet one, the world doesn’t have to know, but if they know, they know. That’s just the way I like it, but I digress.