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, a tradition that still rings true to this day. Case in point is the Chronograph Faubourg de Cracovie L'Heure Bleu that I have here. Named after the brand's third boutique, which was opened in 1850 in Warsaw, Poland, the Faubourg de Cracovie collection symbolises a significant milestone in the brand's history.
Launched in 2018 and even going on to win the Salon Exceptional Watches' 'Watch of the year' award in 2018, the Chronograph Faubourg de Cracovie L'Heure Bleu encompasses the very essence of Czapek's watchmaking heritage. Featuring an entirely polished 41.5mm stainless steel case, the Chronograph Faubourg de Cracovie L'Heure Bleu sports a deeply inset mid-case with a sandblasted finish that beautifully contrasts the polished steel that surrounds it.
Within its stainless steel case, the Chronograph Faubourg de Cracovie L'Heure Bleu is powered by the Czapek’s COSC-certified automatic cal. SXH3. On view through an exhibition caseback, the cal. SXH3 is a high frequency (36,000vph/5Hz) column-wheel chronograph movement with a vertical clutch and a rather impressive 65 hours of power reserve. Finished to Czapek's infamously rigorous standards, the cal. SXH3 uses diamond-blasted anthracite bridges to provide a stunning backdrop for its 18kt gold winding rotor.
In addition to its stunning movement, the Chronograph Faubourg de Cracovie L'Heure Bleu also features a beautiful dial, as its name so eloquently references. Reintroducing the fascinating handmade guilloché of the Quai des Bergues collection, the Chronograph Faubourg de Cracovie L'Heure Bleu sports a new design named “Résonance”. Using intersecting circular lines cut from a rose engine lathe, its dial features a pattern of bas-relief squares that turn into diamonds throughout the dial – a design that can trace its origins to François Czapek himself. Using rhodium-plated hour markers and hands, the Chronograph Faubourg de Cracovie L'Heure Bleu's stunning blue dial radiates a clean look that is simply breathtaking.
Made in a limited series of 18 pieces, this is quite the rare piece.