Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin’
The Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin’ is the latest creation from the well-respected Genevan firm. It pairs an anthracite California dial with a superb high-frequency movement. This chronograph is limited to just 18 pieces, conferring exclusivity and no doubt further heightening the model’s appeal. However, with the brand releasing a constant stream of new models, I just wonder when the Czapek team find time to sleep!
In 2015, the name Czapek returned to the watchmaking scene. Its first creation, the 33bis Quai des Bergues subsequently won the ‘Public Prize’ at the prestigious GPHG. Thereafter, this inaugural model sired numerous iterations, encompassing a variety of hues, guilloché dials, different case materials and a choice of sizes.
Thereafter, the brand released a comparatively contemporary tourbillon, a fully integrated chronograph and, most recently, a luxury sports watch with an integrated bracelet. Xavier de Roquemaurel, co-founder and CEO of Czapek & Cie, is clearly a man on a mission.
In the last few days, the Genevan brand has unveiled the Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin’. Its design was inspired by a prototype model conceived by the company’s founders prior to the firm’s official inauguration. This prototype was fitted with a California dial, a style where the dial is endowed with indexes comprising of both Roman and Arabic numerals.
The Swiss luxury marque has chosen to revisit this prototype, choosing to use the 41.5mm stainless steel case of the sublime Faubourg de Cracovie Tao, Panda Bleu et al. While the aforementioned prototype was equipped with a vintage hand-wound movement, the new Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin’ is equipped with the Calibre SXH3, used in other members of the Faubourg de Cracovie family.
The Calibre SXH3 was produced in collaboration with the esteemed movement specialist, Vaucher. The movement is fully integrated and features the ultimate pairing, a column wheel and vertical coupling. This latter duo confers a supremely-smooth pushpiece action, minimal drag, a welcome absence of stuttering, when actuating the chronograph, and minimal wear. It is widely considered the optimal specification for a chronograph.
Vaucher is noted for its impressive finishing and this is very evident when looking at the Calibre SXH3. Unusually, the balance has a frequency of 36,000 vph (5Hz) which is comparatively rare. It delivers superior precision, is less susceptible to positional influence and offers superior shock protection. The movement’s precision is independently validated by COSC, culminating in chronometer certification.
Beyond the pulchritudinous face of the Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin’ is a brilliant mind, something this model shares in common with its numerous siblings.
The brand’s press release (July 2020)
Back to the origins. This time, not directly to Francois Czapek, but to the co-founders of the modern Czapek & Cie who re-established the Company on 12 December 2012. The three entrepreneurs created the Czapek Design Study Chronograph, a manual wind chronograph powered by a historic caliber from the seventies and with a California dial. The initial purpose was to secure the legal re-establishment of the brand, yet this watch rapidly became a test of the market and a source of early stage funding before the crowdfunding equity financing took place. This watch was in fact sold to a small circle of friends, allowing them to finance further research into design and development of a proprietary calibre of high quality, the SHX1, that powers the Quai des Bergues – the official launch collection unveiled in 2015. Today, the Czapek Design Study Chronograph serves as an inspiration for the Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin’, a steel chronograph featuring a 41.5mm case and anthracite electroplated brass California dial: the SuperLuminova® coated hour markers are in Roman numerals from X to II and Arabic from 4 to 8.
Image – Czapek Design Study Chronograph with a hand-wound movement
The California dial is an unusual choice for a modern timepiece, whose origins are part of the ‘mysteries’ of watchmaking: nobody really knows why this type of dials is named after the West Coast state. Some theories state that it is called this way because that particular design was exceedingly popular in the state of California in the ’30s and ’40s, others speculate that it’s because of a famous Los Angeles-based dial finisher, Kirk Rich, who made some popular dials with the design in the 1970s; however, nothing is definitive.
“The initial design of this watch was that of a rough, sporty and vintage chronograph. We know it has its fans but we have been keeping it a secret so far… It is now time to pay tribute to our modest yet very unique origins”, says Xavier de Roquemaurel, co-founder and CEO of Czapek & Cie. “We started with nothing else than our courage, our intuition, our flair, and 15,000 dollars. Of course, we relied on friends to advise us and support the Company by purchasing this watch. It was time to give the opportunity to more watch lovers to own a part of our history.”
The Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin’ is powered by the SXH3 Caliber, a COSC-certified automatic integrated chronograph movement delivering 65 hours power reserve from a single barrel that drives the balance wheel at 36,000 vph.
Only 18 pieces will be produced, on sale at the official brand retailers, at the Czapek Geneva boutique (rue de la Corraterie 18) or at czapek.com.