Expressions in enamel
Czapek & Cie reimagines four of its outstanding models
Geneva, March 2019 – Following the release of new dial variants in January, Czapek & Cie is continuing to explore a high-end finishing range of options. Four of the company’s tried-and-true models will be presented at Baselworld 2019 as a special series: They have received new dials in brilliant enamel variations, thanks to collaborations with Czapek’s shareholders and manufacturing partners.
In fine watchmaking, precision and efficiency in mechanics must be matched by a timepiece’s look. And the most prominent feature of any watch will be the dial, the very real face of time. That is why Czapek & Cie decided to look further into the ancient art of enamelling as a way to extend the aesthetic range of some existing models. «Enamel is durable and it renders colour with a special feeling of depth,» says CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel. «So we decided to tap into our partnerships with Donzé Cadrans and Metalem to create new dials for present and future owners and to pay tribute to our concept of horizontal manufacturing.»
The Quai des Bergues 25ter, for example, has a brilliant Grand-Feu white dial, which harmonises well with the keen- edged 42.5-millimeter steel case. It gives the watch a natural lightness and clarity. Another Quai des Bergues, this time an S model in 38.5mm, was used to try out a new approach to the “flinqué” technique, which combines guilloché with enamel. In this case, Czapek partner Metalem recreated the company’s own Ricochet design on a stamping tool which was then applied to a silver plate. A blue enamel with an exclusive sapphire tone was then added by Donzé Cadrans. The hue was created following the inputs of a panel of Czapek shareholders and collectors. «Getting it right involved a lot of fine tuning,» de Roquemaurel recalls «Everyone uses blue today so finding a strong and unique blue required inspiration from past and present hues lingering in the zeitgeist.»
The grand-feu technique, which bakes the enamel at over 800°C will give brilliance and exuberance to a white dial. Black enamel, on the other hand, becomes ocean-deep and mysterious. To achieve this effect perfectly for the Quai des Bergues Black Enamel S, the normally vaulted dial plate had to be flattened to ensure the even spread of the enamel application.
Finally, Czapek decided to use enamelling to create the 41.5-millimeter Faubourg de Cracovie Tao, an unprecedented black and white Grand-Feu enamel “panda” watch. The two subdials at 9 and 3 o’clock have been slightly sunken into the striking white dial and appear in shiny black, like the eyes of a panda – the famous analogy used to describe such chronographs. The subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o’clock has remained white, with the date almost incorporated creating a kind of mouth for the panda. Finally, the 12 in Roman numeral is still red as a focal point of the watch. It’s where everything begins.