Czapek & Cie, the Geneva-based boutique watchmaker, has introduced the Faubourg de Cracovie California Dreamin', a vintage style chronograph inspired by a “test watch” made before the brand was revived in 2012. The new limited edition timepiece is the sportiest version of the Faubourg de Cracovie chronograph and comes with a dark grey grainy “California dial” and a tachymeter.
Czapek & Cie is among the clutch of watch firms that were brought back from oblivion by watch enthusiasts and collectors hoping to cash in on a demand for finely crafted boutique Swiss watches with interesting back stories. This list includes brands founded in the 19th century like Bovet, Manufacture Royale, and Czapek & Cie or even older ones like the 18th century English form Arnold & Sons that was revived as a Swiss brand in 1998.
The company was established in Geneva in 1845 by Polish immigrant Franciszek Czapek, who previously founded Patek, Czapek & Cie. with fellow immigrant Antoni Patek. The latter would in turn create Patek Philippe & Cie with French watchmaker Adrien Philippe. Czapek & Cie eventually went out of production before a plan to revive it began in 2012.
To clear the legal and financial path to the brand’s return, the soon-to-be-resurrected Czapek & Cie’s three co-founders created a chronograph to gauge the reaction of the market and raise early stage funding before the advent of crowdfunding equity financing. The capital raised from the sale of this watch to a small circle of friends, allowed them to develop the Caliber SHX1 that powered the Quai des Bergues, the first official watch of the resurrected brand in 2015.
The Faubourg de Cracovie chronograph line has this far featured a more classical-style guilloche dial. The new California Dreamin' edition takes its style cues from the aforementioned test watch and uses a 41.5 mm stainless steel case with a vintage-style sapphire crystal glass box. The dark grey electroplated brass dial sports a grainy texture and the distinct California-style numerals, a reference to the fact that the hours are represented by both Arabic and Roman numerals. The SuperLuminova coated hour markers are in Roman numerals from X to II and Arabic from 4 to 8.
The watch is powered by the in-house chronometer-grade Calibre SXH3, an integrated high-beat column wheel chronograph movement with a power reserve of 65 hours. The movement’s bridges have a diamond-blasted anthracite coating and is visible thanks to the transparent caseback. The watch is paired with either an alligator or rubber strap with a steel deploying buckle. This is a limited edition of just 18 pieces and is priced at 28,000 Swiss Francs.