Geneva, March 2022 – Czapek introduces Antarctique S – an elegant new case size for slimmer wrists. Two years after the successful launch of the Antarctique line, sporting chic enters fresh territory with a 38.5mm case and an array of new dials.
Size matters. And at Watches & Wonders 2022, Czapek introduces the Antarctique S – a reinterpretation of its sporty-chic Antarctique in a new 38.5mm case.
Like many developments at Czapek, much of the impetus to create Antarctique S came from the desires of Czapek’s “rare people” – the collectors, shareholders and partners who form a close-knit community around the brand. It was only natural that the successful launch of the original 40.5mm Antarctique in May 2020 would be followed by a smaller case size – one that would be more adaptable and elegant; more comfortable on slimmer wrists.
“Our greatest challenge was that the original Antarctique had turned out to be so right. For Antarctique S it wasn’t a question of just reducing the case; we had to do something as excellent as the original,” says Xavier de Roquemarel, CEO of Czapek.
To create a case 3mm smaller than the original design was not just a simple matter of shrinking; starting from scratch, the case had to be totally re-engineered and the codes rewritten to ensure that all of the proportions work perfectly – not least the ratio of overall thickness to the new diameter. The 38.5mm case is defined by the same taut lines that characterise the original Antarctique but now the sides are flat, rather than cut away, and the shoulders protecting the crown have been subtly pared back – simplifications that achieve better visual balance in the smaller dimensions. And Czapek’s attention to detail went beyond just the visual: the weight of the watch on the wrist had to feel appropriate to its reduced size.
Once satisfied with the case itself, Czapek’s design team turned its attention to the integrated bracelet. With less space between the lugs at the attachment point, the long, subtly curving line that tapers from the widest point of the case to the narrowest point of the bracelet had to be carefully studied and adjusted to achieve perfect harmony. Like its predecessor, the bracelet of Antarctique S – with its brushed steel links connected by highly polished links in the form of a stylised “C” for Czapek – it features a quick-change system that enables owners to quickly and easily switch to the additional rubber or leather strap that comes with the watch.
It took a full year of work for Czapek’s design team, in close collaboration with its key partners, AB Concept and Metalem, to finalise the design. “We followed the same methodology as always, making as many iterations and refinements as we needed to,” explains de Roquemarel. “We never stop until we are completely happy.”
The result is fresh, sporty and chic. Like its big brother, Antarctique S has a strong character but there’s nothing extravagant or showy about it. The creativity is all in the detail – and on the dials, where atypical colours and intriguing textures provide the backdrop for strongly sculptured indexes.
The Antarctique S will initially be offered with a choice of three dials, all created in partnership with the dial specialist Metalem.
Czapek’s signature ‘Stairway to Eternity’ pattern is presented in the Passage de Drake Glacier Blue and Salmon, the three-dimensional stamped surface of the trapezoidal motif creating a play of light and shadows across the dial. The former appears to alternate between pale blue and silver with the movement of the wrist, and latter from a soft peachy tone to a richer, almost honeyed shade of salmon.
The ‘Frozen Star’ dial is made from the rarest precious metal on Earth – osmium. Very hard, dense and heavy, and one of the six platinum group metals, it was discovered in 1803 by British chemist Smithson Tennant. Found mostly in the Americas and in the Russian federation, and 11 times rarer then gold, osmium is the least abundant stable element in Earth’s crust. Moreover, pure osmium does not occur in nature; it can be obtained only as a by-product from processing nickel or copper ore and, it is estimated, only about one tonne is produced globally each year. Impossible to counterfeit, one needs to extract 10,000 tons of platinum to obtain 30 grams of osmium.
Twice as dense as lead, hard yet brittle, unstable unless crystallised, and resistant to extremely high temperatures (with a melting point of 3,000°C), osmium is notoriously difficult to work with. However, with a pronounced structure that creates a unique surface texture, and an intense natural brilliance, crystallised osmium has a profound and intriguing beauty. Shimmering as the light catches it – from a deep bluish-grey to almost white-blue – the osmium dial of the Antarctique S creates a dramatic contrast to the cool silvery tones of the steel case and bracelet.
The Antarctique S is powered by Calibre SXH5, the first movement to be entirely conceived in-house by Czapek and launched in the original Antarctique in May 2020. Inspired by the 19th-century pocket watches of François Czapek, its distinctive architecture of seven skeletonized bridges is immediately recognisable. Taking the best from both the past and present of watchmaking, it features a free-sprung balance and an elegant and highly efficient micro-rotor of recycled 950 platinum; the haute horlogerie finishes combine hand-bevelled internal angles with state-of-the-art laser engraving to create a beautiful play of contrasts: light and dark, textured and smooth, matte and polished.
Making its debut at Watches & Wonders 2022 in Geneva, the Antarctique S will be available on Czapek.com, from the flagship Czapek boutique in Geneva, at 18 rue de la Corraterie, and from all Czapek & Cie official retailers.