Czapek's New Promenade Collection Needs To Be On Your Radar

Czapek's New Promenade Collection Needs To Be On Your Radar

In 2020, we saw Geneva-based watchmaker Czapek & Cie branch out from the classically-styled dress segment into the crowded realm of luxury integrated bracelet sports watches. Of course, I’m referring to the Antarctique: Czapek’s foray into the saturated category. What struck people about this watch — aside from its bracelet integration and dial variety — was its movement. The Antarctique ushered in Czapek’s micro-rotor caliber SXH5. In the spirit of traditional watchmaking, Czapek enlisted help to produce parts for this movement, but kept its design and assembly in-house. (Lots more on this movement later).

While the SXH5 was born in the Antarctique, it now exists elsewhere: Czapek’s new Promenade collection. Available in three dial configurations upon launch, the 38mm time-only Promenade positions itself as an elegant, playful luxury timepiece that fits snugly alongside the brand's existing models. While maintaining established design cues, Czapek creates something entirely different with the Promenade: the new entry point to their catalog.

The All-New Czapek Promenade Collection

Czapek Promenade Collection

Czapek describes the Promenade as “the natural evolution of the Quai des Bergues and the Antarctique lines”. These two collections have been formative to Czapek & Cie’s modern incarnation, the former emphasizing traditional watchmaking design and the latter modern sports design. Stylistically, the Promenade lands between these two models. Its 38mm steel case and playful dial design lean casual, while its craftsmanship, finishing, and mechanics scream haute horology, paying respect to the brand’s storied history. 

Czapek Promenade Macro

The Promenade’s dial design revolves around a 4:30 sub-seconds indicator. At launch, we’re offered two dial motifs: the stunning grand feu enamel ‘Goutte D’eau’ (‘water drop’) made in collaboration with renowned enamel workshop Donzé Cadrans SA (pictured above) and the hand-turned guilloche ‘Soleil’ (‘sun’) made in collaboration with Metalem. Both use the 4:30 subdial as the center point of a radiating pattern. Atop these dials are skeletonized arrow hands: somewhat of a combo between those on Czapek’s ‘Faubourg de Cracovie’ and ‘Place Vendôme’. While neither Promenade dial motif features hour indices, the ‘Soleil’ (available in ivory or blue) features a 60-minute rehaut to accurately tell and set the time.

The Promenade’s modest case design knows its role next to the front-and-center dial work. With a 38mm diameter, 42mm lug-to-lug, and 10.8mm thickness (including a domed glassbox sapphire crystal), this is a comfortable case size for most wrists. It features design elements that have become mainstays in Czapek’s catalog: a sloped bezel, rounded crown guards, and cutout textured case flanks.

The Czapek Promenade’s SXH5.1 Movement

Czapek SXH5.1 Movement

Four years after its creation, Czapek continues to iterate upon the SXH5. The Promenade features the caliber SXH5.1, modified to display a 4:30 subseconds indicator and no date. The SXH5(.1) is immediately recognizable by its skeletonized sandblasted black bridges, orderly gear train arrangement (inspired by François Czapek’s 19th-century pocket watches), and engraved platinum microrotor. Like the Antarctique, the Promenade exhibits this movement through a sapphire caseback. It beats at a standard 4hz, features 60 hours of power reserve, and is regulated by a 4-point variable inertia balance.

Not only is Czapek continuosly iterating upon the SXH5, they’re quickly bringing more of its manufacturing in-house, piece by piece. (This might sound familiar — a certain brand with a crown on the dial took a similar approach).

New to this generation of SXH5: all bridges, plates, and other structural components are manufactured in-house. Coming in 2024: all screws, pins, and axes will be made entirely in-house (eliminating the 10 month lead time of their current manufacturer). By the end of 2025, fine components such as levers and springs will also be vertically-integrated, as will the hand-beveling of movement components. While these production tweaks won’t directly affect your experience with this watch, they’re part of Czapek’s concerted effort to move toward a vertically-integrated manufacture: an effort that will have a tangible impact on the brand’s future offerings.

The Promenade’s Position in Czapek’s Catalog

Czapek Promenade

Without making this article too much about the Antarctique, I must discuss it to give you proper context for the Promenade. Czapek’s timing and execution of the Antarctique were near-perfect. They capitalized on the demand for integrated bracelet sports watches with a thought-out, well-executed offering, one that will undoubtedly be a staple in their catalog going forward. Czapek fanned this flame with releases like the Antarctique Révélation Skeleton and limited edition P.04 Lanikai collaboration with Collective Horology. (The former’s enamel dial was made in collaboration with Donzé Cadrans: the workshop behind that of the Promenade ‘Goutte D’eau’). In one of the most saturated segments of horology over the past few years, the Antarctique has established a permanent seat at the table. In short, following up the Antarctique would be no easy task.

Not only is the Promenade a faithful followup to the Antarctique, it's the correct answer to Czapek's existing catalog. Until now, if you wanted a time-only watch from Czapek, you’d be restricted to the Antarctique collection: a great offering, as stated, but not what everyone is looking for. Now, the Promenade slots in as a versatile time-only watch that's competitively-priced amongst its peers, starting at $17,350. As the new entry point into Czapek’s catalog, the Promenade's design appropriately has mass appeal. With hand-turned guilloche and unique enamel dials at launch, I can’t wait to see where Czapek takes this collection. With its agreeable dimensions, impressive (and ever-evolving) movement, and simple-yet-interesting dial motif, the sky's the limit for Czapek’s new Promenade collection.

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