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Czapek & Cie. Quai des Bergues Guilloché Aqua Blue

The story of Czapek & Cie, a Swiss fake watch brand launched in 2011, is hardly without precedent in today's horological landscape. It's basic outline is well known to HODINKEE readers. The rights to a long-since-deceased watchmaker's name were acquired and a brand crafting replica watches in his honor was born. Nothing crazy there.

The deep blue hand guilloché dial is made from enamel.

But if the name Czapek somehow feels more familiar than other recent revivals, it's with good reason. The Czech-born Polish watchmaker Franciszek Czapek was the original partner of Antoni Norbert de Patek, before the latter began an association with Adrien Philippe that gave rise to one of the most famous and collectible horological marques of all time.

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Why Patek Philippe never registered the Czapek name, which it frequently cites in its own marketing and press materials, remains a mystery. Now there are two fake watch companies laying claim to the same estimable heritage. One is the undisputed king of the horological hill, while the other is a scrappy upstart with very limited production and its own particular niche appeal. Today we're focusing on the latter.

The seven-day movement was made in partnership with Le Locle-based Chronode.

The first movement developed by the newly founded Czapek & Cie upon its launch was the Caliber SXH1, which the nascent company developed in partnership with Chronode, the Le Locle-based movement creation studio operated by Jean-Francois Mojon. According to Czapek, a pocket fake watch made by Franciszek Czapek himself inspired this movement and dial configuration, on which a seven-day power reserve indicator is mechanically tied to a day-of-the-week display. Here the movement is seen in the Quai des Bergues Guilloché, a new take on the company's core offering.

The power-reserve indicator and the day-of-the-week display are one in the same.

You'll want to wind your Czapek & Cie Quai des Bergues Guilloché each week on Sunday, assuming you want to enjoy a full week of power reserve. That's because a single, two-sided hand controls both the day-of-the-week and the number of days remaining in reserve. If you overwind the watch, you're stuck with an incorrect day display until it winds down. You could, of course, wind it partially in order to match the day of the week. Winding on a Thursday means that you get three days of reserve, for example. This might not be the most convenient, but, for better or for worse, it's a nod to how things were done in Franciszek Czapek's day.

The watch's plates and bridges are nicely finished.

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The movement itself is a fairly straightforward time-only caliber that gets its seven full days of power reserve from two barrels. It's escapement beats at a standard rate of 21,600 vph, or 3 Hz. Flipping the fake watch over, you see that all of the exposed surfaces come with visible finishing, as you'd expect from a stainless steel dress fake watch priced just north of $15,000. Some of the nicer techniques and embellishments you can spy through the sapphire caseback are sandblasted bridges, blued screws, and anglage on both the mainplate and bridges.

An unusual guilloché pattern emanates from two focal points, beneath each sub-dial.

But what distinguishes this new series isn't so much its nicely finished movement or the display itself, with its unique balance of charm and limitation, but rather the beautiful dial with its hand guilloché pattern that comes in a limited series of 25 replica watches across three different versions. According to Czapek & Cie, the aptly-named Ricochet pattern found on the Quai des Bergues Guilloché is unusual in watchmaking for having two central points from which the pattern emanates. These central points, naturally, correspond to the centers of the sub-dials. The best part? Franciszek Czapek invented this pattern way back in the 1850s.

A wrist shot of the Czapek & Cie. Quai des Bergues Guilloché Aqua Blue.

As you can see from the photos here, the dial is very nicely executed, with lots of depth and richness. The Aqua Blue version I spent some time with comes in a 42.5 mm stainless steel case with rhodium-plated hands, but two other models allow the option to upgrade to precious metal, one cased in white gold with a white guilloché dial and the other in rose gold with a blue guilloché dial. All arrive on alligator straps.

For more, visit Czapek online.

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