Combining history, high-end watchmaking and multiple current trends at once, this is a watch that should get any horological geek's attention: The Swiss brand Czapek & Cie. has partnered with watch enthusiast website Fratello on a limited edition version of its sporty Antarctique watch with a winning combination of its naturally compelling design and a green dial (and some other unique touches). It's one of our favorite recent models in the popular genre of high-end steel sport watches.
For any budding watch nerds who aren't yet familiar with Czapek, it's the name of the watchmaker that co-founded the brand now known as Patek Philippe as Patek, Czapek & Cie. back in 1839. Czapek split with Patek to form his own company in 1845 that only lasted 24 years, but was re-launched in 2012 — and has quietly been a delight of independent watchmaking fans since.
The Antarctique is the brand's take on the popular genre of "lifestyle sport watch," with a steel case designed especially to fit its proprietary bracelet a là Gerald Genta's classic Royal Oak and Nautilus watches. (This "integrated bracelet" concept has seen a resurgence in popularity, especially among higher-end watchmakers.) The stainless steel case measures a moderate 40.5mm wide and 11.3mm thick and houses the brand's own SXH5 automatic movement with a microrotor. This is standard for the collection, but the new model stands out for its dial.
The version of the Antarctique called the Passage de Drake has a cool dial texture dubbed "Stairway to Eternity," and it usually comes in the common color choices of black, white or blue. Another way that the Fratello version feels particularly on-trend is that it adds a green "Veridian" variation with a pleasing kind of teal tone. A subtle difference from the rest of the collection is that the 12 o'clock Arabic numeral is here replaced by a double index — like on earlier models from the Antarctique collection — for Fratello.
Czapek doesn't mass-produce zillions of watches: This limited edition will only have 50 examples, so you'd better act fast if you want one. For a little sense of personalization, buyers get to specify if they want a seconds hand in plain steel, with an orange tip or one that's fully orange. In addition to the steel bracelet, the watch comes with a proprietary rubber strap, all for a price around $24,600 including European sales tax.