About two months ago, I covered the release of the new Czapek Quai des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil on Fratello. Now I’ve had the time to go hands-on and truly appreciate what this watch is all about. Does the new size make sense between the existing 38.5mm and 42.5mm offerings? And what impression does this modern-formal Czapek make on me overall?

I have spent some time with the black-dial version in steel. As you can see in the photos, this one came on a smooth black leather strap. If you were to purchase one, you would get an alligator version. For export/customs reasons, that has been omitted from the press sample.

Czapek Quai Des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil

The Czapek Quai des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil

This new Czapek Quai des Bergues was released just last October. Of course, the Quai des Bergues line was already quite extensive, with different materials, sizes, colors, markers, and handsets to choose from.

With 38.5mm and 42.5mm offerings already available, this one sits right in the middle with its new 40.5mm size. It also has a new guilloché pattern on the dial. This “Double Soleil” motif looks a little more modern, radiating out from the sub-dials. It suits the overall contemporary aesthetic of this version with its arrow hands. The contrast with the more classical versions with Fleur-de-lys hands and Roman numerals is even greater now.

Czapek Quai Des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil dial close-up

I much prefer these contemporary versions. They show much more of modern-day Czapek’s original design DNA. They are also still elegant enough to be truly formal watches. To me, though, they look a bit cleaner and tidier than the more elaborate Fleur-de-lys versions.

Czapek Quai Des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil specifications

The steel case of the Czapek Quai Des Bergues 40.5mm measures 47.67mm from tip to tip and 11.9mm tall, including the front and rear crystals. The visual height of the watch, however, is broken up by the recessed flanks and the crown guards emanating from it on one side.

Inside ticks the SXH1 movement. This caliber was developed specifically for Czapek and is characterized by its frosted plates and open-worked ratchets and bridges. It consists of 160 components, of which 31 are jewels and two are barrel springs. Those barrels allow for a 168-hour or seven-day power reserve.

You will find sapphire crystals with an underside antireflective coating on both the front and back of the watch. The top crystal is slightly domed, and water resistance is rated at 5 ATM. As mentioned above, the watch usually comes on an alligator strap, unlike the press model you see here. Czapek makes a point of noting on the website that the watch doesn’t just meet the minimum requirements to bear the
Swiss Made” label but, rather, is 100% Swiss made.

Czapek Quai Des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil power reserve indicator

Historic inspiration for the Czapek Quai des Bergues

The exceptionally long power reserve of the Czapek Quai des Bergues 40.5mm is visible on the dial. The sub-dial between 4 and 5 o’clock puts it on display in a rather unusual manner. As you see, there is a single two-sided hand pointing simultaneously at a weekday and a number. Hold on; is this a day complication or a power reserve indicator?

In a sense, it is both. This is a nod to Czapek’s history. François Czapek manufactured pocket watches with this style of power reserve indicator in the 19th century. The idea was quite simple. In those days, you would wind your watch once a week, on Sunday after mass. If you did, one end of the hand would point at the day of the week, while the other would point at the remaining power reserve, indicated by the number of days. In other words, fully wound, it points at Sunday and seven days remaining.

Naturally, if you decide to be rebellious and wind your watch on any other day, you can just stop winding once it points at the correct day. The watch will then force you into its rhythm by running dry on Sunday after all. Visually, the PR sub-dial is offset nicely by the running seconds between 7 and 8 o’clock.

Czapek Quai Des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil pocket shot

Wearing the Czapek Quai des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil

I fully expected the Czapek Quai des Bergues 40.5mm to be a bit too big for my liking. I was wrong. Once again, the proportions of the watch determine its character. At this size, it feels like a bit more of a modern statement piece. Judging from this one, I expect the 38.5mm to feel more like a classical dress watch, while I expect the 42.5mm version to be too large for me. Note that this exact configuration in terms of case and dial isn’t available in those other sizes.

What immediately stands out is that this is a beautifully made watch. Everything is perfectly brushed or polished, sharp, and confident. Although this Czapek Quai Des Bergues is certainly subtle and under the radar, it is also very clearly a high-end watch. Even from a distance, when you cannot yet spot what it is, it exudes quality.

Czapek Quai Des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil wrist shot

Operating the movement is an absolute joy. Winding it feels buttery — I hear it but hardly feel the individual teeth meshing. Setting the time is equally pleasurable, with just the right amount of resistance. The one gripe I have with the wearing experience is legibility. The black guilloché dial is quite reflective, and so are the mirror-polished hands and indices. In the wrong light, the hands disappear completely. Viewing this dial is such a joy, though, that I prefer looking twice over dulling any of the surfaces for legibility’s sake.

Appreciating the view

The Czapek Quai des Bergues 40.5mm looks great on the wrist, but it is worth admiring off the forearm too. For starters, the case flanks are very nicely done. They are concave with a bead-blasted interior. This lowers the perceived height of the case and makes the polished surfaces stand out even more. On the wrist, the case looks deceptively simple. Upon closer inspection, however, it is quite intricately shaped.

We find the only brushed surfaces on the crown guards. They flow out of the concave flank and feature beautifully polished chamfers of their own. The one thing I didn’t like as much here is the way the crown — by design — always looks as if it is pulled out. I found myself regularly checking if the crown was properly pushed in.

This, however, is one of those watches you would want to wear upside down too. The caliber, with its open-worked ratchets and bridges, is beautiful. Hand-wound time-only calibers can be a bit boring to look at. Not this one. The plates feature polished chamfers, neatly offsetting the matte frosted surfaces. In short, the Czapek Quai des Berges 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil is a bit of a looker.

Closing thoughts

As you can tell, I have been positively surprised by the Czapek Quai des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil. It has a distinct character, especially in this contemporary guise. The handset, lowered sub-dials, concave case flanks, and sharp guilloché dial go together extremely well.

It is, however, a subdued slow-release charmer. This isn’t the kind of watch that blows you away — at least, not at a glance. I would even understand if you perhaps found it boring. But it isn’t. It is just subtle in a good way. You don’t buy this watch to show off. You buy it to quietly enjoy it whenever you gaze at your wrist.

The Czapek Quai des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil is priced at CHF 18,800 (excluding VAT). It is available with both Tuxedo Black and Deep Blue dials.

What do you think of the Quai des Bergues? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch specifications

Quai des Bergues 40.5mm N°17 Double Soleil
Tuxedo Black or Deep Blue with exclusive "Double Soleil" guilloché pattern, applied indices, and arrow hands
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
40.5mm (diameter) × 47.67mm (lug-to-lug) × 11.9mm (thickness)
Domed sapphire with antireflective coating on underside
Case Back
Stainless steel and sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on underside
Czapek SXH1 — proprietary caliber, manual winding, 21,600vph frequency, seven-day (168-hour) power reserve, 31 jewels, variable-inertia balance wheel, two barrels
Water Resistance
Black or blue alligator with stainless steel pin buckle
Time (hours, minute, small seconds), day/power reserve indicator
CHF 18,800 (excluding VAT)