Introducing: The Czapek Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector
It is an understatement to say that the Czapek Antarctique is a successful addition to the realm of integrated-bracelet sports watches. It has been applauded by the watch media, and Czapek struggles to meet the demand. Our very own Fratello limited edition of 50 pieces sold out in an hour, which probably tells you a lot. Now though, just ahead of Watches and Wonders, the house shares the latest iteration of its hit — the Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector. A new metal and a new dial grace an otherwise familiar recipe. Let’s have a closer look!
Czapek will produce only 100 of these new Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector watches per year. So if you like your sports watches rare, I would urge you to read on…
What remains of the original Antarctique
Before we get into the things that have changed, let me first run you through what has remained the same. We still get the beautiful case and integrated bracelet that we know from previous versions. The case is still intricately shaped, with its slotted flanks and the clever crown guards emerging from them. We still get that beautiful radial brushing on the top of the mid-case, and the sharply downward-angled lugs are still there, providing a comfortable fit, even on smaller wrists. The size remains 40.5mm, and the case still has a 120m water resistance rating.
Luckily, the movement also remains the same. Inside the Dark Sector, we find the impressive SHX5, Czapek’s first fully in-house-developed caliber. You get to admire it through the display case back, which is a good thing. This, my dear Fratelli, is a bit of a looker.
Old-school finger bridges are partly to thank for those looks. They provide a more intricate and open appearance. The caliber is darkened and embellished with several different finishing techniques. A micro-rotor made of recycled platinum provides the required winding. On a full wind, it will run for 60 hours, ticking at 28,800vph. Expect accuracy to be scarily close to +/- 0 seconds per day, although it is not specified.
A titanium suit of armor
With all of that remaining the same, let’s take a look at what sets the Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector apart from its steel siblings — the metal. This new version of the Antarctique is made of titanium. That includes the integrated bracelet, marking a first for the brand. You also get a secondary gray rubber strap for variety’s sake.
Czapek uses Grade 5 titanium for the Antarctique. Compared to pure Grade 2 titanium, Grade 5 features 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, 0.25% iron, and 0.2% oxygen. It is stronger and, therefore, often preferred by higher-end watchmakers.
The Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector is largely finished in the same way as the steel versions. There is one pretty noticeable difference, though — the characteristic bridge-shaped center links of the bracelet. These are polished on the steel models and brushed on the Dark Sector. I very much prefer this fully brushed look!
The Dark Sector dial
The other distinguishing feature of the new model is its dial, which is the source of its name. Czapek opted to apply curved markers everywhere except for where they usually are. In other words, the markers are executed in negative or “dark sectors.” The name is derived from the Dark Sector Laboratory and telescopes at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Guess where that is… In the Antarctic! Pretty neat, right? I guess you have plenty of time to think of great names when you have all these inward angles to hand-chamfer.
Czapek finished the dial in a clean matte anthracite color. There are some subtle red accents above the 12 o’clock…eh…dark sector, as well as on the seconds hand. The two rows of curved indices are faceted. At first glance, they remind me of ripples in water. I cannot deny that I like the look!
Closing thoughts on the Czapek Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector
Czapek has managed to create a new version of the Antarctique that looks bold and different. At the same time, it does not look like it is trying too hard to be different. Nothing is more challenging than creating a new version of a successful original. Somehow, the Dark Sector feels like a cohesive and congruent design. It is probably good to explicitly clarify that this new model sits alongside the existing collection; it is not a replacement.
I am yet to handle the new Dark Sector, but I can only assume it is built and finished like its siblings. That means it will be thoroughly impressive. I am curious to experience how light it is. The titanium build should make quite a difference, even if there is still a heavy platinum pendulum swinging around inside.
As mentioned, Czapek will produce 100 of these per year. The new Antarctique Titanium Dark Sector will set you back CHF 32,000.
What do you think of the new Czapek Antactique in titanium? Let us know in the comments below!
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