THE TOP WATCH REVIEWS OF 2021 – The Monochrome Montre de Souscription 2 x Czapek Antarctique “Monochrome White” (#20)Zach Blass
Editor’s note: There were a lot of watches released in 2021 and the Time+Tide team endeavoured to review as many of them as we possibly could. Here we count down the Top 30 reviews of the year by traffic. At number 20, it’s the The Monochrome Montre de Souscription 2 x Czapek Antarctique “Monochrome White”…
While the collection has been around for years now, more and more members of the watch community are waking up to the appeal of the Czapek Antarctique. We have lauded the watch here on the site for being a wonderful (and possibly better) alternative to some of the more unobtanium integrated sports watches. We were very impressed when our friends at Fratello Watches created their own limited-edition variant, and used the launch as a moment to really dig deeper into the roots of the Czapek name and brand. But today it is our friends at Monochrome Watches’ turn to make their mark on the Antarctique. Previous Antarctique watches were known for their dial textures and colours, the Terre Adélie collection decorated using the lamé technique and the Passage de Drake with a flinqué dial, but Monochrome has decided to breakthrough with simplicity – resulting in Czapek producing a matte-grained dial in silvery white for the first time for the line.
The beauty of the Czapek Antarctique collection is that it leverages familiar elements of popularised integrated stainless-steel sports watches, but in a manner where the sum of these elements results in something fresh and different. Its stainless-steel case, 40.5mm x 10.6mm x 44.3mm, conveys a variety of aesthetics – with brushed, polished, and scalloped surfaces. While the Czapek Antarctique Monochrome White is very elegant in its appearance, an inevitability of a top-tier luxury sports watch, it is also very robust with a depth rating of 120 metres. With its crisp silvery-white dial, the watch could easily serve as someone’s “one watch”. Worn with a suit, the elegance of the mixed finishes and versatility of the monochromatic dial would certainly make a winning pairing. But this stainless-steel piece also has a casual air to it as well, ensuring it would be right at home with a fresh white tee, jeans, and a pair of Nike Air Force Ones.
Digging into the dial a bit further, in a year where colour has overtaken the conversation – greens and Tiffany blues – it is nice to see someone elect to win through simplicity. Previous Czapek Antarctique dials have utilised intriguing textures and guilloches, but the Monochrome White exercises subtlety. The silvered-white dial has a grained surface that results in a sort of frost white reminiscent of winter. Its silver white hue not only blends a bit with the colour of the stainless-steel case, but also the concentrically brushed outer-minutes track.
Appropriately given Czapek’s partner-in-crime here, the watch has, in my opinion, an attractive monochromatic aesthetic that essentially uses the same colour throughout to slightly varying degrees of lightness and darkness. It gives it a timeless vibe, a watch that will never really go out of fashion. At 6 o’clock, a calendar complication symmetrically positions itself on the dial causing little interruption to the minimalist appearance. Claw-like applied indices reach beyond the brushed minutes track onto the grained silvery-white dial, each of which, as well as the hour and minute hands, are filled with SuperLuminova® – a characteristic of true sports watches. Part of me would have preferred that the central seconds hand was not red-tipped, a minor break from the monochromatic scheme, but, practically speaking, it does make the hand much easier to read as it sweeps across the dial.
You really get a lot of bang for your buck with the Czapek Antarctique Monochrome White, with three quick-release strap options to pair with the case. The first, pictured, is an integrated stainless-steel bracelet with distinct “C-links” that pay homage to the Czapek name. Their polished finish makes them really pop out against the predominantly brushed surfaces of the bracelet, which is secured to the wrist by my personal favorite style of clasp: the twin-trigger butterfly clasp. For a more casual and dressed-down vibe, you can also elect to pair the case with either of the black or white textured rubber straps included with your purchase. And remember, they’re all quick release – so it’s a breeze to swap between the trio.
Visible beneath an exhibition sapphire caseback is the Czapek in-house automatic calibre SXH5. The 100% recycled 950 platinum micro-rotor and open architecture allow you to really soak in all of the inner-workings of the calibre, a visual feast for the eyes. While a brand rooted in tradition, the calibre leverages a very modern aesthetic that incorporates traditional finishes. The open ratchets and sandblasted black bridges ooze modernity, but on the traditional front you have top-class bevelling with six hand-chamfered inward angles (a trademark of high level finishing and mastery). The gear train and balance wheel are all in plain view, with the bridges, as well as the full balance bridge, openworked so you may see clearly beneath. Within a single barrel, you still receive a solid 60 hours of power reserve – so the watch will only stop running if you can manage not to wear the watch for 2.5 days.
Monochrome Montre de Souscription 2 x Czapek Antarctique Monochrome White pricing and availability:
The Monochrome Montre de Souscription 2 x Czapek Antarctique Monochrome White is limited to 33 pieces and will be available via a subscription campaign at shop.monochrome-watches.com. The pre-order campaign will start on December 16 (at 3pm Central European Time / 9 am New York time / 10 pm Singapore time) and ends on December 30. Price: €17,200 (excluding taxes), includes free insured international shipping and a three-year warranty from Czapek.
When ordering the watch, Monochrome will ask for a non-refundable deposit of €5,200 (excl. taxes). The remaining €12,000 plus the applicable VAT/tax for your country, will be charged when the watch is ready to be shipped. The watch will be shipped from Europe.