Franciszek Czapek was born in 1881 in Semonice, Bohemia, which is nowadays the Czech Republic. At a young age, he emigrated to Poland with his family. He was forced to flee to Switzerland in 1832 following the collapse of the Polish uprising of which he was a member. By this time, he was already a talented watchmaker and soon opened his first watchmaking company, “Czapek & Moreau,” with a local partner, and changed his name to François.
In 1836 Francois Czapek met a fellow Polish emigrant, Antoine Norbert de Patek, an encounter that changed both of their lives. Together they founded the company Patek, Czapek & Cie on May 1, 1839. Their partnership lasted six years, during which time they created exceptional timepieces. They dissolved their partnership in 1845, but both men continued producing watches. Czapek founded Czapek & Cie with a new partner, Juliusz Gruzewski, and Patek founded Patek.
One of the greatest watchmakers
Czapek is recognized as one of the greatest watchmakers of the nineteenth century. He was even the Watchmaker of His Imperial Highness, Prince Napoleon. By 1850, the company had boutiques in Geneva, Warsaw, and Paris. Unfortunately, in 1869 Czapek & Cie just disappeared from the history books.
Czapek & Cie: The Rebirth
In 2012, three entrepreneurs decided to revive the Czapek & Cie brand. They studied Czapek’s historic timepieces to understand his work and started on their new designs. They chose an unusual path to launch and offered fellow watch lovers the chance to join in the adventure by investing through a crowdfunding platform. On November 10, 2015, the company was reborn in front of journalists, friends, and watch lovers in Geneva. By 2016 Czapek & Cie wins the coveted Public Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, a real recognition of their efforts!
Who Owns Czapek & Cie?
Czapek & Cie is owned by its three founders, Sébastien Follonier, a watchmaker, Xavier de Roquemaurel, the CEO, and Harry Guhl, Chairman. As well as 200+ shareholders who invested through an equity crowdfunding campaign during Czapek & Cie’s relaunch in 2015. The company is based in Geneva, Switzerland, where it has a boutique only a few steps away from the Czapek’s original atelier, from 1845
Each of Czapek & Cie’s collections is named after a location frequented by Francois Czapek. For example, The Faubourg de Cracovie collection is named after the location of François Czapek’s third boutique in Warsaw, Poland, and the Place Vendôme Tourbillon Suspendu after the site of his second boutique in Paris.