A collaboration between Arab Watch Club and Czapek to create a one-off wristwatch that will benefit a good cause has reach fruition. Inlaid with an unusual green mineral, the Place Vendôme “Al Kanz” is decorated with engraved motifs inspired by Middle Eastern culture.
Al kanz, or أل كنز, is Arabic for “the treasure”, and the namesake watch will be exhibited in Dubai later this month before being sold at Christie’s online auction in November, with all proceeds going to the Emirates Foundation, a charity established by the government of Abu Dhabi.
One-off watches created for charity auctions make sense, since they benefit both the watchmaker and a worthy cause, which in this case is an organisation focused on youth in the region. The brainchild of Hassan Akhras, founder of Arab Watch Club (AWC), the Al Kanz is a thoughtful collaboration that has resulted in a striking watch.
The use of zoisite adds new colour to the watch, with the bright green mineral rings highlighting the architecture of the movement. In fact, the stock version of the Place Vendôme is a bit too plain, while this version is livened up just enough. Although the green and aubergine accents are striking, they are relatively restrained so the overall appearance remains classical and clean.
The highlight of the Al Kanz is definitely the dial. The additional of colour and texture to the sub-dials immediately set it apart from the standard Place Vendôme models that are mostly clad in uniform colours. The key ingredient in the colour palette is the chapter ring for the 12 o’clock sub-dial, which is is made of zoisite. It’s a green mineral stone that is being used on a watch for the first time according to Czapek.
Inside the zoisite chapter ring is an aubergine centre that’s been hand engraved by Swiss engraver Michèle Rothen-Rebetez (who’s probably best known for her work with De Bethune) with a motif inspired by the geometric patterns commonly found in Islamic architecture. But unlike the chapter ring, the dial centre is not stone, despite the uncommon colour. Instead, it is a conventional brass dial with the colour achieved through electroplating.
And the psychedelic section sits just below, in the two rings for the lower sub-dials. Made of steel, the rings are treated with chemical vapour deposition (CVD) to create an iridescent, metallic finish.
Mechanically the watch is identical to the standard model, hand wound with a 60-hour power reserve. Though seemingly complicated at first glance, the dial is actually easy to read. The hours and minutes are at noon, while the second time zone is at the bottom right. The second time zone hand is fixed, and read against a rotating, 12-hour scale, in conjunction with the day and night indicator at six o’clock.
The SXH2 movement is also finished like the original, which means sand-blasted frosting on bridges on the front and back, along with a handful of decorative extras in the form of sharp outward angles in the bevelled edges of the bridges, although there are no sharp inward angles.
Key facts and price
Czapek Place Vendôme “Al Kanz”
Diameter: 43.5 mm
Water resistance: 50 m
Dial: Chapter ring for time in Zoisite stone
Functions: Hours, minutes, second time zone with day and night indicator, power reserve indicator, and tourbillon
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 60 hours
Strap: Alligator with titanium buckle
Limited edition: Unique piece
Availability: To be sold at Christie’s Geneva online watch auction taking place from November 5-19, 2020
For more information, visit Christies.com.
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