François Czapek was a Czech-born Polish watchmaker who arrived in Switzerland in 1832 after the fall of the Polish insurrection. He was a remarkable watchmaker, and soon after his arrival, in 1832, he created with a local Swiss watchmaker, his first ‘Entreprise’, CZAPEK & MOREAU.
In the year 1836 Czapek met Patek, another Polish émigré, whose background was in the military. Both men had participated to the Polish uprising and became very close. Czapek introduced Patek to the pinnacle of fine watchmaking and presented him to his future wife, Marie Denizart.
On May 1, 1839, Antoni Patek and François Czapek established a six years partnership in Geneva under the name of PATEK, CZAPEK & CIE. This partnership produced some exceptional watches. Czapek was head of watchmaking (“Finisseur”) while Patek led the sales and the Company.
After the dissolution of the initial partnership, on May 1, 1845, Patek established a new company bearing his name and Czapek founded CZAPEK & CIE. Czapek’s new company flourished. He became watchmaker to the Court of the Emperor Napoleon III and had an Atelier in Geneva, a shop in Paris, Place Vendôme, and another in Warsaw. He wrote a book about watchmaking, one of the first ever written in Polish, yet passed away before publishing the second one.
Czapek’s legacy of precision and fine artistry continues today in the hands of Swiss entrepreneurs and watchmakers who transformed the iconic watch company Czapek & Cie into a contemporary boutique brand.