A highly skilled watchmaker, Francisek Czapek was born in 1811 in Semonice in the Kingdom of Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), it was from here that his family later emigrated to Poland. Czapek took part in the Polish uprising and following its collapse, he fled to Switzerland in 1832. In 1836, Czapek met Antoni Patek Prawdzic, like him, a Polish émigré and together the pair founded the firm Patek, Czapek & Cie on 1 May 1839. The partnership lasted only 6 years and was dissolved in 1845 with Czapek setting up his own business, Czapek & Cie with a new partner, Juliusz Gruzewski on 1 May 1845. Many of Czapek's watches, such as the present piece, were produced for the Polish market and frequently featured cases decorated with portraiture or scenes of a commemorative, historical or religious nature. Czapek became watchmaker to His Imperial Highness, Prince Napoleon and the firm had retail premises in Paris, Warsaw and Geneva. Czapek ceased trading in 1869 but 143 years later, in 2012, the company name was re-established.
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