It is exceedingly rare to find a watch signed by François Czapek's firm Czapek & Cie., active only during a relatively short period of time.
On 1 May 1839 François Czapek and Antoine Patek, both Polish emigrants, established their watch manufacture in Geneva. The small company Patek, Czapek & Co. employed half a dozen of workmen and had a yearly output of around 200 high quality watches.
In 1845 Czapek terminated his cooperation with Patek and set up its own company Czapek & Cie. in 1851, hence entering in direct competition with his former associate Patek & Cie. Czapek specialised in commemorative and jubilee watches, watches with engraved coat-of-arms, portraits or religious subjects. Czapek also worked as watchmaker for Napoleon III, the French Emperor from 1852 to 1870, for whom he obviously made the present watch, bearing the Emperor's emblem.
For a note on Napoleon III see lot 451 in this auction.