The Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante Silver Grey (Live Pics & Price)
A superb dial-side split-seconds chronograph mechanism.
While the roots of the brand date back to François Czapek, a Czech-born Polish watchmaker who fled to Geneva in 1832 after fighting in the Polish uprising, Czapek & Cie. was resuscitated in 2015 thanks to equity crowdfunding. In just a few years, the brand presented four different collections, the elegant Quai des Bergues, the Place Vendôme Tourbillon, the Faubourg de Cracovie Chronograph and, finally, the Antarctique luxury sports watch powered by the beautiful in-house SXH5 micro-rotor movement. Following the successful introduction of the time-only Antarctique, the model is now fitted with a spectacular split-seconds chronograph movement whose intricacies are visible dial side. Meet the Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante Silver Grey.
If the chronograph is one of the most revered complications, the ‘rattrapante’ (or split-seconds) function takes it to a whole new level. The word ‘rattrapante’ translates from the French ‘to catch up’. Rattrapante chronographs feature two superimposed seconds hands that time two events of different lengths simultaneously. One hand (the rattrapante) can be stopped to read an intermediate time, while the other one (the trotteuse) keeps running. A second push on the rattrapante pusher allows the stopped hand to catch up with the moving hand.
The first thing to catch your eye with the Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante is how the brand has staged its intricate and beautifully finished split-seconds chronograph mechanism dial side, proudly displaying the movement’s two column wheels, horizontal clutch and rattrapante clamp. The sub-dials (the minute totalizer at 4 o’clock and the small seconds at 7 o’clock), which are reminiscent of the Quai des Bergues layout, are positioned in the lower part of the dial, freeing space for the chronograph mechanism. The rattrapante mechanism is visible in the lower part of the dial with its column wheel and clamp. The cool tripod bridge in the centre holds a patented satellite minute train and the patent-pending split-seconds mechanism in place.
The automatic calibre SXH6 is manufactured with Jean-François Mojon of Chronode (just like the Quai des Bergues SXH1 and the Place Vendôme Tourbillon SXH2 – Noteworthy info, Mojon first worked on chronographs some 20 years ago when at IWC) in Le Locle. Turning the watch over, the automatic base movement can be admired via the exhibition caseback. Its variable inertia balance is held under a full bridge and runs at 4Hz. The power reserve is of 60 hours. The rotor is fitted with a pink gold weight.
This 292-part movement of calibre SXH6 is housed in a 42.5mm x 15.3mm steel case with an integrated steel bracelet. Thanks to the use of a box sapphire crystal, the height (from the bezel to the caseback) is 10.5mm. As a monopusher chronograph, the pusher integrated at 2 o’clock in the crown guard allows you to operate the start-stop-reset functions. The split-seconds function is actuated using the 10 o’clock pusher. Water-resistance is rated 120m.
The Antarctique Rattrapante comes with Czapek’s stainless steel bracelet, with links shaped like a stylized letter C; it is closed by a folding buckle. The brand’s interchangeability system lets you swap the bracelet for a rubber or a leather strap in seconds.
The Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante Silver Grey edition will be available at the brand’s boutique in Geneva, official retailers and online at czapek.com in a limited edition of 77 pieces through a subscription campaign. It retails for CHF 46,000. For more information, please visit www.czapek.com.
This is what the Antarctique was meant to be. Love the attention to detail, especially the way the monopusher has been seamlessly blended into the case. As far as I know there are presently only three high-grade metal bracelet sporty rattrapantes on the market, where before Monday there was merely one (Journe’s Linesport), and this is the only one in steel (Parmigiani’s is in platinum), with a dial-side exposure of the complex mechanism.
This is going to be sacrilegious, but despite its impressiveness I’d like to see how this would look with a solid dial – smooth or guilloché. Of course it’s great as it stands, though.