GWD: Introducing the Czapek & Cie. Antarctique RattrapanteBy Israel Ortega
Czapek & Cie. continues to expand the Antarctique offer with the introduction of a new chronograph: the Antarctique Rattrapante. This watch is the first split-seconds chronograph whose skeletonized mechanism is visible from the dial side.
The project’s roots go back to the company’s founding. In 2012, the brand presented a limited edition of timepieces bearing the vintage Valjoux 7733 caliber as part of the re-registration of the Czapek name.
Czapek created the new SHX6 caliber in collaboration with Chronode. The movement focuses on the tripod bridge in the center that holds a patented satellite minute train and the patent-pending rattrapamte (or split-seconds) mechanism below. The minute totalizer at four o’clock and small seconds at seven o’clock serve as apparent visual support for the whole.
To ensure that the watch offered a look of high craftsmanship, it was necessary to reduce the number and thickness of the main components. “Just like the classic chronograph, the rattrapante runs on energy obtained from the second wheel. This time, we preferred a horizontal clutch rather than a vertical one to enhance the aesthetics of the transmission,” explains Xavier.
Per Roquemaurel, there’s an essential antecedent for this new watch. In 2012, as part of the proceedings to bring back Czapek to life, they’d developed a 12-piece run of a chronograph which ran with the sturdy, hand-wound Valjoux 7733 beating inside. As it happens, the rough 7733 is also a nice showcase of how mechanical chronographs work due to the visibility of its moving cams and levers. So making a chronograph movement apparent, open-worked, and beautiful was a “must” for any future Czapek chronograph. They tried to develop the first in-house chrono back in 2015, but, as Xavier says, they failed. And they failed again in 2018. But in 2019, they went back, this time with partner Chronode and from that came the altogether new open-worked rattrapante movement SHX6, visible from the dial side of this new, cool Antarctique Rattrapante.
The Antarctique Rattrapante can be described in two sections of its dial: the upper one presents some elements of the chronograph —from 9 to 3 o’clock: the lever that connects the chronograph wheel with the seconds wheel; the pillar wheel that controls the chronograph function; and the large reset hammer that is armed when the counter is started—; and the lower one carries the constant seconds, the chronograph minute register and the spit seconds system assembly with its dedicated clamp, which serves to stop the rattrapante seconds, and the second pillar wheel for split-seconds hand control. Above all this, at the center of the watch, sits the tripod. Below it lies the split-seconds assembly; above it is the almost floating minute gear train.
Antarticque has become the proverbial shot of adrenaline that has re-established Czapek’s direction. Since its launch in 2019, the watch has become a sort of beacon of originality and prestige that the house has been able to capitalize on to satisfy the tastes of its customers, many of whom had a lot to do with the watch’s realization. For the new timepiece, Roquemaurel and his team took the same case as a base and then developed the integrated pushers without affecting the overall thickness of the design. The Antarctique Rattrapante comes with Czapek’s custom integrated steel bracelet with its stylized “C” shaped links. The watch will be available at the brand’s Geneva boutique, through official retailers, and on Czapek.com in a limited edition of 77 pieces.
Movement: Mechanical self-winding, cal. SHX6; hours, minutes & small seconds; split-seconds chronograph; 28,000 A/h; 60-hour power reserve
Case: Stainless steel, 42.5mm, glassbox sapphire crystal, 120-meter WR
Bracelet: Integrated design with folding clasp; leather or rubber strap available
Price: 46,000 CHF
Limited to 77 pieces