If you’re reading this article on an online watch magazine platform, you don’t really need to be told that one of the hottest trends in watchmaking over the few years has been the integrated bracelet sports watch. In 2020, Czapek launched its Antarctique line, a new sports watch in a 41mm steel case with a new automatic movement. The watch’s name was a hint that the watch could be worn by an adventurer in any climate on any continent on the planet.
Last year, the brand launched its Antarctique Rattrapante. The rattrapante, or split seconds chronograph, is one of the most highly prized complications amongst collectors of vintage watches. Take a look at auction results over recent years and you’ll see just how important these watches are. Originally developed for racing drivers, it’s a stopwatch chronograph with two central sweep seconds hands that can be used to measure a number of events on one device. For example, if you want to time a multi-lap race and need a number of results — the overall time of the race, individual lap times and average speeds. On a rattrapante watch, you can start the chrono as normal to time the full length of the race using the first sweep seconds stopwatch hand. Additionally, you can use the second chronograph hand to time the first lap; press the button again and the second hand catches up with the first hand and you can stop it again to measure the next lap and so on.
A year after the launch of the Antarctique Rattrapante, the brand is releasing a new version called the Ice Blue. “We are continuing to explore the many possibilities offered by this very attractive and popular new family of watches,” says Czapek CEO, Xavier de Roquemaurel. “Adding the blue is like a signature for the whole collection: Antarctica, blue sky, blue sea, blue ice.”
Both the original 2021 model and the new Ice Blue have completely open dials that allow an unadulterated view of the split seconds movement in the lower half of the dial, including the column wheels and clamp. There is also a tripod bridge that holds down the patented satellite minute train and the split seconds mechanism. The watch is driven by the caliber SXH6, which is manufactured in collaboration with Chronode and is as aesthetically beautiful as it is technically adept. “The split seconds runs on energy tapped from the second wheel,” explains de Roquemaurel. “And in this movement, we favored a horizontal clutch rather than a vertical one to highlight the aesthetics of the transmission. Furthermore, to ensure the streamlined look of the watch, the number of parts and their thickness was reduced to a minimum. Everything had to fit in the 42.5mm case.”
The Ice Blue features a fumé-finished minute track and outer tracks on the subdials that are made from sapphire crystal treated using metal oxides. The blued hands sit well against the gray components of the movement, the front and back of which can be seen through the sapphire crystal and exhibition caseback.
The Antarctique Rattrapante Ice Blue comes on Czapek’s own stainless steel case bracelet, whose links are shaped like the letter C. It will be available in a limited edition of 99 pieces from April 2.
Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante Ice Blue
Movement: Caliber SXH6
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and split-second chronograph
Case: 42.5mm; stainless steel
Dial: Openworked with blue elements
Bracelet: Stainless steel integrated bracelet
Availability: From April 2 in a limited edition of 99 pieces