Czapek & Cie announced an interesting and complicated timepiece — with a split-second chronograph mechanism that’s visible on the dial side — this week in Geneva.
The Antarctique Rattrapante is presented in an attractive stainless steel Royal Oak-esque case, that measures 42.5 mm x 15.3 mm and features an integrated, tapered, brushed stainless steel bracelet with polished C-shaped center links. The case is water-resistant to 120 meters and there are optional integrated leather or rubber straps that can be swapped with the bracelet on the fly using the quick release system.
According to Czapek, “The Antarctique Rattrapante is the first split-second chronograph whose fascinating mechanism is visible from the dial side.”
Czapek & Cie has an association with Patek Philippe, historically, although the current iteration of the brand has no affiliation, and was relaunched in 2015. A company this young can rarely produce a basic movement within six years, and in this case, a split-second chronograph, so it comes as no surprise that Czapek’s manufacturing partner Chronode is the actual manufacturer of the complicated chronograph module that distinguishes the caliber SHX6.
Using two centrally mounted chronograph second hands, the split-seconds chronograph can time to separate events thanks to a horizontal clutch and column wheel (visible on the top of the dial), and another column wheel for switching between the two split-second chronographs (visible at the bottom of the dial).
The movement features a unique patented tripod-shaped bridge — which secures the satellite minute train — in the very center of the dial, and that supports the main hands (hours, minutes, chronograph seconds one, chronograph seconds two). The clamp, and split-second column wheel, on the bottom, are also the subject of a pending patent. Together, the clamp can immobilize one hand, and then release it, allowing it to catch up to the other chronograph seconds hand (“rattraper” in French).
Like many chronographs, the split-second runs on energy from the second wheel, which was something the company sacrificed when choosing the horizontal clutch over a vertical configuration for “aesthetics of the transmission,” according to Xavier de Roquemaurel, CEO of Czapek. In other words, Czapek chose form over function.
With the excellent symmetry of the components and the overall look of the dial, the CEO’s choice appears to be a good one with not much downside, assuming the horizontal clutch design is not robbing the powertrain of too much power. The automatic movement runs at 4Hz, has 292 components, 49 jewels, a 5N 18K red gold rotor, and 60-hours of power reserve.
The Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante will be available at the brand’s boutique in Geneva, official retailers, and online at Czapek.com, in a limited edition of 77 pieces. Retail is $51,900.
Learn more about Czapek.
Photos by Czapek.