Not new, but still great: Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante

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We take a second look at the rather amazing Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante. Not new as it was released in 2021 and we carried the release details with commentary then. But we had a close look at the watch again in Geneva this year.

Musings on the Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante

Since the initial release in 2021, where the entire lot of 99 pieces were sold out in a manner of a day or two, Czapek has released one addition version of a further 99 pieces with a facelift with blue accents in March 2022, and this was the version in this article. Though we had handled the watch when Xavier de De Roquemaurel, CEO of Czapek was in Singapore last year, we only managed to get our hands on to photograph the watch this year.

Seeing and handling the Antarctique Rattrapante again was a reacquaintance with a beautiful friend. We were reminded of her charms and once again fallen for her beauty. The case and bracelet is already one which is familiar to the Antarctique family. The same 70s inspired angular lines of the highly nuanced casework remain safe for the enlarged dimensions to accommodate the movement. As does the the same bracelet with polished C (for Czapek) shaped links. This arrangement is visually beautiful and allows for good flexibility of the bracelet making the 42.5mm diameter case feel rather comfortable on the wrist.

But of course the visual treat is the magnificence of the entire split seconds mechanism displayed dial side with the open worked face.

The movement is remarkable. A development Czapek undertook with independent movement house Jean-François Mojon of Chronode, the layout displays the double column wheel occupying the prime positions of 12 and 6 on the dial. The split seconds module by Chronode is placed on the dial side of the caliber SHX5, making it the “new” SHX6.

The finishing is excellent, as can be seen on the high polish on the column wheel.

While this arrangement of a module for the chronograph is not unusual, the placement of the module under the dial is a noticeable departure from the norm. A typical chronograph module is placed below the main wheel train, making it visible from the case back and not from the dial side. But in the SHX6, the entire module is visible through the open worked dial. And the case back shows a more familiar face of the rotor and movement bridges, including a peek at the balance bridge with two magnificently finished anglagéd openings.

The retail price has risen from the initial launch watch with a tag of CHF 46k to CHF 50k. But all considered, the Antartique Rattrapante is still a lot of watch for the money. The open worked dial is a marvel. And the movement is exceptional. A ground up, double column wheel split seconds chronograph executed in stainless steel with a steel bracelet, it can be considered to be rather well priced.

Competitive landscape

Competitively, there are not many split seconds chronograph to begin with, and those who compete within the space of a luxury steel watch in bracelet is even more rare. We cannot think of even one other maker in this space. The Chopard Alpine Eagle is only available with a single chronograph. As is the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5990 as a single chronograph with dual timezone. The Lange Odysseus Chronograph also is a single chronograph, and though the marque has proven capabilities with split second chronographs, ably demonstrated in their Double Split and Triple Split, these watches are only available as dressy designs with cases in precious metals. Audemars Piguet has a Royal Oak Split Seconds Chronograph, but that is in their Concept range with a dual time additional complication or as a Grande Complication with Perpetual Calendar.

Concluding thoughts

Overall, we loved the Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante. To us, it ticks all the boxes. Great looks: check! Comfortable to wear, even as a daily use urban watch: check! Superb movement with excellent finishing: check! Great value for money, though CHF 50k is no small change: check!