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Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante “Sunrise”

When the official Only Watch 2021 lineup dropped back in July, I remember one of the first watches that caught my attention was the Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante "Sunrise." A new split-seconds take on the brand's hit sport watch, which debuted just last year, all we had to go off on for the Only Watch release was a sketch – no renderings or press images at all.
At Geneva Watch Days this week, Czapek surprisingly jumped the gun on its own Only Watch release by dropping the new Antarctique Rattrapante, a limited edition of 77 watches that takes the high-end chronograph complication and literally turns it inside out with the split-seconds mechanism visible through the dial.

Czapek says that the roots for this project date to the earliest days for the brand, since it was revived in the early 2010s. As part of the re-registration of the Czapek name, the company introduced a limited-edition chronograph based around a small series of vintage Valjoux 7733 movements. One early supporter of the brand remarked how much they enjoyed seeing the pivoting cams in action, and the rest is history.

Eventually, in working with Chronode, the company's manufacturing partner that's run by indie hitmaker Jean-Francois Mojon, the idea to implement a split-seconds module onto the dial was born, so that the entire operation of the clamp, the column wheels, horizontal clutch, and levers is visible. A proprietary caliber developed by Chronode, Czapek has filed a number of patents based around the movement design, including for the satellite minute train and the split-seconds mechanism. A limited-edition of just 77 pieces, the Antarctique Rattrapante is a monopusher chronograph placed inside of a streamlined 42.5mm case and paired with the now-signature Antarctique integrated bracelet.
I remember the first time I came across the reborn Czapek & Cie. company. I have to admit I was skeptical at first – new brands come and go all the time – but the first experience I had meeting CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel and handling the watches in person confirmed the quality and level of detail involved in each piece. Ever since then, I've continued to be impressed with the contemporary evolution of Czapek. Although I've yet to see one in person, I quite liked the Antarctique when it was introduced last year. It was a relatively fresh take on the integrated stainless steel sport trend, and yet I felt like it needed another ingredient to really shine. I just had no idea that the ingredient consisted of one of the most complicated mechanisms in watchmaking.
I'm on the record stating my fascination with and enjoyment of rattrapante complications. I expect this iteration of the Antarctique to be no different. In fact, I think it will push my – and many others' – appreciation for the genre even further. Why? Well, one of the reasons my heart skips a beat when engaging with a split-seconds chronograph is the amount of kinetic energy on display. Start, stop, restart. Not as frenetic as a tourbillon, and totally controlled by the wearer of the watch, it's an intriguing way to interact with the passage of time.

Czapek's method of opening up the world inside a rattrapante chronograph for all to see should only enhance that visual interest.

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