Czapek CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel tells the story of the Antarctique Rattrapante Ice BlueBorna Bošnjak
Czapek is a brand with an incredible feel-good story, and a manufacturer that finally seems to be getting the appreciation they deserve. While they’re far from a one-trick pony, one model is largely responsible for this – the Antarctique integrated-bracelet sports watch. Its intricate dials and excellent movement have granted it the waitlist status so many brands aspire towards, though Czapek aren’t ones to rest on their laurels. To celebrate their success, Czapek outfitted their sportiest model with a rattrapante chronograph, its third iteration the topic of the day. The Czapek Antarctique Chronograph Rattrapante Ice Blue was presented in 2022 as a subscription limited edition of 99 pieces, and though it has since sold out, we couldn’t miss bringing you this insight into one of the brand’s most complicated pieces, courtesy of Czapek’s charming CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel.
If you needed any more convincing – how many brand CEOs are out there saying that “We are imperfect, and our mechanics are not going to be perfect either. The thing is, it creates an adventure”?
Let’s take a brief, but closer look at the watch – it’s a doozy, folks. The Antarctique Rattrapante is a striking watch regardless of the colourway, though it certainly stands out the most with the translucent blue sapphire dial rings for the minute track and chrono sub-dials. This entire layout, chronograph works included, are based around symmetry. The two opposing column wheels at 6 and 12 o’clock bisect the dial which is anchored by the running seconds and 30-minute totaliser in the lower portion.
You might say that this leaves the top of the dial looking somewhat exposed, but it’s for good reason, as it leaves the levers engaging the chronograph on full display when engaged by the pushers. Those very pushers were just as meticulously fussed over by Czapek’s designers – De Roquemaurel describes this process better than I ever could. “I want to reveal the rattrapante. I’m ready to fight… no, wrestle, the constructor, the engineer, and make them adapt the concept, make them adapt each lever to make them beautiful.”, adding that “everything is harmonious, even though everything is different.”
The idea of symmetrical beauty continues into the substantial 42.5mm x 15.3mm stainless steel case, though it wasn’t without its challenges. The time-only automatic base of the movement was so slim, that the crown and pushers took a lot of work to avoid being awkwardly positioned. The result is a relatively slim midcase with an noticeably protruding box-domed sapphire crystal front that allowed the rattrapante chronograph mechanism to be added without bulking up the main portion of the case too much. In fact, measuring from bezel to caseback, the Antarctique Rattrapante only clocks in around 10.5mm.
To elaborate on the SXH6 movement further, it’s actually a monopusher chronograph, with the start-stop-reset functions operated by the pusher at 2 o’clock, and the rattrapante with the pusher at 10 o’clock. It’s a result of yet another Czapek-Chronode collaboration, following their work on the double-barrelled SXH1 and tourbillon-equipped SXH2. The SXH runs at 4Hz, and has a power reserve of 60 hours – though let’s be real, those specs aren’t the reason why you’d buy a watch like this. If I may nitpick one thing – I kind of wish the rattrapante pusher was integrated into the crown guard below the crown itself, just like the main chronograph button above it.
If you’re a regular reader of Time+Tide, you will have noticed that I haven’t broken down the Antarctique Rattrapante into the usual dial, case, movement etc. That’s merely because this watch is much more than the sum of its parts, each permeating the existence of the other. There is really no dial per se, and the construction of the case was affected by the movement so much that you have to talk about both in the same breath. Can you tell I like this watch?
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I loved the Antarctique before it was cool, and had I not been a sleep-deprived, teen-aged engineering student, I’d be doing all I can to add one of a Terre Adélie to my collection. That task has become much harder now, for two reasons. The first is that other collectors have caught wind of the Antarctique’s existence, and the other – there’s a split-seconds chronograph I can lust after, too.
Czapek Antarctique Chronograph Rattrapante Ice Blue pricing and availability
The Czapek Antarctique Chronograph Rattrapante Ice Blue was a limited edition of 99 pieces, all of which are now sold out. Price: CHF 50,000
|Antarctique Chronograph Rattrapante Ice Blue
|42.5mm (D) x 15.3mm (T)
|Box-domed sapphire front, sapphire back
|Openworked, blue sapphire glass
|Stainless steel bracelet, interchangeable, folding steel buckle
|SXH6, in collaboration with Chronode, automatic, column wheel and horizontal clutch rattrapante chronograph
|Hours, minutes, running seconds, split-seconds chronograph
|Sold out, limited edition of 99 pieces