The Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante brings skeletonized wonder to the integrated bracelet scene The Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante brings skeletonized wonder to the integrated bracelet scene

The Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante brings skeletonized wonder to the integrated bracelet scene

Thor Svaboe

I’ll be blunt and admit the Czapek Antarctique became a strong personal favourite in the integrated bracelet game when it smashed onto the scene last year. This time Czapek throws us a curveball with a complex skeletonized version featuring a new, fascinating movement bringing the best of vintage haute horlogerie back to the future of watchmaking.

What sets the Antarctique apart from the baying crowd is the broad H-link bracelet – though the eye-catching shape is, of course, a polished stylised “C”. From a lug-less damn near perfect 40.5mm case and a brushed dial it made me forget a few other top tier contenders within the mythical Holy Trinity, and the introductory Terre Adelie series is now sold out.

This time Czapek shows us their vertical composition recognizable from the Quai de Bregues series. This is a trademark balanced dial layout that has the twin registers at the base of the dial, ensuring a recognizable signature also visible in Czapek’s tempting complexity of the Place Vendome references.

Understandably the case of the Antarctique is slightly broader at 42.5mm, an increase well worth every millimetre to make room for the SHX6 caliber, Czapek’s proprietary movement produced in collaboration with Chronode. This sits within the 15.3mm case, and is a 4hz movement with a 60-hour power reserve. The Rattrapante chronograph complication is a traditional high point in any catalogue, but here Czapek transforms this traditional masterpiece into a future-proof monochrome world of discovery.

CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel tells us that the roots of the project trace back to the founding of the company: “In 2012, we launched a limited-edition chronograph run on a small series of vintage Valjoux 7733 as part of the re-registration of the name Czapek, and then sold a few pieces to friends as a way to raise funds for the project.”

One buyer noted the hypnotic beauty of the cams as they pivoted. This sparked the idea of making a Czapek chronograph with the mechanism exposed on the dial side. This was 2015, and good concepts often take time to mature.

The minute totaliser at four o’clock and the small seconds at seven o’clock serve as visual anchors on the distractingly complex dial, where blued hands and register pointers ensure a fresh pop of colour and the legibility needed to enjoy what is one of the most complex iterations of a chronograph . The red tip of the rattrapante split seconds hand and classical red 60 at 12 marks this out as a timekeeping tool where form does follow function, but a function that is opened up for us to get lost in, as the symmetry of the Grande Complication captures the eye.

But still, unlike many a bold openworked chronograph, the Antarctique Rattrapante has a calm and elegant air. Rather than giving us a barrage of colours and textures, it offers pure mechanics in naked metal, and by its complex yet still understated nature becomes all the more beguiling. Czapek has used traditional techniques like shot-blasting the bridges, while the chronograph levers are linear satin-finished with hand polished chamfers.

The Antarctique Rattrapante will be available at the brand’s boutique in Geneva, official retailers and online at as a subscription in a limited edition of 77 pieces at $51,900 USD.