An absolutely stunning piece of contemporary independent watchmaking, the Antarctique Rattrapante Ice Blue by Geneva based independent maison Czapek is an exceptional watch whose dramatic aesthetics are matched by the complexity and uncompromising hand finishing of the magnificent self winding split second chronograph mechanism, which is completely exposed through the fully stripped back, openworked dial.

With its superbly engineered integrated stainless steel link bracelet, the Antarctique collection has been one of the stand-out luxury sports watch designs of the past few years, and a collection which combines the brands cool, modernistic design with state of the art in-house movements, and which in terms of value, refinement and technical sophistication is more than a rival for any of the established mainstream brands which have dominated this exclusive sector.

Manufactured in stainless steel with brushed and polished finishings, the design and styling codes of the Antarctique Rattrapante Ice Blue flow from the angular lines of the 42mm case onto the integrated bracelet, and give the watch a commanding presence on the wrist. The contrast of a polished bezel with the fine grained satin finish of the body of the case is echoed in the alternating brushed and polished links of the bracelet which are styled to create a recurring “C” motif.

Beneath the sapphire crystal, the dial is stripped back to its bare essentials and features a chapter ring and two subdials manufactured in ice blue sapphire at the four and the seven, for the thirty-minute chrono counter and small seconds respectively. The hour and minute hands are blued with luminous inserts and the two split seconds chronograph hands are distinguished from each other with the primary hand heat blued, while the secondary pointer is red, and remains concealed behind the former when not in use.

Beyond these, the display is a captivating three dimensional spectacle of micro engineering and finely finished components. At its very centre a tripod bridge which secures the satellite minutes train and rattrapante assembly, as the split second chronograph mechanism, with its two opposing column wheels at the 6 and the 12, is exposed in all of its magnificence. One of the true horological Grandes Complications, the rattrapante chronograph boasts the ability to record one or two timed events simultaneously, and has two seconds hands which can be activated either as one via the pusher at the two, or staged individually via the pusher on the opposing side of the case, at the ten. Depending on requirements, the secondary timer can be used to time one lap after another out of an overall event, before catching up with the primary hand which is already recording the entire process.

Finished to the uncompromising standards of haute horlogerie the Czapek SXH6 self winding calibre is immaculately executed in every miniscule detail. The fine sand blasted texture of the mainplate accentuates the mirror polishing, anglage and bevelling which is applied by hand. Visible through the sapphire exhibition caseback, with its irresistibly eye-catching skeletonised rotor with solid gold weight, it is a breathtaking display of contemporary mechanical architecture. Beating at a frequency of 4hz (28’800 vib/h), with a power reserve of at least fifty-six hours, this brand new, proprietary state of the art movement has been designed and developed in collaboration with advanced movement specialists Chronode, and features the purpose-built rattrapante module.

An exceptional piece from an emerging force in the luxury watch sector, the Czapek Antarctique Rattrapante Ice Blue truly emphasises the intention of this young but mature independent watch company. Manufactured in a first edition of only 99 examples, it is a superbly engineered and exclusive watch which, with a water resistance rating of 120m is equally at home at work or at play.


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