Splendid Splitters: Perfect IWC Portugieser Rattrapante Chronograph Watches

Rattrapante chronographs, also referred to as split-seconds replica chronographs, are a type of chronograph with two seconds hands that allow for the ability to time multiple simultaneous events, such as runners during a race. It can also time a series of events, such as the laps a single person makes on a track.

One of the hands, the so-called “rattrapante” hand, sits either directly on top of or underneath the main chronograph hand. The rattrapante hand is started and returns to zero simultaneously with the main chronograph hand. A special push-piece and an additional mechanism make it possible for the rattrapante hand to be repeatedly stopped (so that split times can be read) and then instantly brought in to renewed synchrony with the main chronograph hand by flying back to catch up with it. (“Rattrapanter” is French for “to catch again” or “to take again.”) All this occurs without affecting the motion of the main chronograph hand.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the split-second chronograph trending upward as more and more brands of all sizes add the complication to their arsenal. Here’s a selection of some noteworthy copy rattrapante chronographs on the market today.

In 2017, IWC released a series of limited-edition best quality copy IWC Portugieser Rattrapante Chronographs to be sold exclusively at a selection of its boutique locations around the world. These locations included Geneva, Munich, Paris, Milan and Toronto/Vancouver, with each watch featuring a specific aesthetic to appeal to its targeted audience.

Our favorite of these models during their initial release was the “Boutique Genève” edition IWC Portugieser Ref. IW371221 replica with brown leather strap that was limited to 50 total pieces and included an engraving of the title of Geneva’s 1602 anthem, Cé qu’è lainô, on its caseback. IWC introduced its first rattrapante chronograph to the Portugieser collection in 1995 when Richard Habring developed a split-seconds module for the iconic Swiss Valjoux 7750 movement. It uses a push-button at 10 o’clock to control the movement of the upper hand, while the lower hand is managed by the pusher at 2 o’clock. More recently, IWC released the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Ceratanium in the lead-up to SIHH 2019.