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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been looking at the Zenith Rattrapante extensively and found there are two models I like with identical descriptions and images online but different model codes:

03.2050.4026/91.C630
03.2050.4026/91.C719

They are both described as Caliber 4026. I understand that 03 prefix is the material, stainless steel. What is the meaning of the 2050 and the suffixes, 91.C630 vs 91.C719?

To compare: my open-hearted blue watch has the model code

03.2085.4021/51.C700 -- what do those numbers mean?

Other rattrapante threads on this forum talk about IWC and mention that a rattrapante is about 50% more expensive. Is it the same situation with Zenith? I've not found any impressions or in-depth write-up about it on Hodinkee or ABlogToWatch or any other personal view on these forums for Zenith Rattrapante. Is it such a rare watch?

Now the use is apparently the 3rd pusher, called C in the El Primero manual, colocated on the crown. When you push it once the second hands separate, and when you push it twice they rejoin. The idea is described as measuring two intervals at once. However, there's at most 60 seconds separating the hands. So I can only keep track of that difference, correct? The 30-minute counter always increments for the red hand.

What are the key reasons to get a rattrapante besides the fact it looks amazing and I like it? I already have the open-hearted blue watch, which is a tiny bit smaller, and is showing reserve de marche, and amazing insight into the mechanism. I get a regular and very beautiful minor seconds on the rattrapante -- and quite large since that case is larger. It's in fact one of the best minor second hands I've seen, big enough not to seem toy. The black design and double clasp on the thicker band also look more formal and versatile. I don't care much for the date -- when changing watches would have to bother setting it. Is there a separate crown position to et the date?

Still wonder why the price is significantly higher for the rattrapante and whether it is a valuable investment/fun wear. Any why Zenith Rattrapante did not get as much coverage as IWC or others on these forums.
 

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The four digit number after the strap/bracelet code is the model ref. number. I don't know what the suffixes are but many retailers add a number which is peculiar to themselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
These suffixes -- 91.C630 and 91.C719 -- are present across most websites, so doesn't look like they are retailer-specific...
 

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1. The full reference number is decoded as follows:

- 03: combination of case material and strap/bracelet material
- 2050: model reference
- 4026: movement code (in this case, El Primero with large date and ratrappante)
- C719: dial colour

2. A ratrappante is at least 50% more expensive. A chronograph is already more expensive than an ordinary watch since it has more parts (it is almost like two watches in one, one running all the time, the other can be switched on and off). Chronographs also need fiddly adjustments, for example, the chrono brake must leave the gears at just the right time - too soon and the chrono hands waver about, giving and inaccurate reading, too late and the thing jams up for a split second, also giving an inaccurate reading! Now a ratrappantre is even more complicated, has even more parts and needs even more fiddly adjustments! The El Primero Cal. 4026 is also one of only two automatic ratrappante movements with double column wheel that I can think of (the other being the Frederic Piguet Cal. 1186 - but that may be outdated and someone may correct me on that) so it isn't exactly a common feature.

3. Almost no ratrappante has this feature for more than the seconds hand so you need to take that intermediate reading soon or lose track of exactly how many minutes were associated with it. The exception is the A. Lange & Söhne "Double Split" which has a second chronograph hand also on the minute totaliser.

4. The reasons for having a ratrappante is that you can record "lap" times with it (i.e. each individual lap of a long distance runner on the track). A cool feature, a very rare feature but also a delicate one (one chrono seconds hand pivot, already rather thin, has to be hollowed out for the other pivot to go through the middle). And not cheap when it comes to buying and servicing.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you Hartmut! Wonder if C630 is mislabeling since most links for "Zenith C630" googling show other Zenith watches, like Academy Christophe Colomb.

Looked up A. Lange & Söhne "Double Split" -- a wonderful watch at $100K or so, but only manually wound! I'm not sure I'd swap the automatic for the second minute counter. Here's an in-depth write-up I've found on it: http://quillandpad.com/2014/09/30/why-i-bought-it-a-lange-sohne-double-split/.

Which brings me back to the question: why isn't there an in-depth write-up like that about Zenith Rattrapante? It is indeed such a wonderful watch.
 

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The El Primero Cal. 4026 is also one of only two automatic ratrappante movements with double column wheel that I can think of (the other being the Frederic Piguet Cal. 1186 - but that may be outdated and someone may correct me on that) so it isn't exactly a common feature.
FWIW, Glashutte Original used to make one too. Not sure if it's in their current catalog.
 

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Of course there is! Legibility! I have got to the stage where I can't read the date on my watches without my reading glasses (time for some bifocals, I suppose) and a double disk grande date is the best way of enlargening the date without also enlargening the watch.

The grande date feature was introduced to the modern watch world by Adolf LAnge & Söhne in 1994 (Lange 1 and Lange "Arkade") - but the first grande date I saw was by Venus (Cals. 211 & 221). That one was a bit tedious, though: when the month was up, it went from 31 to 32 - and then to 33, 34, 35.....39, 00 (!) and then (phew!) finally to 01. So you had to flick it forward manually.

bidfun-db Archiv: Uhrwerke: Venus 221

Hartmut Richter
 
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