A rattrapante chronograph has two chronograph seconds hands which can be stopped independently.
Also called split-seconds chronograph or Doppelchronograph, a rattrapante has two seconds hands for the chronograph function that move together. The extra hand can be stopped independently by pressing a button in order to measure lap times. After another push of a button it will bounce back under the chronograph hand to continue in conjunction with it. In this way, the measurement of other intermediate times becomes possible. This is the origin of the word "rattrapante", which is based on the French verb "rattraper," meaning "catch again".
Rattrapante chronographs are regarded as particularly valuable because of the demanding complication; certain historical models are coveted by collectors and connoisseurs. For example a rattrapante wristwatch by Patek Philippe, produced in 1922, was auctioned at Antiquorium on 14 November 1999 for US$ 1,918,387. At that time this was the highest price ever reached for a wrist watch in an auction.
Unlike the rattrapante or split-seconds chronograph the flyback or mono rattrapante uses just one hand for lap timing. Conversely, the double rattrapante has split minutes and seconds hands for timing longer than 60 seconds.
- Das große Uhrenlexikon. Author: Fritz von Osterhausen; ISBN 3898804305
- Chronographen, Armbanduhren. Authors: Gerd-R. Lang, Reinhard Meis; ISBN 3766710117
- Ikada: Alles über Rattrapante (German)