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Clebar is Back

I became friends with Ken Genender in the late 1990's after he bought the Zodiac brand out of Swiss bankruptcy. Ken was responsible for introducing the Sea Wolf II, the 2000 Astrographic, and resurrecting and updating the Super Sea Wolf from the 1990's brand. It was during that time when I met his sons, Danny and Alan, the owners of the Clebar Swiss Watch brand. Both of these men were fully engaged with the Zodiac company of that time working with and learning from their father. After the sale of the Zodiac brand to Fossil, Danny and Alan always wanted to launch their own Swiss watch brand and now, almost 10 years later, they have introduced the new Clebar Swiss Watch brand.

Disclaimer:  This watch was given to me as a gift for supporting Danny and Alan with the launch of the new Clebar brand. It was my idea to write the reviews and give Clebar permission to use them, or not use them, as they see fit.

The Dive Watch (or The Anachronism We Love To Buy). Long since replaced by a dive computer so that most do not have to do the math required for a dive any longer, today's dive watches keep getting bigger and better and they can go deeper and deeper, even though most of them will never get wet beyond the shower or the pool. Today we will look at the Clebar Talon XTD. Let's grab it and go over a mile underneath the surface of the ocean!

Clebar TalonOK, on to the watch itself. Here is the newest Extreme Dive Watch offered by Clebar, the Talon XTD. For the serious diver, this watch packs a bundle of features, such as the 2000m/6600ft water resistant rating with a helium release valve, automatic big date movement, 316L black stainless steel case and bracelet, a diver's extension buckle, sapphire crystal, super luminous hands and indices. Of course, this watch is Swiss made.

From the get-go Clebar makes a marvelous presentation to the new owner. So much so that I had to stop when I took the top of the outer box (OB) off and set up my camera before proceeding. Notice the brown paper I have folded over? The inner box (IB) comes wrapped in tissue paper so that it does not get scratched by the outer box. The front drops down on the OB, and you can slide the IB out and flip it open.

The first thing that jumps out at you is the fluorescent orange color on the not shiny but not flat back case of the watch. Is there such  a thing as shiny flat black? Now I think so. Then there are those HUGE white hands on the black dial with the fluorescent orange luminous material for that extra slap in your face.  All of this jumps out at you even though the watch itself comes wrapped in plastic film to protect it and the band for being scratched in shipment.

Clebar SizeClebar packagingHaving taken all the plastic off to get a better look at it, the thought that kept running though my head was "what a boat anchor".  So as the scale was sitting on the desk anyway, I turned it on and threw (OK, gently laid) the watch on the scale. Right out of the box it comes in at a most impressive 9.4 ounces (266.4 grams)! I couldn't help but wonder, "Can I actually wear this thing all day?" Of course, underwater in its natural habitat, the Talon XTD would weigh significantly less.

As with most new watches it comes sized for a wrist of ~ 9 inches and when I put it on it flopped all over my girly 7.75 inch wrist. Oh goody, I get to scratch it all up while trying to resize the band! OK, this will wait a bit before I ruin my new watch. (I remember oh so well the black watches from the 1980's.)

Clebar dialSo, let's take a look at the watch itself before I scratch it all up. This watch comes with the ETA 2862-2 with the big date feature. Unscrewing the crown took 7 turns to get it to pop out, telling me that the tube on this watch is longer than the other screw downs that I own. Looking at it with the crown out you can see the gaskets that are mounted inside the tube. Winding the watch is very smooth and with the crown out you can hear the winding of the gears.  The date has a slow flip over from 11:50p to 12:00a, probably due to the larger date wheels used. You can hear the date flip over but due to the massive case used for the depth rating you cannot feel it click into place. As it turns out in my timing test it lost only 1 second in the first 24 hours.

The watch has a contrasting untreated stainless steel back with many of the features of the watch engraved on it. I noticed that the very thick sapphire crystal actually sets up, out, and higher than the bezel. I cannot help but wonder if that is a form of protection for the uni-directional rotating bezel, knowing very well the abuse a bezel can take over the years. The crystal is certainly a harder material than the painted bezel is. As you can see, once fully charged, the luminous is quite readable even in complete darkness. (We call this the windowless powder room picture.)Lume

Back of watchAt this point I had to fish out my digital micrometer and take some measurements. The watch head itself is 55 MM from lug tip to lug tip. The width is 45 MM without the crown and 50 MM with the signed crown.  From front to back the watch is 18 MM thick! Add to that the band, with its 22 MM band ends, and you have not only a very serious dive watch, but weighing in at 9 ounces, it is also a formidable self defense weapon as well.  Now let's look at the helium release valve. What is it? Why is it there? Most dive watches rated for more than 1,000 feet should have one. For very deep or prolonged dives they are normally done in a diving bell or diving platform. The "air" inside is helium enriched for reasons I will let you discover on your own. As helium atoms are the smallest natural gas particles they can get under and around the gaskets in a dive watch. This valve on the Clebar Talon XTD will automatically allow the helium to escape upon returning to the surface. Without it, the most likely escape path would be after the crystal is blown off the watch. So, what do you need to know more about this? Nothing, it's operation is automatic. Forgetaboutit!

Links

NOW I get to scratch it all up sizing the band. NOT! It turned out that all I needed were two jewelers screw drivers to remove the screw in pins! I had to remove a full size link from each side, and move the clasp pin in 3 holes and it then fit my girly little wrist. The band, like the watch, is a very hard treated material (316L with black PVD plating) and actually proved very scratch resistant through this whole sizing. Of note is that the removable links are half as well as full sized, and the clasp is adjustable to a very large and, unlike some modern watches, comfortable degree. Removing the 2 links brought it in at exactly 9 ounces now.  Having it now properly fitted I wore it for a few days. While you DO know that you are wearing it, it is by no means uncomfortable to wear. I think I'll keep it. (OK, you knew I was not going throw it out. I know.)

Wrist Shot

Upon receiving the Clebar Talon XTD I decided right off that I would only do a review based on the presentation and physical characteristics of the watch itself. My thoughts were to tell you, the reader, what to expect when buying this watch. Double boxed, padded holder, including a removable pad between the watch and the IB top. Inside the box is the warranty card in an envelope, along with a very impressive 124 page owner's manual that is written in 5 languages. Unfortunately, like most manufactures today, the booklet has little specifics on THIS model and is designed to cover the entire line of watches offered by Clebar. Let's just chalk this one up to keeping costs down and give them a pass on this.

photos
packaging
Dial shot
watch Clebar

 
Like most collectors, I was very interested to know what was INSIDE my new watch, but I do not take my watches apart. I have learned early on as a collector that some things are best left to the professionals, (unfortunately this lesson was not learned before totally ruining a couple of watches). So to that end, upon finishing my review, I sent this watch to a very good friend of mine who happens to be a professional watchmaker for his in-depth review of the watch. He had no vested interest in this, other than wanting to see the watch and willing to write a more technical review of it. As it turns out, he writes a far better review than I so it looks like I made a wise choice, on many levels here.

Before going there I would like to mention some of the future considerations for this model by the company. A chronograph version, a rubber dive band (THAT will make it lighter!),and a matte steel tone blue dial version of this model. Clebar also told me that only 100 of this current version will be made.

In closing I would like to say that the Clebar brand has been around for quite some time and was made by the Zodiac Swiss Watch Co. In buying catalogs for my normal Vintage Zodiac research I would often get some Clebar catalogs in the deal as most jewelers that carried the Zodiac brand also carried the Clebar brand. If you would like to learn more about the Vintage Clebar brand you can find those catalogs posted on ZodiacCatalogs.com along with all the other catalogs and service manuals.

Please click the link at the top of the page Ultra Vintage review for a more technical look of the Clebar Talon XTD Extreme Diver Watch. You can also jump over to the Clebar website now and see the Clebar Talon XTD at www.clebarwatches.com

Clebar Watch Review
Clebar

 

One of the newest offerings from Clebar, the Talon XTD (“XTD” for Extreme Diver), has everything the new modern watch market demands.  It is extremely large, has a bold eye-catching design, and is completely manufactured from quality Swiss materials.  With the recent re-introduction of the Clebar brand, it is obvious that their new product line seeks to make a statement.  For the XTD, that statement is that this is a watch capable of serious work.

Clebar
Clebar Watch

 

                  The Talon XTD’s proportions are quite generous to say the least.  The case measures 53.7mm from lug-to-lug and is 49.5mm wide including the oversized screw-down crown.  Speaking of the crown, it is one of the largest I have seen on a dive watch at 8mm wide and 4.6mm thick.  The watch case and bezel total a substantial 17.6mm thick, so don’t expect to be able to hide the XTD under most shirt sleeves.  This is a watch that demands to be out and visible where it is sure to catch the eye of other watch admirers.

Ultra Vintage
Clebar

 

The entire case and band save for the caseback and inner parts of the clasp, are finished in 316L black stainless steel.  This gives the watch a sleek look and sets it apart from other comparable dive watches which are commonly available only in regular stainless steel.  Every aspect of this watch has a feeling of strength and durability, and hints at its prowess at great depths.  From the 6.27mm thickness of the caseback, the heavy solid click of the oversized bezel, the prominent helium escape valve on the side of the case, to the sturdy bracelet with diver’s extension put together with actual screws instead of the friction band pins used on lesser watches.  There is really no way that Clebar could have made this watch more heavy duty.

Clebar
Clebar

 

The dial and bezel combination have real eye appeal, and their use of orange has also hit upon another key element with dive watch fans.  However, there is one significant difference here.  Most dive watches use a shade of orange that could either burn out your retinas or would look more at home in a bag of M&M’s.  The Talon XTD uses a creamy color of orange that both compliments and stands out from the black background surrounding it.  As expected, the luminous is very bright once charged.  Although, surprisingly the luminous glows a bright white color instead of orange it appears to be normally.  The large hands should make this watch as easy to read at 2000 meters as it does sitting at your desk.

Clebar
Clebar

 

At the heart of the Talon XTD is the 11 ½ Ligne ETA based 2826-2 automatic with 25 jewels.  The 2826-2 is one of ETA’s newer movements made to fit modern large cases, and allows for an oversized date.  The 2826-2 is a great choice for this watch, and includes all of the quality features one would expect: super smooth ball bearing rotor assembly, Incabloc shock protection, and the ETAChron Regulator System.  This example has a nicely finished rotor with the Clebar logo that is a nice touch considering that most companies do not bother doing that unless the watch has an exhibition back.  Accuracy was not a problem with our test watch as it was within 1 second over several days of timing.

Clebar
Clebar

 

At 2000M/6600Ft, the Talon XTD is put into the class of competitors that include the Breitling SuperOcean and IWC Aquatimer.  Although the competition is stiff, the Clebar really outclasses both of them.  First, the Talon XTD has a unique look that neither the Breitling nor the IWC truly have.  The Breitling SuperOcean has no true physical identity.  It does not look much different than most of the other dive watches in Breitling’s product line, which has been one of company’s longstanding problems.  As for the IWC, it honestly does not look like a dive watch at all.  I am not really sure what they were trying to go for with the Aquatimer as its looks do not really fit in either the dress or sport category.  The second consideration is the price.  The Clebar is less expensive at its current new list price than either the Breitling or IWC are on the used market.  Third, the materials used to manufacture the Clebar are every bit as good or better than the Breitling or IWC.

Clebar
Clebar

 

When taking these factors into consideration it is easy to see how the Clebar XTD is a strong choice no matter the application.  While its looks would appeal to the even the average watch enthusiast, it has features that would make it a serious tool watch for even the most demanding professional.  With the Talon XTD Clebar has made a strong entry into the serious dive watch market.  It is a watch that would look right at home worn with a suit, either “business” or “wet”.

             

Clebar
Clebar
Clebar

 

Andy Lewis

Professional Watchmaker & Watch Collector

www.ultra-vintage.com

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