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453 South Spring St. Suite 1100. Los Angeles, California 90013.

1960s Clebar-Zodiac Chrono Made by Heuer

The watch world used to be a far more insestuous place than you might realize. Between brands sharing manufacturers for various parts (or whole watches) as a necessary means of scaling production or just as an easy way of grabbing a bit of a market niche outside of the typical side of their production oeuvre, it was not uncommon for watch brands to rebrand their designs for each other.

That said, few did it quite the way we see in the case of this Clebar-Zodiac Chronograph (ref. 73321 or 591 833, depending on where you look on the watch), which despite waving the Clebar banner on its dial and sporting a Zodiac sign and reference number on its caseback, it was in fact manufactured by Heuer and also has a Heuer reference number!

The Russian doll phenomenon of brands involved in the creation of this perfectly ‘60s chrono makes it more than just a product of exaggerated watch industry incest – it makes it an ideal watch to look at in our series Under the Radar, in which Craft + Tailored’s very own hunter of unsung oddities, Tyler Vanes, takes a good look at the pieces you might have overlooked for various reasons.

Now, while it may say Clebar on the dial and have Zodiac branding backing up the show, this chrono is aesthetically classic Heuer through-and-through, and for insiders, these oddities are considered the most attainable version of the Heuer Carreras that bore the same reference number (that’s the 73321 reference btw) – thus being nicknamed the “poor man’s Carrera.” Zodiac and Heuer were frequent bedfellows in the ‘60s and ‘70s, with Zodiac often rebranding Heuer watches, however, the Clebar name that appears on this watch may have been a byproduct of import restrictions. While there isn’t much info out there on the Clebar rebranding, the depth of this watch’s rebranding makes for a fun facet.

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Beyond the wild multiplicity of this Valjoux-powered chrono’s rebranding, the particular example we’re looking at in this episode is in what we consider case-study condition, and comes with its original box and papers – making it a true rarity as these watches are commonly found in much more heavily used condition than their Heuer cousins, due largely to their more affordable price point giving them the perception of being a bit less-than-precious.

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