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Claude Bernard Aquarider Chronograph Review

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Today, we’ll be taking a look at a watch that literally showed up out of the blue (well, for me it did – John sent it over with some other things). The watch came from a company I hadn’t heard of – Claude Bernard – that’s actually been around since the early 1970s, creating timepieces in Les Genevez, Switzerland.

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Given the home of the brand, it’s no surprise that these watches carry the Swiss-made label. We were sent their Aquarider model (ref. 10202) for this review, which is a chronograph powered by the Ronda 5040.B quartz movement. In terms of styling, I’d call this a fairly conservatively-styled chronograph.

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The 44mm case is made of stainless steel, which has a brushed finished that carries over to the three-link bracelet. This bracelet has a nice beefy look to it, without actually being overly bulky. The release on it is quite nice as well, feature a push-button deployant with the Claude Bernard logo on the buckle.

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As for the dial, ours came in a black finish, which has a subtle pattern to it that you can have catch the light at the right angles. The subdials carry that same finish over as well, which helps them to blend in. The one exception to that is the register at the 6 o’clock position, which is for the chronograph hours. For whatever reason, this has a polished bezel around it, which makes it stand out.

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I suppose you say that this picks up the polished numerals that show up at the other cardinal points, but it makes it feel a touch (visually) imbalanced – especially given the proximity of the date display window. Perhaps if the color scheme of the date display was reversed, this wouldn’t be as much of a visual issue.

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Surrounding the dial you have the unidirectional bezel (in plastic) that offers a bit of texture to the look of the watch. That texture (the steps in the bezel) also help you to grip it as you click it into place. Here, the numerals are simply painted on, and don’t feature any lume. Given that the rest of the watch is stainless steel, the plastic bezel seems an odd choice. For me, I prefer to see case and bezel materials matched (plastic to plastic, metal to metal), for the look and feel of things.

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Rounding out the “hard” specs of the watch, you’ll find a flat crystal nestled in on top of the case, and the watch itself carries an odd 220m water resistance rating. I say odd, as most watches round it to the nearest 50 (rounded down). Be that as it may, the 200+ meter rating means you should be good to go out for a swim wearing this watch – just don’t try to activate those pushers under water!

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In daily wear, I found the watch to be perfectly comfortable. The bracelet was fairly easy to size to my wrist, and the slimmer case afforded by the quartz movement meant it slipped pretty easily under a shirt cuff, as well as allowing for a lighter feel on the wrist (the plastic bezel likely helps in this regard as well).

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Coming in at a price of $550 (here at Long Island Watch), it’s a touch higher than what I’d expect for a quartz chronograph, even with the sapphire crystal and the nicer bracelet.  In the end, while the watch is a nice enough piece, I think it  may be a bit overpriced for what you’re getting – especially if you compare some other similarly styled watches. It’s not necessarily a bad piece – just not one that would be my initial recommendation to someone looking for an affordable chronograph.  claudebernard.ch

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