If there is one thing that stands out in Cuervo y Sobrinos’ watches it is the distinct Latin flair emanating from each and every one of them. Despite being a Swiss watchmaking company by now, its history starts in La Havana, Cuba in 1882. From quite early on it was a successful watchmaking company that once thrived on the country’s international popularity. But, following the Cuban revolution, and being nationalized in the process, it vanished in the mid-sixties. Revived in the 1990s, the brand now plays with the Golden Age of La Havana and present the new Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador 1519 collection.
Cuervo y Sobrinos was founded in 1882 but actually traces back to 1862 when Spanish immigrant Ramón Fernandos Cuervo opened a jewellery and watch repair shop in Havana. After finding success, 5 of his nephews joined the company in 1882, effectively changing it to Cuervo y Sobrinos. The company has had major success during the island’s golden age of the 1950s but eventually fell victim to the Cuban Revolution and was nationalized in 1965. The company made a watch for the Cuban army but vanished shortly after. In 1997 the company was revived and is now based in Switzerland. Despite the relocation, present-day Cuervo y Sobrinos is very much about staying true to its Latin roots.
The Historiador is one of the cornerstone collections by the revived Cuervo y Sobrinos and has seen many iterations. Standout examples are the soulful Historiador Flameante Boutique Edition and the Historiador Landeron, which comes with a restored historic Landeron chronograph movement. The name Historiador is a nod to Havana’s former official historian, Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler. Under his supervision, the historic city centre of Havana was restored and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The stainless steel case of the Historiador 1519 has quite modest dimensions, at 40mm in diameter and a hair under 10mm in height. A signature styling element of the Historiador collection are the elongated, horn-like lugs extending from the caseband. Visually, they increase the size of the watch a little but it remains a comfortable fit. The exterior of the case features a polished finish and is topped with a curved sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. The screwed caseback also has a sapphire crystal, revealing the watch’s beating heart.
If we take a closer look at the dial the Cuban inspiration becomes clear as day. The elaborately decorated dial features multiple textures and finishes. The base dial comes either in silver, or a rich blue tone. From the outside in, we start with a minute track with vertical grooves and contrasting indices. On the silver dial, we get either a blue, or brown circlet with ‘Habana’ printed at the bottom and an applied CYS logo on top. Applied facetted hour indices connect the outer track and coloured ring to the middle portion of the dial.
Next is a circular-grained section with an applique carrying the brand’s name and a stylized 12-hour scale that also embraces the date window. This applique is silver or copper-coloured with black printing and red numerals, or blue with gold printing and red numerals. The date disc, visible through a trapezoidal window, is always done in white with red numerals. And finally, the centre section has an Art Deco guilloché pattern and a key emblem to finish it off. This key emblem is an element found in Cuba’s coat of arms. Time is indicated by Breguet-style hour and minute hands, and a baton seconds hand in either blue, gold or copper finish.
Inside the Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador 1519 ticks the brand’s CYS 5104 calibre, which is a Peseux 224 automatic movement at heart. Also used in the Buceador Caribe, it is an alternative to the ETA 2824 and shares the exact same dimensions, measuring 25.6mm across and 4.6mm in height. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and delivers 38 hours of autonomy. It is driven by a blue rotor decorated with three towers. Considering the choice of movement, it’s nothing special but does its job well.
The Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador 1519 comes on either a brown, dark blue or bright blue strap, depending on the specific dial. It’s secured to the wrist with a folding buckle featuring a special 3D CYS emblem. The watch is not limited and retails for CHF 2,500 excluding taxes.
For more information, please visit CuervoySobrinos.com