Does a watch reflect the culture of its founders? Cuervos Y Sobrinos’ Swiss owners certainly think so. They claim the resurrected Cuban watch brand invokes “Latin glamour, hedonism, luxury, cigar smoke filled casinos, elegance and exoticism.” That’s a lot of partying for the Historiador GMT to carry on its shoulders. But I can definitely make out the cigar smoke . . .
The Historiador GMT’s dial color isn’t a million miles away from the light-greenish yellow of a Cuban claro cigar wrapper. Alternatively, the dial looks like it’s made out of yellowed writing paper. Either way, the Historiador GMT has an aged patina that’s whimsical in the sun and sumptuous in the shade, protected by a double curved sapphire crystal with plenty o’ anti-reflective coating.
The Historiador GMT’s indices build on the vintage vibe, circumnavigating the dial with fancied-up Breguet-style numerals. For the sake of legibility, the numbers on the inner GMT wheel are less ornate. The applied logo at the 12 lords it over them all, perched above the Cuervo Y Sobrinos brand name curved around the GMT dial. The silver coat of arms completes a watch face projecting the promised glamor, albeit in a “I like what they’ve done to my car” kinda way.
Aside from the trainwreck at the bottom of the Historiador GMT’s dial. Positioned above “1882” (the brand’s birthday), the black-framed date window cuts into both the GMT and main indices. It’s a serious mishmash misstep. We can either ascribe the dog’s breakfast of a design to “charming eccentricity” or, better yet, tell ourselves we didn’t see anything.
Sticking with uncle Abraham-Louis’ inspiration, the Historiador uses Breguet hands to tell the time – with a cool party trick. In bright light, they’re as silver as you wanna be. Get out of the sun, the glint goes bye-bye and the hands turn inky black. Same for the logo. No such luck for the red “sign here” Post-It note that serves as the GMT hand, but it gets the job done unobtrusively enough.
The Historiador GMT’s long lugs remind me a scarab’s legs – and I mean that in the nicest possible way. They frame the case and dip down at the perfect angle for endless wearability. (That may not seem a difficult task for a 2.6 ounce watch, but tell that to Seiko.) The stainless steel case’s height (9mm) and slightly bulbous shape keep the Latin flavored Historiador from sliding into Euro dress watch territory.
The caseback is a curious thing. An ornate see-through steel plate shelters under a clear crystal, completely obscuring the automatic movement. Well, not completely. Under the right light, tilting the watch at a very specific angle, you can just about make out a skeletonized rotor. At the same time, bam! The words “Testimony of Style Since 1882” appear. Who knew?
The Historiador GMT’s horological hedonism is motivated by Cuervo Y Sobrinos’ caliber CYS 6123. It’s a modified version of the ETA 2893-1, a rarely used movement found in a small number of Hamilton Khakis. Take that as you will. Meanwhile, the CYS 6123 provides hacking seconds, quick date and GMT hand change, and 42 hours of power reserve. Accuracy claims there ain’t, but our review sample ran five seconds fast per day.
A final shout out to the Historiador GMT’s solid steel double deployant clasp. It’s a graceful, sculptural piece of work, complete with an engraved CyS logo, perlage and an easily adjustable buckle (whose sticky-outy “ears” shape mirrors the lugs). The Historiador’s honey-colored matte-finished Louisiana alligator “pon pon” strap is also eye-catchingly elegant and as comfortable as a pair of slippers.
I’m not sure the Historiador GMT embodies Latino alegría de vivir. It certainly dances to a different beat than staid Swiss heavyweights like Rolex or OMEGA, or business-like Germans like IWC or NOMOS.
Let’s face it: the Historiador GMT’ is a quirky choice, best suited to someone who doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about his watch. If you ask me, es helado. But if you have to ask me, it’s not for you.
Model: Cuervo Y Sobrinos Historiador GMT
Case: Stainless steel, screwed see-through caseback with sapphire crystal
Crystal: double curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
Movement: Automatic CYS 6123 (base ETA 2893-1)
Frequency: 28800 A/h
Power reserve:42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, central seconds, date, GMT universal hour indicator
Weight: 2.6 ounces
Water resistance: 3 ATM
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
Breguet hands and numerals on a tobacco-colored dial create a lyrical vintage vibe without seeming derivative. In other words, it’s beautiful.
Legibility * * * *
Ideal, except for the date window train wreck at the bottom of the dial. No lume.
Comfort * * * * *
Light with shapely lugs and a silky smooth double deployment clasp.
Overall * * * * *
Not perfect, but perfectly attractive.