The Cuervo Y Sobrinos watch brand was born in Cuba. Winston Churchill smoked Cuban cigars. At the 1945 Yalta conference, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin carved-up Post-War Europe. Hence the Cuervo Y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill Yalta Edition. Now that’s what I’d call a tenuous connection. Made bizarre by the fact that . . .
the CyS’ caseback sticker/decal is based on photographs taken at the 1943 Cairo Conference, where Churchill, Roosevelt and Chinese general Chiang Kai-shek allied against Japan. Specifically, this image:
Speaking of Winston Churchill and cigars . . .
Yousuf Karsh created his iconic photo of a belligerent-looking Churchill by pulling a cigar from the P.M.’s mouth just before pressing the shutter. The image would have been the perfect choice for a Cuervo Y Sobrinos homage. Solo. FDR isn’t exactly a hero among today’s right-leaning cigar smokers.
To be fair, CyS isn’t the only watchmaker guilty of covering a transparent caseback with a sticker targeting a specific demographic (e.g., Breitling’s Norton). Question: who is this Churchill Yalta decal for? Well-heeled history buffs? Democrats dreaming of a new New Deal? Watch collectors who wear pocket squares?
To be fair, again, who cares?
Turn over the Churchill Yalta watch and all is forgiven – assuming stylish minimalism is your jam.
That term may seem like an oxymoron. And it is. But how else would you describe this Latin-flavored three-handed timepiece? I mean, check out that 9.
That, friends, is a 9. It’s a curling snake, with only an arrow protecting it from a 7 that’s half gallows, half flamingo preparing to strike. If Flamingos ate snakes.
No, I’m not on drugs – although the Churchill Yalta’s engine-turned silver Clou de Paris guilloché dial has hallucinogenic properties. Just like the waffle design on the Tudor 1926′s dial, the decoration lifts the Churchill Yalta from potential boredom to eye-catching brilliance.
The Churchill Yalta’s unrelenting symmetry and steely demeanor – golden in some lighting conditions – give the the watch a classical base from which to savor the details. Like the ribbon of guilloché around the minutes and seconds track and the CyS family crest keeping watch at the 12.
Unlike the dog’s breakfast on the Cuervo Y Sobrinos Historiador GMT, the Churchill LE’s black-framed day/date is a feature, not a bug. Few such complications are as well-positioned, handsome and legible.
Cuervo Y Sobrinos’ caliber CYS 5206 motivates Churchill Yalta’s time-keeping swords and sweep second hand. It’s a modified version of the base ETA 2834 sheltering in Hamiltons, Tissots and Tudor Glamours. Not the most illustrious company, and no longer easily available. But the Swiss engine is a temporal warhorse, providing Incabloc shock protection and a 42-hour power reserve.
The modded ETA’s 28800 A/h frequency ensures a smooth, eight-tick-per-seconds second hand sweep. Paired with the lightly lumed hour and minute hands, circumnavigating a dial to die for, the time check effect is equal parts conservative and flamboyant.
The Churchill Yalta’s brushed sides add interest to a polished steel case that plays a low-key supporting role to the main event. The caseback stands slightly proud, elevating the watch on the wrist, disguising some of the timepiece’s bulk (2.45mm).
Unlike most watches, the Churchill Yalta’s lug ends are sharp enough to cut cardboard. Nothing life-threatening, but a curious choice. By the same token, the 43mm case and long lugs may not suit small-wristed suitors (7″ wrist in these images).
The “crown” is another “interesting” design feature.
The pull-out tab sits more or less flush to the case, maintaining minimalism. To wind the watch and/or change the time/day/date, you prise the tab free with a fingernail, struggle to achieve the right indent for the chosen function and then attempt to twirl the minuscule square. So that’s why crowns are round. Who knew?
Engraved with the CyS emblem, the high quality stainless steel butterfly buckle almost makes up for the challenge. The Cote de Geneve decoration on its silky smooth surface speaks of quality, as does the sturdy stitched gold shiny Cayman strap, CyS’s trademark “horned” clasp and the way the mechanism snicks home.
The Cuervo Y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill Yalta Edition retails for $3900. That’s a pretty penny for an ETA-based watch from a little known if estimable watch brand. But the beautifully finished timepiece shares its inspiration’s classical style and “we will never surrender” fortitude in a way no other watch can match. A future classic? Time will tell but I wouldn’t bet against it.
Model: Cuervo Y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill Yalta Edition
Case: Stainless steel
Dial: Silver “Clou de Paris” guilloché dial, silver applied indices, applied CyS emblem
Hands: Stainless steel hours and minutes with Superluminova
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Strap: Gold shiny cayman
Movement: automatic CYS 5206, base ETA 2834, oscillating weight with commemorative engraving
Power reserve: 42 hours
Weight: 3.6 ounces
Water resistance: 10 ATM (100m)
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
The caseback decal is unnecessary, unwanted and historically inaccurate. The elegantly stylish dial more than makes up for it.
Legibility * * * * *
Time-at-a-glance perfection in a 43mm case.
Comfort * * * *
Needs to be strapped-down tight to avoid slippage.
Overall * * * * *
A singular sensation combining Swiss quality with Latin flair.