Cuervo y Sobrinos watchmaking brand history, not very well known by the French public, begins at the end of the 19th century in Havana, Cuba. It acquires a strong notoriety and reaches its peak in the forties. Nevertheless, the political events that hit the country affect the brand which remains inactive during forty years. Re-launched thanks to Marzio Villa, specialist in luxury timepiece retailing, the brand today stands among the most renowned watchmaking brands.
At the end of the 19th century, Havana, jewel of the Caribbean, becomes a meeting place par excellence. Intellectuals, business people and socialites as well as adventurers and sailors meet there. Timeless capital, Havana emits sensuality, human warmth where sweetness of life and joie de vivre meet to give birth to freedom to be. But Havana is also synonym of elegance, class and a unique lifestyle. It’s in this spirit that Armando Rio y Cuervo and his brother decide to run their uncle jewelry and watchmaking atelier, hence the name Cuervo y Sobrinos (nephews in Spanish). In the spring 1882, the family launches the boutique “La Casa” on the Havana’s renowned Avenida Quinta.
The notoriety acquired by the brand takes the two brothers to enlarge their international business in 3 strategic European points: in Pforzheim in Germany where the brand selects its precious stones and materials, in Mezlay Street in Paris where are created the finest jewels and later in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland where the timepieces are produced.
The combination of high quality Swiss creations and the brand Latin values seduced the Americas. Prestigious brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe or Longines associated to Cuervo y Sobrinos to coproduce timepieces based on Havana time and “tiempo lento” legacy (“bygone time”).
A visit to “La Casa” boutique becomes inescapable on every trip for a select clientele. The brands watches not only represent Swiss high quality but are also the image of a lifestyle, a way of thinking and being. Many celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway, Caruso, Clark Gable, Winston Churchill or even Albert Einstein are part of Cuervo y Sobrinos’ faithful clientele.
After more than 50 years among the most prestigious international watchmaking brands, political events force Cuervo y Sobrinos to reduce their activity and part of the family to leave Cuba for Europe. The brand lays dormant for almost forty years.
Marzio Villa, specialist in luxury timepiece retailing, becomes interested in the brand and discovers a treasure of intact watch movements, unpublished sketches and designs, which inspire today the brand creations that preserve the refinement, elegance and joie de vivre, characteristics of Havana golden age. In 2001, Marzio Villa buys all the rights to the brand and decides to re-launch it after almost 40 years of inactivity. The new headquarters are established in Lugano in Switzerland. In 2002 the brand is officially re-launched in Europe, aiming as priority Spanish and Italian markets. In 2003 the brand shows for the first time its creations at Baselworld and enlarges its distribution to international markets, with United-States and Japan in the forefront. This same year, for its first anniversary, the brand decides to associate its name to Latin culture by creating an officially recognized award, the “Latino Internacional” which renders homage to Latin figures who have achieved excellence internationally in their fields.
Today, Cuervo y Sobrinos is an integral part of the Swiss watchmaking panorama. It’s certainly a niche brand but it offers a unique positioning thanks to its “Latin flavor” products. In 2005 the brand takes up a new challenge with the exclusive personalization of a caliber, the CYS 2450 that Cuervo y Sobrinos integrates in a new chronograph model, the Esplendidos mono push-button.
In 2009, the brand is very proud to celebrate the opening of its boutique-museum in the heart of old Havana. Thought in homage to the colors of the past, this boutique is an opportunity for the brand to rediscover its roots and traditions. Since this same year, the brand headquarters have been in Copalago, near Lugano and is the reflection of the brand first boutique “La Casa“.
Among the brand models, the Historiador collection brings back to life one of its historical and most emblematic models created in the fifties and which was very successful, the Historiador Chronograph, a classical and timeless model but also original thanks to its distinctive design. Among this collection’s models, the Historiador Landeron Chronograph in 18 carat rose gold, relaunched in a Limited Edition of 50 pieces. To emphasize the historic significance of this model, it is equipped with a vintage exclusive movement created in the fifties, 2 classical counters with tachymeter scale and white lacquered dial.
For the 2015 Baselworld Fare, the brand will enrich its Historiador collection with a new model with innovative and modern design while preserving an elegance and identity characteristics of the brand. This is a novelty which will be presented exclusively in Bale.