If you are a fan of colorful and sculpted watches as much as you are of motorsports, the Cuervo Y Sobrinos Historiador Gran Premio De Cuba 1957 watch might just hit it home for you. Better still, it’s not just about a race that happened well over half a century ago; it’s also about what inspired colors and restrained storytelling can add to a watch.
The inaugural Cuban Grand Prix, the Gran Premio de Cuba, was held in 1957 and threaded its way through the avenues and vibrant esplanade of Malecón, north of Havana. Here’s how the brand presents the event: “The exotic backdrop of Havana made the race a fascinating spectacle and, despite the political challenges — like superstar driver Juan Manuel Fangio being kidnapped by revolutionaries in 1958 and the 1959 race being canceled altogether due to political instability — and the tragic death of several spectators, many motor racing enthusiasts still talk of the race with much affection.” Now, Cuervo y Sobrinos honors the Gran Premio de Cuba with a limited-edition chronograph bearing the name and date of the legendary race’s first edition.
Every detail of the Cuervo Y Sobrinos Historiador Gran Premio De Cuba 1957 radiates with a unique blend of 1950s watchmaking, motor racing, and Cuban inspirations. The ties between “racing red” and motorsport require little explanation for the target audience of such a watch, but the ease with which it blends with a saturated cream color is as surprising as it is refreshing. Other “fast colors,” such as vibrant blue, yellow, and orange are to be picked up from the tachymeter scale. Speaking of which, this might just be the first time we see that scale labeled as “TAQUIMETRO,” which, I must say, I am utterly besotted with. There’s also a “TELEMETRO” scale in creme just below.
The front-ish view of the Cuervo Y Sobrinos Historiador Gran Premio De Cuba 1957 might remind one of the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa and Tonda watches of the previous decade — less so of the new Tonda PF watches — with its drop-shaped lugs and beautifully proportioned round case, bezel, and dial. It is a view taken more from the side that reveals one of the main reasons for the differences: The lugs and case appear rather thick and bulky when compared to those on the — mind you, much more expensive — Parmigiani. The Cuervo Y Sobrinos is powered by CYS 8099 caliber the brand claims is based on the Valjoux 7753. The main difference between the 7750 and the 7753 lies in the layout of the subdials and that the 7753 adjusts its date not via the crown but a third pusher on the left side of the case.
This self-winding chronograph movement is renowned for its reliability and relatively low cost as much as it is for its beefy size — the movement’s 7.9mm thickness certainly shows from a profile view. Still, this Historiador chronograph is as thin as watches equipped with this sort of movement tend to get. While most usually measure 14-15mm-thick, or more, here, the packaging is just 12mm-thick. If true, then this will yield a tangible difference in day-to-day wearing comfort. The movement is covered by a decorated caseback that marks the 162-piece limitation, inspired by the 162-mile race distance of the Gran Premio 1957 de Cuba.
On the wrist, the 42mm-wide Cuervo Y Sobrinos Historiador Gran Premio De Cuba 1957 (reference 3142.1GP.57) appears rather large, thanks to the wide and long lugs, but maintains an elegant presence through the well-judged proportions of the case, bezel, flange rings, and dial. Little details like the crown guard unusually positioned above the crown, the large, black-and-creme Arabic hour markers, and the racing-style strap with red stitching and punched holes help complete the motorsport-inspired picture.