This Historiador Hemingway Iconico is one of three new Ernest Hemingway collection watches launched by watchmaker Cuervo y Sobrinos in 2023. It also happens to be what the winner of Key West’s 2023 42nd Annual Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike contest is wearing. (I must admit the likeness was uncanny, and the watch was presented by Ernest Hemingway’s grandson John Hemingway). These new Hemingway watches include the pictured cream-colored Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador Hemingway Iconico reference 3190.1ICC, as well as the (not pictured because it was stuck in customs and thus not available to be shot) brown-dialed reference 3190.1ICB of the same watch. The other new Cuervo y Sobrinos Hemingway watch for 2023 is the Historiador Hemingway GMT “The Fisherman” watch which has just one dial (in blue) and the same 40mm-wide case as the Iconico.

While the GMT “The Fisherman” is a sportier watch in style, the Historiador Hemingway Iconico is a more classic four-hand dial watch. Rather than using the fourth hand as a GMT indicator, the dial uses the fourth has as a pointer-style date indicator. I am not typically a fan of pointer date dials because I feel that much of the time, the obstructive nature of the date hand does not justify the convenience of having that information available to you. This calculus is often somewhat different for a GMT watch on account of the fact that, ostensibly, the user wants to easily reference the time in two different zones a bit more often than they need to check the date. In some instances, however, pointer-style date indicator dials are handsome and attractive in a classic way that Cuervo y Sobrinos captured rather nicely in this version of the Historiador Hemingway. Note that Cuervo y Sobrinos likens the U-shaped pointer of the date hand to the tail of a Marlin fish, which is sort of true and is the animal at the center of Hemingway’s “H” name logo engraved on this watch’s caseback. More good news for this model is that Cuervo y Sobrinos only marginally increased the price for this watch as compared to the standard three-hand limited-edition Hemingway watches released by the brand in 2022. Mind you that the three-hand model was sans a date window, entirely.

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The cream-colored dial is reminiscent of vintage watches and is generally a beautiful light watch dial color when compared to, say, white. The dial also has accent colors in the form of blue and red, which actually work quite well making for an eye-catching yet still serious-looking timepiece face. The added date hand gives the dial a bit more visual interest than a simple three-hand dial, but you still don’t get the sensation that the Iconico dial is too busy. Around the periphery of the dial, engraved into the steel (once in English and once in Spanish) rehaut is the Hemingway quote: “In order to write about life, you must first live it.”  The question always comes to mind, would Ernest Hemingway himself have liked it?

As we mentioned in other articles about Cuervo y Sobrinos and Ernest Hemingway, the connection between the two is that the American writer was a patron of the original iteration of the brand when it was still headquartered in Cuba. Cuervo y Sobrinos was originally founded in Havana but has since become a totally Swiss brand that celebrates the Cuban, Spanish, and Latin heritage of the company and its history. Ernest Hemingway is most often celebrated in Key West, Florida, where a house he owned has become a small museum to him, and which hosts an annual “Hemingway Days” celebration each year.

Both the Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador Hemingway GMT and Iconico use the same polished steel case, which is 40mm-wide, 11.75mm-thick, and water-resistant to 100 meters. The GMT looks a bit bigger because of its thicker, printed four-hour indicator bezel. It also has a display caseback, whereas the Historiador Hemingway Iconico has a solid steel caseback with the “Marlin H” Hemingway name logo. It is really those powerful lugs that help give the Historiador case so much personality. “Lugs with character” are certainly part of the Cuervo y Sobrinos brand DNA and a design element that I think the company should even more heavily lean into as part of what consumers think about when they picture products from the CyS brand.

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Inside the Historiador Hemingway Iconico watch is a Swiss Made Sellita SW221-1 automatic movement. This movement operates at 4Hz with about 38 hours of power reserve. It probably isn’t the prettiest movement, which is why the case doesn’t have a display caseback, but reliable movements like this with a pointer-style date are uncommon to find on the market. The watch has a plaque on the side (similar to NORQAIN and some Ulysse Nardin watches) with the limited edition number on it. Overall, the sensible 40mm-wide case size in combination with the big lugs makes for a bold look on the wrist that isn’t proportionally too large. I really did enjoy wearing this Historiador Hemingway Iconico.

Attached to the watch is a light brown leather strap that comes on one of Cuervo y Sobrinos’ seal-style deployant buckles. This is one of the few companies that makes sure the view of its deployant clasp buckle isn’t totally boring (as most buckles or clasps tend to be). The Hemingway collection watches also come in special Cuervo y Sobrinos “book” packaging, which includes a brown leather exterior and wood on the inside. This is, after all, a company that makes even more complicated packaging that includes a cigar humidor. I actually wonder if Cuervo y Sobrinos is giving away any bottles of Hemingway Rum (distilled in Key West) to some of the buyers of the Hemingway collection watches.

It is difficult to predict how long Cuervo y Sobrinos will spend celebrating their relationship with the writer Ernest Hemingway. It might be that Hemingway watches become part of the standard collection or that, after a few years of regularly-released limited edition models, Cuervo y Sobrinos then holds back a bit and only uses the Hemingway name sparingly. Questions such as this are among the exciting unknowns of how smaller, independently owned watchmakers like Cuervo y Sobrinos think. The real next question is how deep fans of Ernest Hemingway compel Cuervo y Sobrinos to look when creating homages honoring particular areas of Hemingway’s life and work. Cuervo y Sobrinos is making considerably more pieces of this limited-edition Iconico as compared to the 288 limited-edition pieces of the also new-for-2023 Historiador Hemingway GMT “The Fisherman.” Both the cream (reference 3190.1ICC ) and brown dial (reference 3190.1ICB) versions of the Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador Hemingway Iconico are limited editions of 882 pieces each, with a retail price of $3,100 USD. Learn more at the Cuervo y Sobrinos website.

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