Photography by Ariel Adams

Once nicknamed the “Paris of the Caribbean,” Havana during the first half of the 20th Century was a vibrant city where people came to let loose — particularly wealthy Americans who wanted to escape Prohibition and have a drink (or few.) Nestled within the Art Deco architecture of Havana’s cityscape were plenty of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants alive with music, dancing, and general merriment.  Cuervo y Sobrinos was Havana’s most prestigious jeweler and watch retailer during this time, catering not only to locals but also to the legions of tourists who visited the Cuban capital. 1930s Havana is what inspired the new Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador Primera Dama women’s watches, all furnished with diamond-accented mother-of-pearl dials and steel cases, and available in an assortment of colors.

The most distinctive feature of Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador watches is the quartet of shapely cow-horn-style lugs, which I’m happy to report remain on the women’s Primera Dama (First Lady) versions. The onion-style crowns are also a nice vintage touch. These lugs and crowns are attached to 36mm cases that measure a slim 7.8mm in height. As you can see from the wrist shots, these are well-proportioned cases that gently hug the wrist. I would imagine these would fit most wrist sizes very comfortably. As mentioned, Cuervo y Sobrinos opted for stainless steel cases for the collection; however, there are also PVD-coated versions for those who prefer gold-colored watches. There are also more lavish versions with 58 diamonds set into the bezel.

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The Primera Dama watches are water-resistant to 50 meters, and the casebacks are decorated with a depiction of a woman wearing a cloche hat topped with a colored curled feather — very a la moda in the thirties. Beneath that caseback lives the (Ronda 772-based) Caliber CyS 1005 quartz movement with about a 34-month battery life.

Returning to the front of the watch, Primera Dama are time-only watches with just a pair of leaf-shaped hour and minute hands punctuating the mother-of-pearl dials. Colors are varied, ranging from classic pinkish silver and sleek black to vibrant turquoise, blue, green, and purple. I particularly like the royal blue shade as the surface reminds me of the ocean, but I suppose the turquoise version is more reminiscent of Cuba’s beaches. Aside from color, another dial option includes the number of diamonds on the dials. There are versions with a trio of diamonds placed on the left side of the dial at 8 o’clock or some with a dozen diamonds that serve as hour markers. Those with 12 diamonds are accompanied by diamond-set bezels. Reminding you of Cuervo y Sobrinos’ heritage is the “Habana” inscription on the dial.

Each of the Primera Dama watches is available with either a color-coordinating glossy Louisiana alligator leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet. While I’m sure there are those who prefer the high-polished five-link bracelet, I find that the unique lug silhouette gets lost among all the metal; in my opinion, the colorful blue, turquoise, green, and purple straps do a much better job at highlighting the fun shape.

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The variety of the Historiador Primera Dama collection means you can go with something colorfully fun, an easy-to-match classic, or a dressy diamond piece. What ties them together is that customary Cuervo y Sobrinos flair, inspired by the company’s birthplace. Daily glamour, CyS style. All the models are available now, and as expected, prices vary depending on the specific edition: the stainless steel watches retail for $1,560 USD while the stainless steel models with gold PVD treatment retail for $1,800 USD. Furthermore, the full diamond versions are priced at $5,760 USD for untreated steel cases and $6,000 USD for gold PVD steel cases. For more information about the Cuervo y Sobrinos Historiador Primera Dama collection, please visit the brand’s website

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