Hands-on photography by Jacob Witkin

Over the past few years, offbeat brand Cuervo y Sobrinos has seen something of a renaissance, creating a slew of compelling models celebrating its Cuban roots with a charismatically Latin and vintage bent. The sportiest of these offerings are the Buceador Caribe diver models, which combine a more robust, modern look with a host of idiosyncratic design choices. For 2023, Cuervo y Sobrinos rejuvenates this funky sporting collection with a trio of new colorways, along with a sleek and stylish new Milanese mesh bracelet option from famed German bracelet-maker Staib. The new Cuervo y Sobrinos Buceador Caribe models offer a truly unique take on the dive watch formula, blending together bold forms and vivid colors in charmingly unexpected ways.

There’s no denying that the Cuervo y Sobrinos Buceador Caribe’s case design is complicated. Available in either bare stainless steel or black DLC, this 43mm-wide case nominally begins with a cushion case-style main body but alters this familiar concept heavily. As a start, the broad tapering lugs are attached and feature a wide, angular polished bevel to give the vaguely octagonal form a more rounded silhouette. Meanwhile, the main case body supplements its familiar steeply sloping polished smooth bezel and its radially brushed upper surfaces with a host of visual highlights, such as a recessed, vertically brushed central caseband flanked by raised polished edges. Of course, the real visual standout for this case design is its offbeat arrangement of crowns. The main winding and time-setting crown is moved to 9 o’clock and features a flared shallow-toothed design. Cuervo y Sobrinos dedicates the 2 o’clock crown (rendered in vivid matte blue on stainless steel models) to the internal rotating dive bezel, keeping this useful functionality close at hand for wearers. In order to keep this crown safe from accidental adjustment during a dive, the brand adds this case’s most unusual element – a 4 o’clock locking pusher. Featuring an asymmetrical design and highlights color-coded to match the watch’s dial (yellow for black-dial models, navy for navy blue dials, and vibrant red for light blue models), this unorthodox solution to securing the crown is a tactile joy on the wrist, although the case’s unusual asymmetrical arrangement won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. In terms of overall wearing experience, the Buceador Caribe is pleasantly hefty on the wrist, with a squared-off shape and short lug-to-lug length ensuring bold wrist presence without coming off as overwhelming on smaller wrists. Cuervo y Sobrinos fits these models with a  complex engraved solid caseback, featuring a scuba diver surrounded by a school of fish. In keeping with its dive watch positioning, the Buceador Caribe provides a sturdy 200 meters of water resistance.

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Like the cases, the dials of the new Cuervo y Sobrinos Buceador Caribe models take a decidedly different tack than the traditional dive watch. The mix of printed, heavily outlined indices and bold, angular Arabic numerals gives this design an athletic, futuristic feel, which is further reinforced by the blocky alpha and Roman sword handset. Of course, the inner rotating dive bezel, with its first 15 minutes in a vibrant contrasting color, only emphasizes this offbeat ultra-modern style. However, while the look may be different from most modern divers, there’s no disputing its effectiveness. The Buceador Caribe is an immensely legible design in any of its colorways, keeping the most vital information clearly highlighted and presented in a wide, bold format. Although the overall dial philosophy is big and splashy, Cuervo y Sobrinos adds a range of finer details here, such as the chamfered and polished octagonal date window and the distinctive lozenge-shaped tip on the seconds hand. However, the applied Cuervo y Sobrinos coat-of-arms emblem at 12 o’clock comes off as a bit too delicate and ornate, given the solid blockiness of the rest of the design. Each of the available colorways takes this design in a slightly different direction, however. The navy blue model is the most straightforward of the group (although it’s still far from what I’d call a standard presentation), featuring a deep matte navy blue main dial surface, hour marker outlines in brighter cobalt blue, and highlights in a dark brick red. It’s this last color that truly sticks out on the wrist, and while a more traditional scarlet accent color may have overwhelmed the design, it gives the dial a marginally more subdued and balanced look. By contrast, the matte black dial model is aggressive and futuristic, with highlights in richly saturated hazard yellow that offers a substantial visual punch. It’s the lighter aqua-blue dial option that truly steals the show among the trio, though. According to the brand, this tone is inspired by the tropical waters surrounding Cuba, and it features a stark dégradé effect fading to pure black around the edge of the bezel for added visual drama. Although the accent colors are largely shared with the navy blue model here (with the exception of a white 15-minute demarcation on the internal bezel), the more vibrant base hue gives these colors a decidedly different visual context. Overall, this variant comes off as more energetic and youthful than its stablemates, without sacrificing any of the design’s excellent legibility.

Cuervo y Sobrinos powers these new Buceador Caribe models with the Soprod P024 automatic movement. Developed as an alternative to the ubiquitous ETA 2824, the P024 is broadly similar to this familiar movement in terms of architecture and performance. Cuervo y Sobrinos claims the P024 provides 38 hours of power reserve at a 28,8000 bph beat rate here, which feels somewhat antiquated in this age of commonplace in-house powerplants with massive reserves. Cuervo y Sobrinos offers each of the Buceador Caribe models with simple dial-matching rubber straps featuring contrast stitching, but the stainless steel variants are now also available with Staib Milanese mesh bracelets. Staib has produced some of the highest-quality aftermarket Milanese bracelets for years, and this level of consistent quality shines through in its application here as well. Flexible, solidly built, and featuring a bright, even polish, this bracelet complements the offbeat styling of the Buceador Caribe well while offering a refined, upscale feel on the wrist.

As the sportiest, most modern offerings in Cuervo y Sobrinos’ lineup, the new Buceador Caribe models push the brand’s distinctive Latin aesthetic to new horizons and offer an intriguing and charismatic diver option for those willing to stray off the beaten path. The new Cuervo y Sobrinos Buceador Caribe models are available now through authorized dealers, and all these models carry an MSRP of $3,500 USD on rubber and $3,600 USD on bracelet as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.

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