All that said, though the U.S. and Cuba reestablished diplomatic relations last January for the first time since they severed ties in 1961, vestiges of the Cold War remain in the form of trademark and copyright complexities for various Cuban brands, particularly pre-revolution cigar, rum, and beer trademarks. As such, the Frédérique Constant Cohiba cannot be sold outside the U.S., and the Zenith Cohiba cannot be sold in the U.S. Owning the latter is not a problem, however, nor is bringing back up to $100 worth of Cuban cigars from your international travels.


Javier Terrés, vice president of development at Habanos S.A., is bullish. “We’re very pleased and excited about this collaboration,” he says. “These are two legendary brands with a similar history based on exclusivity and innovation, sharing the same vision: to deliver excellence to clients. The result is a series of exceptional watches, and a real tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of Cohiba.”

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So, the watch. Made to honor the El Laguito Fabrica Produce Cuban puro on its Golden anniversary, the 42-millimeter Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Cohiba Edition has a glossy tobacco-colored dial, with the timeless Cohiba logo — the head of an indigenous Taino Indian in silhouette — at 2 o’clock above the subdials, and the equally classic orange-black-and-white-dot cigar band running the length of the right side of the face.


The Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Cohiba Edition also has a superfluous tachymeter scale on the inner bezel that really should have been left off. Cohiba’s signature orange can also be seen on select gears through the dial cutout, and the sapphire caseback, engraved with the fiftieth-anniversary logo, reveals an oscillating weight adorned with “Côtes de Genève.” The calibre is exactly what the name implies: the automatic El Primero 4061 chronograph movement. All of it comes not in a humidor but instead a box evocative of an orange-lacquered Cohiba Robusto 25-count box.


As for what the future of this fledgling joint venture might hold, it’s surely contingent on how quickly the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Cohiba Edition sells out (which it will), with the steel model priced at 9,300 CHF and the gold version at 19,900 CHF. One of Zenith’s biggest markets is Hong Kong, and it’s no small coincidence that that’s true of Habanos as well. “The priority for both companies is to enhance the customer experience, thanks to the unique craftsmanship of our artisans,” says Zenith CEO Aldo Magada. “We’re convinced that the limited series Zenith is offering will please connoisseurs of both worlds.” We’re about to find out. zenith-watches.com

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