HAVANA, 22 July From the end of the 19th century to the late 50s, time of the revolution, Havana was the place to be for the world’s elite. Time has always had another dimension there.
Armando Rio & Cuervo ran the jewelry and watchmaking business founded by their uncle Ramon.In 1882, the family opened its shop “La Casa” on Havana’s prestigious Avenida Quinto, where they sold Swiss pocket watches and cheaper American watches.
As at the beginning of the XX century more and more tourists were arriving from the nearest coast of Florida, watches were in high demand. Soon Don Armando himself began to produce watches under the brand Cuervo y Sobrinos (“Cuervo and nephews”).
As shown by the photographs that recently came to the light, discovered in the basement rooms of La Casa, some of the most famous elegant people loved the unique taste of this manufacture.
In the Havana of the 40s, the international elite from the worlds of arts, science and politics, from Ernest Hemingway to Enrico Caruso, Clark Gable, Winston Churchill and even Albert Einstein,highly considered Cuervo y Sobrinos as the perfect expression of the Cuban lifestyle and made the La Casa shop a place to go ,when visiting the town’s casinos & cabarets.
Not only the famous people loved the brand’s heritage of “another time”: some of the most established Swiss manufactures like Rolex, Longines, Patek also craved the chance to be associated with the very popular and only latin timepieces.
But in the late 50s (1959) the revolution rised setting a new age: Castro came to power in Cuba, driving the Cuervo family into a European exile that de facto made the manufacture & the business slowly fell into oblivion. Tobacco and cigars – the two main economic product of the island are embodied in one of the main motives of watches Cuervo y Sobrinos.
By tradition, each purchaser of products Cuervo y Sobrinos receives a watch in humidor for cigars, and among other things, he can find a pack of handmade cards. One serie of Cuervo y Sobrinos watches was named after the traditional Cuban cigars. In 2001, Italian Marzio Villa re-launched the brand that had been hibernating for four decades .
Cuervo y Sobrinos opened a salon in Havana at the initiative of the Italian watch making enthusiasts Marzio Villa and a spanish businessman, watches Cuervo y Sobrinos were revived as a Swiss brand.
In collaboration with the Swiss workshops the heirs of Don Armando have created new watches, which stand out with their unusual shapes of cases and details of dial, which evoke nostalgic memories of the 1940s and pre-revolutionary Cuba. Rapid success among European customers renewed the Havana watch brand Cuervo y Sobrinos, this has been achieved through a simple but effective trick: the ability to combine acceptable for an elite brand a high quality and versatile design with a clear imprint of vintage exotics in every element of watch design and even in its name. It is no coincidence that the motto of the brand Cuervo y Sobrinos sounds like “watches with Swiss heart and Caribbean soul“.