Hands-On With The Colorful Cuervo y Sobrinos Buceador Caribe Dive Watch
There is something magical about the Caribbean that has universal appeal. It’s hard to deny the colorful appeal of both the scenery and the spirit of the Caribbean. The Swiss brand with Cuban roots, Cuervo y Sobrinos, tries to capture that spirit with every watch it releases. The brand’s latest timepiece is the Buceador Caribe. It’s a colorful diver made for exploring the beautiful deep Caribbean waters. I had a chance to test the waters and find out more about the brand new Buceador Caribe.
The roots of Cuervo y Sobrinos are firmly planted in Havana, Cuba. The brand was established in 1882 in the Cuban capital when it was a completely different place than it is now. As a result, it was a chance to be reminded of the island’s history. I have had a soft spot for Cuba ever since my early twenties. In the early 2000s, still a university student, I did an internship at a Dutch travel magazine. One of the editors at the magazine had visited Cuba no less than 40 times when I first met him.
Usually, he would be a grumpy middle-aged journalist with a familiar excessive drinking and smoking habit. But as soon as you asked him about his true love Cuba, he became a different man. He would not stop talking about the wonderful people and the unique places he had visited during his numerous visits. Additionally, he recommended some books about Cuba’s pre-Fidel Castro days. Books that I still have but haven’t looked at in a long time. I should, though, because the stories of Cuba’s days as the exhilarating capital of the Caribbean are great reads. And it’s those stories that Cuervo y Sobrinos finds its roots in. Roots that are reflected in the style of the brand and its watches.
The Cuervo y Sobrinos Buceador Collection
With the Buceador Caribe, Cuervo y Sobrinos adds a new style to its collection. It’s less rooted in the usual classic Cuban style of their watches and instead is a more modern take on a divers’ watch. Having said that, the brand still makes sure the connection to the rich past is there. The logo with the accompanying coat of arms is a reminder of the brand and its past. If that is not enough, the big special humidor box the watch comes in is another instant reminder. The specially crafted cedar wooden box serves as a cigar humidor after you have started wearing the Buceador Caribe. I do not smoke, but the link to Cuban cigars did bring a smile to my face.
Back in May 2021, Cuervo y Sobrinos introduced the Buceador collection. As Dave explained in an installment of Independent Insights, the word “Buceador” is the Spanish word for “diver”, perfectly conveying the model’s intended purpose. The collection consists of three variants that take inspiration from the Caribbean seas that encircle the island of Cuba. The first variant comes with a stainless steel case and a sand color gradient dial on a brown strap. The second features a black DLC case with a black to light brown gradient dial on a black strap. The third is the version I am reviewing, and it features a stainless steel case with a turquoise blue color gradient dial on a bright turquoise strap. Out of the three, the one we received for review is my favorite. It gives off these instant summer vibes that I really like, especially with summer just around the corner.
The colorful Buceador Caribe
At first glance, the Buceador feels a lot more modern than the other watches in the collection. But take a second look, and you’ll find out that despite being more modern, there is still a lot of retro-inspired appeal. The shapes, colors, and fonts used can be traced back to the early to mid 20th century. However, the fact that they still feel crisp says a lot about their contemporary power. But let’s start at the beginning. The Buceador Caribe (Ref. 2860.1AZ) features a characteristic 43x43mm stainless steel container-type case that measures 15.8mm in height. It comes with a domed sapphire crystal and is water-resistant to 200 meters. It features a mix of brushed and polished finishes that highlight the construction and the many angles of the case.
On the right side of the case, you will find a crown at 2 o’clock that lets you adjust the internal rotating diving bezel. To rotate the bezel, you will have to release the bezel with the pusher placed a 4 o’clock. A second crown is placed at 9 o’clock that allows you to set the time and date and wind the mainspring. If you turn the watch around, you will find a depiction of a scuba diver on the solid case back. Overall the construction of the case feels excellent, and the design, although familiar in shape, is a great addition to the brand’s collection. It offers a great alternative for the usually more classically styled watches that Cuervo y Sobrinos offers.
Defining the style
Under the domed sapphire crystal, you will find the turquoise blue dial with a subtle gradient changing from a darker blue on the outside to a brighter shade of blue in the center. I like the subtlety of the gradient as it makes sure all the contrasting yellow elements stand out against the blue color. The diving bezel has a darker blue color with sand-colored numerals. The 15-minute timer stands out with its turquoise color, with contrasting yellow numerals at 05, 10, and 15. The yellow numerals correspond with the yellow “Buceador” name on the dial, the yellow outline of the seconds hand and lume pip, and the yellow shield in the coat of arms. It’s this combination of turquoise and yellow that gives the watch its summery vibes. Especially in combination with the turquoise rubber strap with yellow lining, the watch pops.
The thing that stood out immediately is the style of the hour markers. Especially the numerals used for 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock have a college-style font that might seem weird at first. But they fit the style of the watch perfectly and, because of their size, are easy to read. The watch further features oversized hour and minute hands. I have to say they are very in your face once you start wearing the watch. While they are also big because of their purpose, the combination of their shape and size is not my favorite. Both the hour markers on the dial and the handset are filled with white sand-colored Super-LumiNova. The date window at 6 o’clock features a polished steel octagonal frame. I like how it corresponds with the polished coat of arms at 12 o’clock as the two shiny elements on the dial.
The Cuervo y Sobrinos Caliber CYS 5104
The Buceador Caribe is powered by the Cuervo y Sobrinos Caliber CYS 5104. The automatic movement is based on the Peseux 224 and operates at 28800vph. It has 28 jewels and a power reserve of 38 hours. If you remove the case back, you will find that the oscillating weight is decorated with Côtes de Genève and features a transferred logo. If there is one remark about the movement, it’s the size/placement of the date on the dial.
I would have loved to see the date window placed a bit further down, squeezing it in between the 5 and 7 o’clock markers, especially after seeing that the coat of arms is neatly placed against the inner diving bezel. Additionally, the style of the numerals used on the date disc seems to be a bit of a break in style from the numerals on the dial and bezel. Where the octagonal shape of the date window matches the markers, the classic style of the date numerals links to the logo.
Wearing the Buceador Caribe
As you probably have spotted, the watch comes with two different straps. When I first received the watch, it was on the dark blue leather strap that features contrasting light blue stitching. The strap looks stylish, and it makes the Buceador Caribe a watch that you can wear in different situations. But I almost immediately switched to the turquoise rubber strap with its bright yellow lining. The straps are easy to change, thanks to the quick-release pins. When I had the watch, I switched back and forth a couple of times, and I definitely prefer the bright blue strap. The combination of that strap and the dial really makes this the summer watch I love. As mentioned earlier, I tend to go for less colorful watches, but this definitely changed my mind about adding a more colorful watch to my collection.
Once on the wrist, the 43mm case seems to wear bigger. While it fits my wrist perfectly, this is definitely not a watch for smaller wrists. The quality of the watch, in combination with the two straps, feels excellent. I mostly wore the watch on the rubber strap, and it perfectly balances out the watch on the wrist. It is a watch that you will notice in size, weight, and appearance. I can pull off an Omega PloProf without any trouble, so I got used to the Buceador Cariber quickly. Operating both crowns is best done once the watch is off the wrist. I managed to operate the diving bezel on the wrist after some practice, but it’s not the easiest thing to do. As most people operate a watch off the wrist anyway, it’s not an issue for most, but a quick adjustment of the time is tough.
After a couple of days with the Buceador Caribe, I found myself enjoying the watch quite a bit. I love the story of the brand as it brings back great memories and reminded me of the rich history of Cuba before Fidel Castro took over. Additionally, I absolutely love the colors of the Buceador Caribe. Not only do they instantly take you to the Caribbean waters, but they also changed my mind about needing a bit of color in my collection. The Buceador Caribe shows that the combination of the colorful dial and matching strap makes this a great summer watch.
Having said that, I did have to get used to the dial. The combination of fonts and their different sizes wasn’t an instant hit for me. The college-type font felt a bit out of place at first. Additionally, I am not a fan of the style of the oversized hands. Another practical issue is the readability of the date with double digits. And I keep coming back to the placement of the date window when wearing the watch. It’s these details that keep it from becoming my perfect summer watch.
But overall, Cuervo y Sobrinos has added a compelling and great quality series to their collection with the Buceador collection. For me, the Buceador Caribe is the best out of the three as it brings a great deal of style and color of the Caribbean to your wrist for €2,800. It’s a price that it’s perfectly in line with the other offerings of the brand. If you love the style of the Buceador Caribe, this can be your perfect summer watch because it has that power. On top of that, the special humidor box is a great reminder that Cuervo y Sobrinos is not just one of the many brands. It has its own unique spot in the watch industry, and I love that!
Find out more on the Cuervo y Sobrinos official website.