Buceador Caribe by Cuervo y Sobrinos

I love all my children the same, but differently. Same goes for my favorite watch brands. Sinn’s humorless dedication to tool watch indestructibility floats my boat. Grand Seiko flicks my Bic because they’re perfect. Cuervo y Sobrinos earns my admiration with their combination of minimalism, dial texture and, most of all, color. Not all of their watches hew (hue?) to that description, but the new Buceador Caribe does. That said, one of these things is not like the other . . .

Havana parade

Obviously, the blue Buceador Caribe is the one – the most brand faithful of the triplets. As we explained in our post Cuervo Y Sobrinos Explained, the Swiss watch brand’s roots go straight to Havana, Cuba. The watchmaker first found their footing in the “Pearl of the Antilles,” where the ocean is cyan blue and vivid colors are a way of life.

More specifically, pastels. Beautiful, soft, calming pastels. Like the Caribe’s “Varadero” blue gradient dial, named after the Cuban beach pipped at the post for TripAdvisor’s world’s best beach award.

Cuervo y Sobrinos Buceador Caribe all wet

It’s not just the blue that makes the Buceador Caribe pop, of course. It’s the large, sand colored hands. The bright olive green accents adorning the second hand tip, 15-minute indices (against a sky blue background), the infilled CyS logo and the crown surrounds.

Completing the horological festivities: two bands shipped with the watch. One’s turquoise rubber with a yellow underside, the other made of dark blue high gloss Toscano leather.

Buceador Caribe caseback

Silver? That too. The high polish 43mm stainless steel bezel and crowns contrast beautifully with the matte silver octahedron case and lugs. Flip the Buceador Caribe over and you’re immersed in the dodecagon’s screw down caseback’s ode to underwater exploration. Credit CyS’ partnership with Cuba-born record holding free diver Francisco ‘Pipin’ Ferraras.

“We were attracted to Pipin for a number of reasons,” CyS’ PR bumf reveals. “He epitomizes the Cuban spirit, demonstrates a thirst for adventure and is incredibly courageous. Indeed, both parties to this agreement share the same mindset and a love for Cuba.”

Yes, well, Ferrars’ life story is tainted by the death of his wife and fellow free diver Audrey Mestre. Wikipedia.org:

On October 12, 2002, Mestre died in an attempt to break the 160 meters no-limits world record . . . with too few safety divers, lacking proper rescue equipment, with no doctors at sea and shore. In a no-limits freedive, the standard diving method is holding on to a weighted sled to the target depth, and there open a pressurized air tank that fills a large inflatable balloon which carries the freediver back to the surface.

Mestre

On Mestre’s fatal dive, this air tank was empty when Mestre reached her target depth of 171 meters (561 ft). Ferreras was in charge of Mestre’s air tank and did not allow any of the team to check that the tank had been charged. . . . minutes were wasted with Ferreras attempting to resuscitate her in the water.  

This tragic tale in no way diminishes Ferrars’ legendary accomplishments, but there are members of the diving community who never forgave the naturalized American for his carelessness. Equally, I’ve met more than a few superstitious watch collectors. So there is that. Anyway . . .

CyS front on

The Buceador Caribe is water resistant to the limits of deep diving (200m/20 ATM), complete with a lock for the rotating inner bezel. Super-LuminNova on the XXL indices make the watch a cave diver’s delight – assuming they have a dive computer on their other wrist.

Cuervo y Sobrinos’ first dive watch is powered by CYS’ 5104 automatic movement, based on ETA’s Peseux 224 engine. I can’t find intel on the base movement’s accuracy and CyS ain’t sayin’. The only other example I can find sits in a $365 Mathey-Tissot.

Which brings us to the kicker: Cuervo Y Sobrinos sells the Buceador Caribe for $3300. Once again, CyS is asking watch collectors to fork out a big chunk of change for a timepiece from an obscure Swiss brand. In comparison, Sinn sells a wide range of indestructible, insanely capable watches (1000m water resistance anyone?) for around the same price, or less.

Cuervo y Sobrinos Buceador Caribe cigar box

Although every Cuervo Y Sobrinos watch I’ve tested has been beautifully made and reasonably accurate, the brand’s appeal is based on one thing more than anything else: style. If $3300 is chump change and you want something different, something flamboyant, I reckon the Buceador Caribe is your huckleberry.

Meanwhile, I celebrate the blue Buceador Caribe for what it is: a fun watch. As Dr. Seuss might have said, these things are fun and fun is good. I mean who doesn’t like a watch that comes in a proper humidor? 

Robert Farago

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