Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’

The Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’ celebrates 75 years since Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met near Yalta in Crimea where the ‘Big Three’ discussed the future of a post-war Europe. The implications of their discussions would go on to define history.

Occasionally, there are moments in history where events have a profound influence on society. Today, we contemplate the impact of a pandemic, but 75 years ago the world was facing life after World War II.

In February 1945, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met near Yalta in Crimea. Over a number of days, the three leaders, often termed the ‘Big Three’, discussed the future of a post-war Europe. It was agreed that post-war Germany would be demilitarised and divided into four post-war occupation zones controlled by France, the UK, the US and the Soviet Union. A consequence of the conference was that some borders would eventually be redrawn. Moreover, the citizens of some nation states would ultimately benefit from free elections and self-determination while, sadly, others would be denied such democratic rights. 

The Yalta conference was a historical landmark, influencing the lives of millions of people. Churchill and Roosevelt enjoyed a special friendship. The two statesmen would inevitably depart this world, but the close relationship between the UK and the US endures. Now, the Swiss watch brand, Cuervo y Sobrinos, commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Yalta conference and Churchill’s role. Allow me to explain why.

Cuervo y Sobrinos and Cuban history

Cuervo y Sobrinos, the Swiss watch brand can trace its ancestry to Havana, Cuba. In 1882, Ramon Fernandos Cuervo founded the eponymous company with his nephews (sobrinos in Spanish), operating from premises in Cuba’s capital.

Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill 'Yalta Edition'

Over the years, the company enjoyed exponential growth which necessitated moving to larger premises in Calle San Rafael y Aguila. Later, the firm opened European operations in Paris, Pforzheim and La Chaux-de-Fonds.

When Cuba became a republic in 1902, it signalled a new era. Ultimately, the island became known for lavish hotels, casinos and luxurious boutiques. In addition, music, dance and the widespread availability of alcohol proved a glamorous cocktail many visitors found difficult to resist.

Churchill – the finer things in life

In 1946, Churchill travelled to Havana and visited the Cuervo y Sobrinos boutique. The former British Prime Minister seemed to enjoy his time in Cuba, especially when smoking his favourite Havana cigars. Indeed, when Churchill received a gift of 500 Romeo y Julieta cigars, his favourite brand, he was reportedly delighted.

The term ‘Robusto’ is used to describe a short and ‘robust’ cigar. Cuervo y Sobrinos has used the name to describe a Churchill-inspired, limited-edition model, Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’. It pays respect to its former client, marks the 75th anniversary of the Yalta conference and, in particular, celebrates the close relationship between two great nations, the UK and the US.

The dial

The Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’ is available in two versions, one featuring silver-toned hands and indexes and a second variant, sporting golden hands and indexes. Personally, I favour the silver-toned variant as it exhibits a more discreet character. It is this model which is the focus of this review.


Irrespective of the model selected, the dial is presented in a pure shade of silver and embellished with Clous de Paris guilloché decoration. The sword-shaped hour and minute hands are generously sized, delivering peerless readability.

The indexes alternate between Arabic numerals and dart-shaped batons. A minute track encircles the dial, proving useful when reading off the minutes and seconds. The svelte central sweep seconds hand features a red tip and a fletching-like counterweight. Two apertures sit just above 6 o’clock with the date display positioned above a day indication. Despite these latter functions sitting in close proximity, they remain discrete and highly legible.

The Cuervo y Sobrinos logo and indexes are applied to the dial’s epidermis, imbuing the horological vista with depth and augmenting the model’s overall appeal.

The case

Housed in a 43mm stainless steel case, the Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’ isn’t compact but, conversely, the watch could not be described as a behemoth. It shrewdly occupies the middle ground and is likely to suit the majority of wrist sizes.

The 3-part modular case construction comprises of a central body, lateral sides and case back. The lugs are stepped, introducing a delightful play with differing depths and perspectives. The inner edges of the lugs, nearest the strap, are part of the central body of the case. They are highly polished and sit on a higher plane to the neighbouring outer lug surfaces. These outer lug surfaces or lateral sides, are satin finished, tempering the exuberance of the nearby highly polished surfaces. Despite the blend of different finishes, lines and levels, everything coalesces wonderfully.

Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill 'Yalta Edition'

When appraising the profile of the Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’, it appears symmetrical at first, however, a closer look reveals there’s a small projection on the right flank of the case. It is the crown, albeit not as we have come to expect. In this instance, there is an unobtrusive lever which initially must be tilted away from the case band and, thereafter, used like a conventional crown. By adopting this approach, Cuervo y Sobrinos has imbued the model with an extraordinary sense of neatness and near-perfect symmetry. The lever is virtually in hibernation except when it is required for winding or adjusting the indications, mitigating the risk of any wrist impingement. It is a stylish element, but also practical.

A sumptuous, brown cayman strap affixes the watch to the wearer’s wrist. The timepiece is equipped with an exhibition case back, affording partial views of the self-winding movement within. The sapphire crystal also features a depiction of Churchill and Roosevelt.

Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill 'Yalta Edition'

The movement

While Cuervo y Sobrinos has long-established ties with Cuba, the watches are unabashedly Swiss. It should therefore come as no surprise that the brand has equipped the Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’ with a quality Swiss movement.

The automatic Calibre 5206 is based on the ETA 2834. The balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the movement features 25 jewels. Assuming the watch is fully wound, the movement will run autonomously for 42 hours. The movement also includes an engraved oscillating weight.

Closing remarks

The Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’ is highly legible, comfortable to wear and, with its ETA-based movement, promises years of faithful service. However, beyond its functional attributes, this watch evinces an abundance of style.

The dial texture is delightful with its intricate pattern bestowing much eye-appeal. When looking at the case, it is clear that Cuervo y Sobrinos has shunned mediocrity, choosing to embrace arcing lines, stepped edges and a complex mix of highly polished and satin-finished surfaces. The resultant appearance of the case is magnificent. In addition, the near-symmetrical case shape and innovative crown further enhance the allure of the model.

Quite simply, Cuervo y Sobrinos has created a tasteful tribute to Churchill and Roosevelt, two remarkable historical figures who helped shape a new world.

Further reading

Technical specifications

  • Model: Cuervo y Sobrinos Robusto Churchill ‘Yalta Edition’
  • Reference: 2810.1Y (silver hands); 2810.1YG (4N gold colour hands)
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43mm; height 12.45mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front; sapphire case back.
  • Functions: hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date; day
  • Movement: Calibre 5206, base ETA 2834; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 42 hours.
  • Strap: Brown cayman strap paired with a stainless steel folding buckle
  • Price: 3,500 CHF (RRP as at 26.3.2020)
  • Limited Edition: 500 pieces

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