The Lonsdale for CronotempVs Collectors x The Lounge by Watchonista Now Available for Pre-Order
Watch collectors tend to be renaissance men and women. Beyond their fascination for horology, they frequently have a range of interests about which they are passionate and knowledgeable: a taste for fine wine and good food, an appreciation of art and design, or a well-developed palate for premium cigars.
Indeed, various watch brands have long been savvy to the fact that where there is a watch connoisseur, there may also be a cigar aficionado lurking within, and have duly brought out cigar-inspired timepieces – regularly in tandem with cigar and tobacco businesses – in an effort to appeal to their customers’ polymathic tendencies.
But what about collaborations between watch brands and cigar-smoking watch enthusiasts? If such a collab has never happened before – and to our knowledge, it hasn’t – then that has now all changed with today’s launch of the Lonsdale.
Enter The Lonsdale
A cigar-inspired, retro-styled limited-edition watch, the Lonsdale has been co-created by watch-collecting cigar aficionados CronotempVs Collectors and The Lounge by Watchonista, together with Cuervo y Sobrinos, the only Swiss watchmaker with Cuban heritage. Thanks to its old-school design – that draws from classic Cuervo y Sobrinos references spawned during Havana’s mid-20th century heyday – the Lonsdale oozes understated, vintage appeal.
Comprising three 82-piece limited editions, each named after shades of traditional cigar wrapper leaf – Candela, Claro, and Oscuro – the Londsdale can be pre-ordered today by visiting the CronotempVs Collectors online shop and committing to a 50-percent down payment on the €2,500 sale price, excluding taxes and shipping.
CronotempVs Collectors x The Lounge by Watchonista
The Lonsdale watch and its presentation case are the brainchildren of two seasoned cigar smokers: Scaramanga – co-founder of CronotempVs Collectors watch collectors club, known for its special-edition collaborations with watch brands – and Marco Gabella, chairman and publisher of our very own Watchonista, and founder of its watch-adjacent lifestyle sub-platform The Lounge.
These two watch collectors and “brothers of the leaf” were savoring a couple of Cuban vitolas as part of a virtual cigar “herf” on Zoom during the COVID-19 lockdown when their conversation turned to cigar-inspired watches. Why don’t we join forces, they thought, and work together with a watch brand to create not just a special timepiece but also a special presentation case inspired by the world of premium cigars? Their thoughts immediately turned to Cuervo y Sobrinos.
Scaramanga says: “We were familiar with Cuervo y Sobrinos’ rich Cuban history and its cigar-inspired watches and accessories today. But to our knowledge, it hadn’t yet made a co-creation with passionate cigar smokers like us, so we proposed a collaboration, feeling we were a natural fit for one another.”
Inspired by a Pair of Mid-Century Classics
So, with Cuervo y Sobrinos on board, the next step was to work on the design of the Lonsdale, with Scaramanga and Gabella both intent on creating something in keeping with Cuervo y Sobrinos’ DNA.
Scaramanga says: “Thanks to the brand, as well as friends who are vintage watch collectors, we were aware of Cuervo y Sobrinos’ historical references that it had offered at its Havana boutique as it flourished between the 1930s and ‘50s. Two pieces, in particular, caught our eye because of their mid-century elegance: The ‘Tradition,’ for its eye-catching case, and another unnamed piece, for its clean, understated dial.”
He adds: “Marco and I asked Cuervo y Sobrinos if it would be possible to take the case and dial designs of these two references from yesteryear and recreate them in the form of a neo-vintage watch that transported us back to the heady times of 1950s Havana. Cuervo y Sobrinos liked the idea and shared our enthusiasm for reviving these seductive designs from the past.”
One of the first things that stands out about the Lonsdale is the distinctive form of its stainless-steel case, freshly developed – or indeed redeveloped – for this project. The lugs’ straight lateral lines fan out along the caseband, creating a slight tonneau profile. But step-like grooves cut into the sides at 3 and 9 o’clock – just like on the case of the Tradition back in the day – help to make the case look slimmer.
Not that the case is particularly large. The Tradition’s diameter would have been 34mm, but the Lonsdale’s is 40mm, that contemporary sweet spot that wears well on most wrists. Lug pin to lug pin, it measures 44.6mm. It is because of these lean proportions that this limited-edition is named after the premium cigar type of the same name; the Lonsdale cigar is quite slim, typically six to seven inches long, and with a 42- to 44-ring gauge.
Besides these updated dimensions, there are plenty of mid-20th-century details to admire about the case, starting with its fully polished surfaces. Likewise, the sapphire crystal is double domed in a box style, with the crystal’s protrusion accounting for 1.9mm of the watch’s overall 10.5mm height.
Meanwhile, an engraved “coin slot” on the caseback is a nod to the old-school system of opening up the back with a coin all those decades ago. In fact, the Lonsdale’s caseback is screwed down, with those screws concealed to produce an aesthetic that is faithful to the original.
As for the hand-stitched brown calfskin strap with a quick-release spring bar and polished stainless-steel pin buckle, owners will receive two long and two short strap pieces that can be combined to make an overall strap that matches large, medium, or small wrist sizes.
Clean, Retro-Styled Dial
That eye-catching case acts as the perfect frame for the Lonsdale’s clean, elegant dial, available in three colorways, each named after different shades of capa, i.e., cigar wrapper leaf: Candela, with a silvered dial and mint green numerals and hour-minute hands; Claro, with a champagne dial and cream numerals and hour-minute hands; and, finally, Oscuro with a brown dial and gilt numerals and hour-minute hands.
The hour-minute hands, numerals, and dots at 6 and 12 o’clock all feature a colored Super-LumiNova that glows green in the dark for enhanced legibility.
Virtually every detail of the harmonious dial is in keeping with the historical reference on which it is modeled: The dial plate bears a smart vertical brushing, the central hours and minutes are indicated via Alpha shaped hands, and the hour numerals are in a period, sans serif typeface. Even the Cuervo y Sobrinos Habana logo is presented as it would have been back in the day.
And next to the recessed, concentrically decorated small seconds are the words “Unicos Importadores,” a reference to Cuervo y Sobrinos’ erstwhile status as sole importers of luxury watches in Cuba.
A printed railroad minute track around the dial periphery completes the time-only indications powered by the automatic CYS 5158 calibre. At its base, this movement is a Sellita SW 261-1, a Swiss-made workhorse packing a 38-hour power reserve and guaranteeing owners tried-and-tested reliability.
Presentation Case: Like a Cigar Box, with the Touch of a Design Master
When owners receive their Lonsdale watch, the experience will be akin to receiving a box of limited-edition, premium smokes. That’s because the watch’s presentation case is fashioned in the style of a high-end cigar box.
Crafted from Spanish cedar – known for its ability to lock in moisture, thus helping cigars to age – the case has a leatherette cover decorated with an embossed and gilded smoke swirl pattern conceived by none other than Eric Giroud. This acclaimed watch designer has started a personal side project – Somewhere – dedicated to his designs for non-watch-related objects. His sinuous, modernist motif for the case of the Lonsdale is Somewhere’s first design commission.
Inside the case, a presentation tray houses the Lonsdale and three accessories fit for cigar lovers: a black cigar rest, a black and gilded cigar tube, and a NATO strap that resembles the silk ribbon used to bundle a wheel of quality cigars. The tray can be removed, allowing the presentation case to be repurposed as a portable vide-poche – or travel case – for storing, protecting, and transporting watch and cigar accessories, collectibles, or other personal effects.
Scaramanga concludes: “The Lonsdale reflects everything Marco and I – two passionate watch collectors and cigar smokers – are looking for from a cigar-inspired timepiece. From its design to its execution to the details and contents of the presentation case, every element ticks the boxes on our wish lists. We are delighted with the result!”
How to Pre-Order
The Lonsdale is limited to 246 examples – 82 pieces for each of the three dials. To pre-order the Londsdale, visit the CronotempVs Collectors shop and place a 50-percent deposit on the €2,500 sale price, excluding taxes and shipping. Each edition has its own page link: The Candela, the Claro, and the Oscuro.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)