Today, we’re crossing off another brand from the list of those that we’ve not covered on these pages – that brand is CT Scuderia. In an interesting mix of nationalities, we’ve got this Italian brand bringing us a watch that carries an American name – Salt Flat Racer.
Obviously, that name calls to mind the Bonneville Salt Flats, where all manner of land speed records are set and broken, year after year. Given the timed nature of those events, it’s fitting that CT Scuderia’s case design often evokes a stop watch, with crowns (and pushers, if there are any) mounted at the top of the case.
Here on the Salt Flat Racer, though, there aren’t any pushers – just the crown, as the watch itself is a three-hander with date. The dial carries forth a sort of speedometer feel, with larger numerals (0-60) on the outer track. Curiously enough, the same numerals repeat on the inner track. I inquired after this design detail, but as of press time, we hadn’t heard back. I can only guess that this is mimicking what we commonly see in North America, where one speed scale is printed on the outer track, and a different one printed in smaller numbers.
Another detail that calls to mind (at least for me) the Salt Flats is the assembled look of the piece. For cars and bikes racing the Flats, they’re generally hand-built, and have a very mechanical feel to them (at least under their aerodynamic shells). For the watch, you get that same feeling, with the matte-finish lugs (it looks almost like a bead-blasted finish) mounted to the polished case courtesy of hex-head fasteners. Not that this means there are any issues with fit or finish – there weren’t any that I noticed. It’s just that it does look like something a skilled builder could assemble in their workshop – an aesthetic that fits the name of the watch, I think.
With that case, however, there’s no avoiding one fact – it very much carries the “puck” look to it. Which is a bit surprising, as the case height is under 13mm (12.65mm, to be precise). Which, paired with a 46mm diameter, really isn’t that overly large of a watch. Larger than I myself would tend to wear, sure, but it’s not necessarily a huge piece. The case is held in place by lugs that are huge (26mm), which can be paired to either a bracelet or a leather strap.
We had the pleasure of testing both out. I found the strap to be quite comfortable, and not overly thick – which you might expect it to be on a watch of this size. The strap held two surprises to boot. First off, the underside of the strap is dyed red (ala what we’ve seen with Magrette in the past), which is a nice hidden detail. Second, the strap has integrated “quick change” spring bars, which makes changing things out a breeze. On the bracelet side of the equation, it was quite comfortable as well, and easy to get sized appropriately. The one drawback to the bracelet is that the polished center links pick up fingerprints like nobody’s business.
Ultimately, I think that the designs that CT Scuderia create, with their stopwatch layout, will be polarizing – either you’re going to love the layout and overall look, or you’ll flip right on to something else. For me, I found myself in the first camp, at least with the Salt Flat Racer. The watch has a great visual appeal, with varied surfaces and textures to catch the eye. I also thought that the white-on-white color scheme would be hard to read, but it surprisingly wasn’t that bad.
So, is this watch worth your hard-earned money? That is, of course, a highly-subjective question, and one I can’t quite answer for everyone. If you’re looking for a watch that has a polished “industrial” aesthetic with a mix of automotive and aerospace details (yeah, look at the handset), then this quite likely is the Swiss-powered (ValSwiss CSD-01 is the calibre) automatic for you. On the bracelet, you’ll need to put $1595 down on the barrel; if you go for the leather strap, you’ll need $1495. Sure, a little bit higher-end than what I regularly feature on these pages, but I think it’s a price merited by the components and the build.
It’s also worth noting that if you go looking for the 2014 versions of these watches, they’re going to look slightly different. The color of the strap has changed a bit (which is minor), for one. The biggest change is the handset – it looks like they’re going to a skeletonized handset in black (without any lume). So, if you’re a fan of telling time in the dark, you may want to search out the 2013 variant. ctscuderia.com
- Brand & Model: CT Scuderia Salt Flat Racer ‘0-60′
- Price: $1595 (bracelet), $1495 (leather strap)
- Who’s it for?: Someone looking for a watch with a refined industrial aesthetic with a dose of automotive and aerospace influences
- Would I wear it?: Probably not – it’s just a bit bigger than I find myself preferring these days
- What I’d change: I’d probably eliminate the inner minute track, as it looks redundant to my eye
- The best thing about it: The look and literal feel of the case in the hand – the polished case is buttery smooth, and the blasted lugs provide a great counterpoint.