OK, maybe not a car or plane per se, but the Dashboard Series of watches from the Italian brand CT Scuderia it is bit of mash up between the ground transport styling that defines the brand and the iconic styling of the Flieger B-style, all in an attractive and very masculine watch. CT Scuderia was nice enough to loan me one of their watches for a bit, and I really did not want to send it back to them. I opted for what I thought was a bolder look, the black IP case with the black and white dial.
If you could not have guessed from the lead, I liked this watch a lot. I also picked up more compliments on this watch than I usually get. By now, my coworkers and family are used to seeing me with a different watch all the time. While I don’t swap out daily, especially when I have review models, I am wearing different looks on a very regular basis. In terms of overall design, this one has generated the most positive, and the most frequent comments.
One element that permeates the brand is the use of the bullhead design, where the crown is placed at 12:00. For this watch, they flipped it around, placing the screw-down crown at 6:00. The design is supposed to harken back to an era of racing where speedometers had an adjustment at the bottom, but I can not attest to that historic curiosity. What I can say is that the 6:00 crown works. I like the bullhead design because it places the crown where it is not going to rub against the wrist, and where it is easy to access if you want to make an adjustment without removing the watch. For a chronometer, I would still prefer the 12:00 placement. But for a 3 hander, like the Dashboard, placing the crown at 6:00 gives you the comfort and ease of adjustment of a bullhead coupled with the ability to read the watch while making adjustments, similar to what you get with a more conventional crown placement.
For my eye, especially with the version I am wearing, the design cues on the dial are pure Flieger B-style. There is an outer chapter ring and an inner minute ring running. Sure there are speedometer cues, “Miles Per Hour” printed on top, and the outer ring runs from 1:30 to 10:30, but even the sword style hands harken the pilot style. And this dichotomy in styling really raises my one real issue with the watch. The outer chapter ring make makes the watch more difficult to read. Each hour segment corresponds to about 9 ticks on the speedometer, so there is a progressive misalignment between the outer and inner ring. The outer ring could have run from 10 or 20 “mph” to 100 or 110 “mph” and aligned with the actual time, depending on if they wanted the ring to run from 1:00 to 11:00 or 2:00 to 10:00. It could have even been off kilter running from 2:00 @ 20 mph to 11:00 at 110 mph. I don’t need the chapter markings to tell time, but I don’t need them working against me either.
With that criticism out of my system, let me get back to the stuff I like, which is everything else about the watch. The case is a modern 44mm, but with the crown relocated to 6:00, it wears a bit smaller. It stands tall at about 15mm, so this is not a slim business watch. The lugs are curved down quite a bit, so it is only about 20% more lug to lug than it is wide. The down-turned lugs also let the strap hold the watch nicely to the wrist, so it should work for a variety of sizes. , though keep the height of the watch in mind. The lugs also appear to be attached to the case with hex screws, and these end pieces sit a little higher than the case bezel, giving the appearance of clamps holding the sapphire crystal in place. I am not taking it apart to find out though. The case also has an attractive bulge about the midsection (perhaps the only time I will ever describe a bulge around the midsection as attractive) further lending to the look of a unit clamped together.
The watch comes on a leather strap that screams driver. Depending on the specific model, you will get either beige, brown nubuck, or clack leather with contrasting stitching and three holes, I guess for better ventilation on long drives. regardless of the purpose, the very beefy strap would feel right at home in the cockpit of a vintage open wheel racer. Thoughtfully, the pins are easily accessed and released. The back of the watch is decorated with the colors of the Italian flag at the edges and has a sapphire exhibition caseback to view the “Swiss Automatic” movement. Which one, well, it appears to be a Val-Swiss CSD-01 with 21 jewels and a 36 hour power reserve. This is a fairly new company that has sprung up in the wake of ETA tightening their distribution. I can not speak to the long term reliability, but the watch kept very good time for me; however, I did not get close to 36 hours out of the power reserve after normal wear. The watch comes with a 2 year warranty serviced by select (1 in the US) jewelers.
For options, there are two cases, the brushed stainless and the black IP at a $100 premium. There are four distinct looks available for dial designs, plus another all black variation on the model I tried out. All of them have some variation on the double chapter ring with one of them as a faux speedometer, and one model layers in a third chapter ring with a faux tachometer. The case bezel is very thin, with the flat crystal sitting on top of the bezel. The interior is very steep, dropping almost straight down to the dial, providing lots of real estate for the readable numbers. The hour and minute hand are lumed, and the second hand is tipped with red for an extra racing touch. There is no date window, something that I like, and a common bit of DNA through the watches produced by the brand thus far. ctscuderia.com
- Brand & Model: CT Scuderia Dashboard Automatic
- Price: $1,495 – 1,595
- Who’s it for?: Anyone with an appreciation for Italian motoring design.
- Would I wear it?: Definitely.
- What I’d change: Make the outer chapter markings align with the time.
- The best thing about it: The unique and masculine design.