Enrico Margaritelli may not have been at the forefront while working with brands like Fossil, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, or Diesel, but we can guarantee that you’ve purchased a watch that was designed under his direction. Margaritelli founded his brand, CT Scuderia (Conta Tempo Scuderia), in 2011 and considers it to be much more personal to him than the past companies he’s worked with. The CT Scuderia watches perfectly honor his grandfather’s WWII stopwatch from WWII as well as his love for the motorbike from his previous career as a café racer. We met with Margaritelli to talk about the brand, the similarities between watches and motorcycles, and how it feels to finally be the man at the forefront.
What made you decide to leave racing and work in watch production?
Passion for watches is in my family. When I started to work, the first thing I did was make my own brand. I started making fashion watches and worked with Fossil in America. I still like motorcycles but in a different way – the café racer has nothing to do with racing; it’s much more personal and more lifestyle.
If you think about why we like watches, oftentimes it’s because of how they are made and what they communicate to us in the movement, size, technology, and mechanic. It is similar to when you see a nice motorcycle — especially [for] a café racer — you look at a motorcycle as something sexy in the way it was built and designed. It is also the non-use: when you have more than one watch, you don’t always use them much like the real café racer motorcycle you’ll have in your house.
Is there anything in your products that date back to your grandfather’s WWII stopwatch?
There is a part of vintage in the product in the way you read the time — for example, in the hands and pusher. At the same time, there is also the industrialization of new material like the parts at 12 and 6 o’clock that embrace the watch, which is modern. All of the screws are working screws so you can disconnect it. It’s a real watch and a real stopwatch. The mission was to make something other famous brands would not be able to make.
Let’s break down the watches. What movements do you use?
First, there’s our Swiss quartz movement, which brings the watch to the $1,000 retail range. The quartz we have only in Chrono – the 12-hour chronograph system. You can keep the Chrono for 12 hours instead of one hour only. Then we have the automatic, which brings the watch to the $1,500 range. The automatic is also Swiss-made with a 36-hour power reserve.
Aside from the design, how else does CT Scuderia stand out from other watch brands and companies?
That was one of the most important exercises that we did. We weren’t looking to imitate any watches. We were not looking to follow a trend. At the beginning when I made the watch, I realized that it could be a very powerful message because it is unique. Of course when you do something that is unique, it may be more complicated to deliver the message because people need to handle the translation of that message. However, if you do something that’s already in the market, it’s easy to receive but you’re competing with everyone.
When we asked ourselves who are our competitors, the answer was, “We don’t know.” Some markets exist in a specific spot between $1,000 and $3,000 [watches] which is the entry price of luxury. If you stay in the luxury division of distribution, a consumer today can spend up to $100,000 on a watch. So we’re at an entry price of luxury compared to them. If we try selling our watches in the fashion system, then we’re too expensive. We’re creating an original market for niche consumers.
What have you accomplished in your time at Fossil and what are some things that you’ve learned with them that you’ve incorporated into this line?
At Fossil, my major involvement was the creation of all licensed brands. I created their licensed business – that was my creation at the company, which is very important today. The entire department of design at Fossil was under my expert vision, and then I did the commercial side of the business.
More than learning at Fossil, I learned from people like Giorgio Armani and Philippe Starck – two people with very different types of talent. I was able to receive from both a vision of a product, branding, and business. From Giorgio Armani, I learned that the products that people like are much more wearable and more classic in some way where the brand is not appearing too strong. Philippe Starck looked at the wrist in so many ways, as well as the product and how to wear the product. When we worked together, he would always tell me that the people that receive your watch need to be surprised.
After such a long-storied and successful career, what does the name CT Scuderia and the brand mean to you?
This is the first time I’m making a watch that is me. Before this, I was making watches for other people – Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Diesel, Philippe Starck – even GlamRock wasn’t for me, it was for the consumer. This is the first time I’m speaking for me particularly, my history, and my passion for the motorbike. I feel like this brand is part of myself. That’s the reason why all of the watches are an expression of different types of bikes. I’m trying to give to the watches what I like personally. I don’t look around to the market much; I simply create watches that I like.
Words: Obi Anyanwu