Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wrapping up the CT Scuderia Dashboard

Okay, a week has come and gone and it is time to sum up my experience wearing the CT Scuderia Dashboard Automatic.

This is a watch that is long on design elements and takes a bold approach.  Many, many watch companies have endeavored to produce a watch paying homage to car or motorcycle gauges.  Some have done better than others, and CT Scuderia has done better than most.
While some of my colleagues in the "blogosphere" have been a bit "whiny" about the look of the dial saying "It looks too much like a car's gauge", I think that is an unfair criticism.  That is, after all, what the design was based on ; )

The watch was legible and it was never a challenge to tell the time.  Those folks out there who want a "cleaner" dial?  Buy a different watch.  Problem solved.

The timekeeping overall was good, with no unreasonable deviations.  As it is described on the website as being "Automatic Swiss Made" we will have to leave the ultimate supplier to our imagination.

The case back has some nice finishing effect in red, white and green to enhance the Italian racing inspiration of the watch.  The movement is viewable through the back crystal.  It is really nothing special to look at so my presumption is that either as this is a "sample" piece it is bare bones, or that they simply chose not to do much to the back rotor.  And in fairness, they are certainly not required to.  This is one of the most puzzling things that I find in the watch world - everyone seems obsessed with providing a display back so that people can see the real-live movement!  But often the movement is only a touch better than raw looking.  It's a bit like my old apartment in Portland that had a window that looked right back into a brick wall.  What's the point?

One item that I would like to see improvement on is the crown.  It tends to be a bit sensitive when trying to set the watch or even when pushing it back in to position 1.  The result is that it is not always so smooth and easy to set the time without the jump of a few minutes when pushing the crown back in. This could have something to do with the size of the crown and possibly its location at 6.  Not the end of the world, but a bit challenging to use.

So mechanically, the watch is pretty fair.  But now we get down to perhaps the great equalizer (at least for me) when it comes to watches - comfort and "wear-ability".  I want to preface this by saying that I like the looks of the watch, I admire the design efforts, and I applaud someone willing to see the vision of their design to the finish line.  Having said that, I have to be honest - this was without a doubt one of the most uncomfortable watches I have ever worn.  It was so uncomfortable that by the third day I was having to alternate to my other wrist, and ultimately I cut the review short by a day.  Why?

The design that is so bold and compelling did not necessarily lend itself to a smooth "fit" for the wearer.  The outer parts of the case are smooth and well finished as are the lugs.  They are pleasant to look at and very organic in their shape. Unfortunately the underside of the case was not smooth but somewhat tactile and this was aggravated by the lugs where they joined the case.  If the watch were not so large or had been a bit lighter, this might not have had so pronounced an impact.  And in fairness it is a 44 mm watch, so it is not reasonable to blame fit and feel on size alone.

The strap is quite pleasing to look at and is well in keeping with the theme of the watch and its heritage.  Unfortunately the comfort did not meet the expectation.  It was a bit thick - a good quality to have for durability and to match the size of the case.  Unfortunately it was also a bit stiff, and the underside was not too forgiving.  I suspect that these two things combined (at least in the piece that I reviewed) to create the comfort issues that I experienced.  And as with all strap bound watches, unless you are in the magic 1 % where the the strap hole magically aligns with your optimal wrist size, there will most likely be some sliding - and I want to be clear that is something that happens with ALL strap watches.  The saving grace then is smooth finishing and unfortunately, the underside of the case did not have that.  

So to sum it up?  I think it is a great, fun design.  I applaud the folks at CT Scuderia to being true to their vision and their concept.  And frankly - this is one man's opinion - and it is just that, an opinion.  I think if the case back had been a bit smoother and more forgiving this would have been a completely different experience - and therefore likely a different review.  It is entirely possible that I got a "sample" piece and therefore it is not as finished as what you might experience on one you would purchase.  And yes boys and girls, before you cluck your tongues and roll your eyes, there is such a thing as a sample piece.  Unlike it's poor watch show cousin the "dummy" watch, it actually works, but is still not quite ready for "prime time".   I really want to like the CT Scuderia for a lot of reasons, and I do hope that this one experience was an anomaly.  But ultimately my strong advice would be:
1.  Visit an authorized retail partner
2.  Try the watch on and make sure that the fit and feel are what you expect
3.  If you love it - buy it and wear it proudly 
4.  Let me and everyone else know about your good experience!
5.  This is just my experience, your mileage will vary ; )

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