A third generation Italian watchmaker, Enrico Margaritelli is the creative force behind CT Scuderia watches (CT stands for for Conta Tempo which means "Counting Time"). The watch brand founded in 2011 takes inspiration from the rich Italian heritage of Café Motorcycle racing, and he has infused his deep family lineage and extensive career (working with brands like Fossil and Emporio Armani watches) to create timepieces that have been described as modern classics. CT Scuderia watches are Swiss Made and exacting focus is placed on the design, engineering and overall lifestyle aspect of each creation.
Read our interview with Enrico Margaritelli below:
Being that you’re a third generation Italian watchmaker, did you always know that you would one day enter the family business?
Yes, I knew. Real watches were always my passion for example, vintage chronographs, special movements, sport functions, leather straps, etc.
Your background is in motorcycle racing – what was it you loved most about racing – was it the competition, the speed, the motorcycles themselves?
Just like watches, I grew up with motorcycles all around me. My father’s best friend, Umberto Masetti, was the Worldwide Champion in 1952 with the Gilera Saturno, and in my family the Gilera motorcycle was part of a lifestyle. I was exposed to motorcycles from a very young age. I then chose to race in the Enduro off-road specialty; it’s a type of race in which you are not only thinking about the speed and the time, but you are also trying to preserve the mechanical parts and thinking of how to arrive to the end of the long race. What I love most about this racing style is that the pilot must take care of his or her own motorcycle’s mechanical service. Rules of the race forbid you from receiving external help. This means you need to know how to disassemble and re-assemble your motorbike; including the changing of tires, which must be made in few minutes. Enduro races are normally 2 days long and you race on a circuit of about 50/60 miles long, 4 times a day. Technical, physical and mental preparations are fundamental. I found this type of sport to be of great education to me to be applied to the business side of my life.
When did you get the light bulb moment in your mind that it was time to create your own watch brand – and when was the brand launched?
After 2 years in sales, I saw that there was a category of product missing in the market. It was then, in 1981, that I decided to open my own company with the brand, Key West. In 1987, I began Soviet watches followed by Glam Rock, and at last Contatempo Scuderia in 2011. Contatempo Scuderia was shown to Venanzio Ciampa of The Promotion Factory in which we decided to push the brand fully in July 2012.
How does the engineering of a Café Race influence the design of a CT Scuderia watch?
Motorcycle parts have a big influence on all I do for CT Scuderia. Everything from the shape, type of screws, metal finishes, materials, etc are all inspired by the Café Racer lifestyle.
Where are the CT Scuderia watches engineered and where do you source all the different parts from?
Our watches are all Certified Swiss Made. This means we are operating with Swiss Made parts and that our watches are assembled and made in Switzerland. The leather straps are also made in Switzerland, but the skins are sourced from Italian tanneries.
Are there any military/World War II influences in some of the different watch designs?
No, not really. The only heritage I have is the fact that my grandfather was working in an Italian military factory in Traversetolo near Parma. He was in charge of stopwatch production and the story I heard from him and my father influenced me to create parts of some of the watches in his collection. It had a real influence on my first model for CT Scuderia, the CORSA.
What design advantages do you feel you’ve inherited from being a third generation watchmaker?
Surrounded by watches and being able to touch and feel the watches for a big part of my life was extremely important when I decided to start my own business. I did not have to learn how the watch was built, the names of components, parts, system and procedures, quality aspects, possible technical suppliers, history, etc. All this information was already there with me from Day 1.
One of our favorite CT Scuderia designs is the one that looks deceivingly like a stop clock (CORSA)– albeit much classier – how did you come up with that design?
I started from one of my grandfather’s stopwatches and was inspired by the story of when he was trying to create a system to wear the same watch, but on his wrist. I had designed two stainless steel parts and applied them with screws to the original round case. From there, I then completed the watch construction using modern materials and actual types of movements.
What are the factors/special characteristics about your watches that you feel set you apart from all the other newer watch brands out there?
I think the major factor is that I did not look at what the market trend was when I started to design this collection. CT Scuderia was able to become the trendsetter for bullhead construction. Today many brands are working with a similar theme that follows this new trend, in which we as a brand contributed in launching.
Our watches are also more complete in terms of design and details. We are one of few brands that created a backside design and finish that is just as interesting as the dial. Our straps are made with a construction and materials that are not common even in many commercial brands. For the leather parts, we refer more to the gentleman’s artisanal shoes, handmade production than traditional watchstrap design.
How do you feel a man’s choice of watch he wears affects his total style?
I feel that the choice of his watch has a very important influence on his total style. I always say that watches and shoes are telling a lot about a man’s style. Sometimes people tend to wear important brands only to show their type of income; same as when they show the color of their credit card, gold, platinum, or black. Others prefer to have on their wrist a vintage timepiece or new unknown brands, as they want to take a more personal styled approach.
In your mind, whom do you picture as the ideal CT Scuderia customer?
The CT Scuderia customer is a modern gentleman. He likes to be educated with others, treats people well around him, has a strong passion for everything in life that is real and well-made. He is not into big luxury brands just to show off. He understands quality versus high retail price. Vintage style to him is more important than highly technical pieces. Mechanical tic-tac makes time more real than to read the time on a smart phone. For example, when he is in the subway and sees people reading their smart phone to tell the time, he feels the global world is not going in the direction it should be. When he can, he loves to look at his motorcycle or car and feels the sound of the engine. To him, the best place to keep his bike is inside the house, not in the garage.
Lastly, where do you envision your brand’s growth 5-10 years from now?
My hope is that CT Scuderia will be one of the best brands I’ve created thus far. I dedicate quality time to this great project together with my team so we can build the distribution network of people that will be able to understand the brand’s details - all the while having a bit of fun in this business. Technically I believe that CT Scuderia can grow globally and become a real success story.
For more information and new CT Scuderia collections, visit www.ctscuderia.com