24-7 (Singapore) - - Contents - BY AARON DE SILVA

Ralph Lau­ren time­pieces evoke the brand’s proud his­tory

The RL67 Tour­bil­lon mar­ries high­com­pli­ca­tion tech­ni­cal­ity with

rugged charm The Sport­ing World Time lets the user choose from 24 in­ter­na­tional cities for its sec­ond time zone dis­play

Evok­ing Art Deco whimsy, the di­a­mond-stud­ded L867 flaunts glitzy, ge­o­met­ri­cal perfection For un­bri­dled glam­our, con­sider the Di­a­mond Link Medium set with

1,900 di­a­monds The RL67 Chronome­ter ex­udes mil­i­tary-in­spired chic

Ralph Lau­ren’s 2013 watch col­lec­tion con­tin­ues to es­pouse the brand’s ideals of nos­tal­gia, tra­di­tion, ad­ven­ture and so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

Six years ago, news that Amer­i­can lux­ury life­style brand Ralph Lau­ren was en­ter­ing a strate­gic part­ner­ship with Swiss lux­ury con­glom­er­ate Richemont to pro­duce its own line of watches met with a mea­sure of scep­ti­cism from the in­dus­try. De­trac­tors read the move as yet an­other fash­ion and life­style brand at­tempt­ing to mus­cle in on an al­ready over­crowded field. Could the com­pany pos­si­bly bring any­thing of sig­nif­i­cant value to the ta­ble?

Six years on, it’s clear they can. The rea­son is sim­ple: Ralph Lau­ren – both the man and the hugely suc­cess­ful com­pany – never set out to cre­ate the most com­pli­cated watches on the planet, nor the most highly dec­o­rated ones. In­stead, qual­ity and time­less­ness were the goals. It was de­cided, right from the word go, that the clas­si­cal­style of­fer­ings would be as much ex­ten­sions of the Ralph Lau­ren uni­verse as they were func­tional time­keep­ing in­stru­ments.

Lau­ren’s flair for de­sign and de­tail – as well as his ex­tra­or­di­nary abil­ity to con­jure pow­er­ful, as­pi­ra­tional im­ages – was com­bined with Richemont’s strengths in move­ment man­u­fac­ture and its ex­clu­sive dis­tri­bu­tion net­work. Backed by the le­git­i­macy of Swiss­made me­chan­i­cal move­ments (largely sup­plied by Jaeger-LeCoul­tre), the watches were a hit when they de­buted at SIHH in 2009. Their so­phis­ti­ca­tion and so­bri­ety neatly summed up the global state of af­fairs then.

Four years later, Ralph Lau­ren watches con­tinue to strike a chord with fans. The 2013 col­lec­tion re­volves around themes that have been the in­spi­ra­tion for much of Lau­ren’s multi­bil­lion-dol­lar em­pire: Sa­fari ad­ven­tures, horse­back rid­ing, and Art Deco. The RL67 Tour­bil­lon is a high­light of the col­lec­tion, for it marks the brand’s first foray into the high­com­pli­ca­tion arena. By hous­ing the mech­a­nism in a de­cid­edly brawny Sa­fari case, the brand gives an edge to this timepiece – and re­in­forces it by jux­ta­pos­ing the rugged gun­metal fin­ish of the case and tour­bil­lon bridge with the re­fined al­li­ga­tor strap, which has a spe­cial patina.

Con­tin­u­ing the vin­tage theme is the more util­i­tar­ian RL67 Chronome­ter, which fea­tures the same black­ened-steel treat­ment on its 45mm case. Beige Ara­bic nu­mer­als and a faded olive can­vas strap hint at mil­i­tary in­flu­ences.

The Stir­rup Col­lec­tion fea­tures cases shaped like… stir­rups, nat­u­rally, and re­mains a vivid ex­pres­sion of Ralph Lau­ren’s eques­trian her­itage. The new Steel Link watch in this col­lec­tion bal­ances the sleek lines of its case with the grace­ful flu­id­ity of the chain-link bracelet. The links in­ter­lock in such a way that the bracelet lies com­fort­ably flat on the wrist, fol­low­ing its curves ex­actly.

And the full-pave Di­a­mond Link Medium should sat­isfy the yearn­ings of those who pre­fer a dust­ing of bling. Housed in a medium-sized Stir­rup case with a small sec­onds func­tion at 6 o’clock, the watch gleams with the fire of 1,900 bril­liants, cut and shaped into 20 sizes to cre­ate a smooth, con­tin­u­ous sur­face for max­i­mum shine. Each stone is painstak­ingly set by hand in a process that takes al­most three months, a fact that only serves to en­hance the watch’s pre­cious­ness.

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