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.