A fashion brand starting its own watch range is nothing that will excite the heart of the hardcore horologists. Too often have collaborations like these taken the form of a mere licensing deal. The result is usually a cash grab working on name recognition alone, where you seriously have to doubt whether the creators wear their own timepieces outside of media obligations.
When Ralph Lauren in 2007 announced it was going to release a watch range the news in itself was neither surprising nor exciting, what was though was their choice of partner. They decided to enter a 50/50 equity deal with Richemont. From then on it was clear, this was not going to be your usual fashion watch.
Instead, we got treated to the Ralph Lauren Automotive, a watch inspired by a car within the personal collection of Mr Lauren himself: the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe. While at first look the relationship between the two seems feeble, a second glance reveals small details here and there which tie the two together. The exposed rivets on the automobile, for example, translated into the functional bezel and lug screws. Further, based on Lauren’s Personal Bugatti it comes in a matte gunmetal grey and reminiscent of the steering wheel has an Amboyna burl wood bezel.
To dispell any doubts you may still have about this being a serious watch brand Ralph Lauren has decided to fit his timepiece with the RL 701 Movement, made by none other than Jaeger Le-Coultre. Over a decade in the game already Ralph Lauren still seems to struggle to be taken seriously by the watch world. A victim of its own success, it will take informed consumers who can see beyond the brand name to what actually is a respectable watch in its own right.