It sure raised some eyebrows when, in 2009, luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren announced that it was entering the high-end watch scene in a collaboration with industry giant luxury group Richemont. While there are numerous essential factors that are shared between top fashion and fine watchmaking – following and shaping trends, quality, and consistency in styling being some of them – we watch enthusiasts like to believe that the complex (and ever-changing) recipe to a successful watch brand is difficult to get right even for those who have been in the business for decades – let alone for new-comers.
With the Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph, the brand nonetheless surges on, blending the trademark design elements of its “Sporting” collection with inspiration from an 1938 Bugatti’s dashboard – spiced up with the technical prowess of a movement sourced from Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Ralph Lauren has managed to stay consistent with its Sporting collection’s designs over the past couple of years – perhaps a bit overly so, but more about that in a moment. The 44.80 millimeter wide, round case stands out with its bulky, but elegantly curved lugs, wide bezel, and its six large round screws. The inspiration for this 2015 Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph is the dashboard of a 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe, owned by Ralph Lauren himself – and while the connection to that particular car is arguably negligible, the result is a handsome watch that features a piece of elm burl wood, reflecting the interior trim of the Type 57.
The center of the dial appears to be rather cramped – that is the cost of giving the elm burl veneer enough space to stand out and allow for an easier appreciation of its dark brown color and unique pattern. The center comprises the indices, the date, and the sub-dials for the running seconds, as well as the hour and minute counters of the chronograph. The hour and minute hands look extremely similar in length, width, and design, possibly compromising legibility in some instances – especially considering that they have the 1/3 notch at the exact same location as well.
The movement inside is supplied to Ralph Lauren by none other than Jaeger-LeCoultre – it is the caliber RL751A/1, running at 4 Hertz with about 65 hours of power reserve, and it is claimed to be exclusive to Ralph Lauren. The brand does not make a secret of where the movement is coming from – although they have totally failed to share case-back images. But based on other Ralph Lauren Sporting Chronographs that we have seen, we will say that the movement will have Ralph Lauren written on it.
Sure, that is what one would expect to happen, but I do believe it would be an interesting idea to have a co-branded watch where the movement is marked as Jaeger-LeCoultre. It could possibly make for a collectors’ item later on, plus would add that extra bit of credibility in terms of technical prowess – a Ralph Lauren movement means and says nothing, and that is perfectly fine. They reached out to one of the greatest movement suppliers in the Swiss watch industry – which is no surprise, as both brands are owned by the same luxury group, Richemont – so why not make the most of it?
Ralph Lauren calls this release the Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph, despite the fact that it shares most major design elements with the brand’s Safari Chronograph and Black Chronograph models. The point to be made here is that the name is a bit misleading – there arguably isn’t as much “automotive-ness” to it as other car design inspired watches bring to the table – but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The wood trim, to me at least, could work just as well for a safari, a yachting, or even an aviation themed watch – here, however, the brand went with the automotive approach.
Ralph Lauren was mad. I mean livid. I held the phone away from my ear as the fashion magnate let me have it, both barrels. “Who the Hell do you think you are!” he yelled. I’d had the temerity to suggest that the 1948 Ford “Woody” station wagon in his Boston Museum of Fine Arts automotive exhibition revealed his profound, underlying, defining desire to assimilate. The man born Ralph Rueben Lifshitz was having none of it . . .
This despite the official catalogue’s description of a young Ralph Lauren riding in his Dad’s clunker in stifling summer heat, seeing a family of WASPs heading to the coast in their impossibly glamorous “Woody.” A quintessentially American “someday I’ll have one of those” moments for the last born son of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants.
Our little “discussion” about our shared Jewish roots sprung to mind when the mainstream media revealed the new-sized versions of what hypebeast.com calls Ralph Lauren’s “iconic” chronograph.
I don’t think that word means what hypebeast or Mr. Lauren wants it to mean. Putting an example of his horological Automotive Collection next to, say, a panda-faced stainless steel Rolex Daytona would be like parking a Nissan Altima next to Mr. Lauren’s 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa.
Saying that, the Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph’s haphazard case screw alignment squares with Enzo Ferrari’s less-than-obsessive attention to build quality. (“I don’t sell cars; I sell engines. The cars I throw in for free since something has to hold the engines.”) And you can hardly fault the Bronx-born billionaire for turning to Jaeger-leCoultre to modify their 2004 caliber 751 (below) for his chronograph.
The re-christened the RL751A/1 automatic powering Mr. Lauren’s new-for 2020 42mm chronos – sized to slot between 39mm and 45mm versions – may not be as covetable as any other JLC caliber you can or cannot name, but the Swiss engine is no Chinese-made Marlin, and it delivers a 65-hour power reserve.
Also to his credit, Mr. Lauren’s designated designers deleted the caliber’s running seconds and dreaded (for me but not Oscar) date wheel. So there is that.
“The Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph Woodbezel Watch takes its inspiration from the flowing lines and rich materials of Lauren’s own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe,” The Robb Report reports, regurgitating PR patter. “A beautifully patterned Amboyna burl bezel . . . the same kind of wood carved for use in the Type 57SC’s steering wheel.”
According to wood-database.com (SFW), “Amboyna is commonly used for fine furniture, turned objects, electric guitar tops, knife/gun grips, and other small specialty wood items.” As there are plenty of watches with wood bezels, the real connection between the Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph and Ralph Lauren’s insanely rare Bugatti is . . . Ralph Lauren.
That and the automotive-themed rehaut for timing fuel consumed per hour. The Bug’s fuel gauge doesn’t do that. So, setting side the idea that any chronograph has an automotive vibe, the horological decoration circumnavigating the dial is the main tie between the watch and four-wheeled transportation.
Although the Type 57C is generally considered to be the world’s first supercar – and a V16 supercharged engine’s bound to be pretty thirsty – I doubt its owner wore a watch calculating fuel consumption. If he did, the markings on the watch would indicate litres, rather than “units.” Just saying.
The more interesting question: what watch would the Bug’s owner have worn? A Patek Philippe stainless steel chronograph peut être? If it were me [in an alternative universe], I’d wear a Jaeger-leCoultre, saving some $843k at current values.
I don’t think the Bugatti’s original owner would have had any financial concerns – at least not until World War II broke out. Still, I reckon buying a $9k RL watch to honor the $40m Atlantique is kinda like buying a $99 Ferrari watch to pay homage to a Ferrari F50.
But that’s how Ralph Lauren rolls. Just like his MFA automotive ego wall, just like his clothes, the Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph is the Jewish designer’s attempt to sell WASP culture back to WASPs, and wanna-be WASPs. Unlike Mr. Lauren’s beautifully tailored, high-end fashion line, the chrono is, in a word, tacky. Especially the wood-on-steel-bracelet version.
Mr. Lauren has superb taste in all things. Well, all the things he owns. If the native New Yorker wanted to design a magnificent watch worthy of his automotive collection, he has both the eye and the wherewithal to make it happen. The Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph ain’t it. It’s closest in concept to his immaculately restored “Woody,” the least significant or beautiful automobile in his astounding collection. But the most revealing..
While much of Ralph Lauren’s recent watch news has had an undeniable ursine tone, those looking for something a bit more traditional need not bear it any longer. Announced today as an expansion of its automotive collection, this is the new Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph. Available in either bare stainless steel or with a black finish, this 42mm chronograph is powered by an automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre movement and continues the line’s formation around the spirit and aesthetic of many of the designer’s favorite cars.
I’m something of an automotive enthusiast myself (although in no way comparable to Ralph), and while the job of designing an automotive-themed watch has always seemed like a grizzly task to me, I have always rather liked the look of the Ralph Lauren Automotive Collection. Yes, they are expensive, and I’ve only ever seen one in the wild (at The Quail, naturally), but the design team deserves credit for making something that (1) doesn’t look like everyone else’s automotive-themed watches and (2) doesn’t look like a Rolex Daytona.
RL has trimmed the fat without sacrificing function. The new chronographs split the difference between the two existing sizes (45 and 39mm) while also offering a no-date chronograph with a twin-register layout, no running seconds, and a max 12-hour measure.
That functional layout is supported by an exclusive automatic chronograph movement supplied by Jaeger-LeCoultre. Dubbed the RL751A/1, it’s a 4 Hz movement with a 65-hour power reserve. Based on JLC’s caliber 751, this movement is commonly seen with a date and running seconds, neither of which would have added to this automotive-inspired design.
Ever since Ralph Lauren Watches debuted the Sporting watch as part of their original collection (a few years ago) I was a fan of the sport watch that seemed to mix classic elegance and sporty looks together so well. Resolute to become more than just another high-end sports watch, Ralph Lauren has pushed the Sporting into some interesting directions over its short lifespan. For 2012 there are three new Sporting models that are simply “cool.”
One of the most interesting and unique new models goes with Ralph Lauren’s recent clothing collections quite well. Fascinated with functional vintage clothing, this new watch with a gunmetal style case and canvas style green strap fits with the look Ralph Lauren has been promoting lately. The watch is called the Ralph Lauren Sporting Chronograph Safari RL67. It is 45mm (actually 44.8mm) wide in a specially brushed and finished steel case that is meant to look like gunmetal (note that a 39mm wide version of the case watch is also apparently available). The effect is very well done, and for urban fighting fashionistas, there is finally a proper timepiece to go with their AK47.
The surface of the steel on the Sporting Safari is said to have been specially heat treated and brushed. In addition to the gunmetal look, it is also apparently harder than standard steel. Attached to the watch is an olive green canvas strap with a leather liner. It has a bit of an aged look without really looking aged.
Ralph Lauren is quietly giving their Sporting Chronograph watches a small mechanical upgrade. I believe the first watch to get it is the Sporting Safari. In each of these watches is a Jaeger-LeCoultre made automatic chronograph movement that RL calls the caliber RL750. However, moving forward they will get the RL751/1. I believe the only difference worth mentioning is a bump in the power reserve to 65 hours (from 48 hours). Like I said, right now the Sporting Safari will get the RL751/1, and I believe the rest of the chronograph models will get it soon.
Other new Sporting pieces include some new versions of the Sporting Chronograph Ceramic. These are hard to not like given their colorful rubber coated center links that come in either red or yellow. Ralph Lauren calls these “racing stripes” which ironically enough are not on their Sporting Automotive watch. Also about 45mm wide these matte black ceramic watches are pretty cool looking with their striped bracelets. It it also a way of RL making the pieces a bit more fun and light-hearted. What do you think about the fact that the bracelet has the dash of color but the dial is monochromatic?
Last there is a new version of the previously named “Sporting Watch With An Elm Burl Wood Dial,” that now comes with a steel metal bracelet. Ralph Lauren renamed this watch to be called just the Sporting Automotive Model. You can click on the previous link for a hands-on article for the original piece. The new version is the existing watch on a bracelet. This watch was actually a bit of an experiment as Ralph Lauren didn’t seem to know how well it would do. It did well enough, and the Automotive with its Bugatti dashboard inspired wood dial continues into 2012 with a model on a steel bracelet. Inside the 44.8mm wide steel watch is a manually wound, IWC made, RL98295 movement.
Still new, the Ralph Lauren Sporting watch doesn’t need a revolutionary change, but does benefit from these additional models. The Chronograph look suits it really well, as does the three hand style on the Automotive. It is true that the watch is getting dressed up like a fashion piece, but don’t forget the name of the brand.
Patek Philippe knows all about complicated timepieces and one of them is the Annual Calendar. Patent holder since 1996, the haute brand from Geneva presented the first annual calendar ever: Ref. 5035, after four years of research and prototypes. Able for the first time to distinguish between months of 30 and 31 days, needing to be reset only once a year at the end of February, it was named “Watch of the Year 1996”.
With the presentation in 2016 of Ref. 5396 to celebrate the Annual Calendar’s 20th anniversary, the brand introduced its 22nd annual calendar. Each one has brought innovation, and each one was unmistakably Patek.
Complicated watches that are useful, Patek Phlippe Annual Calendars 4947 are as easy to look at as they are to operate, and when they’re made with ladies in mind, the result is irresistibly feminine.
In 2017, Patek Philippe introduces the ladies’ Ref. 4947 Annual Calendar in white gold wearing a new silvery dial enhanced with a double vertical and horizontal satin finish that is reminiscent of shantung silk.
Providing a clean, pure backdrop for the harmonious dial layout, the effect is relaxing, almost soothing. (Is it because I’ve seen so many blue/black/green/red/purple… dials recently?) It seems to make the reading of the information on display even easier as our eyes move effortlessly from 10 to 2 o’clock to discover respectively the day and the month indicated by hands. At six o’clock the date appears in an aperture, and above the date, we admire the finesse of the moon phase.
A central sweep seconds hand completes luminescent gold hours and minutes hands for the overall reading of time on gold applied numerals.
The 18k white gold 38 mm round case is set with 141 diamonds; the crown alone is set with 14 of them. A sapphire crystal case back reveals the supremely decorated self-winding Caliber 324 S QA LU with power reserve from 35 to 45 hours; the movement boasts a Gyromax balance and Spiromax balance spring.
Water resistant to 30 meters, this beauty is hallmarked with the Patek Philippe Seal, and complemented with a shiny peacock blue hand-stitched alligator strap with square scales, closed with a prong buckle. The Ref. 4947G-101 is priced at EUR45,270, sheduled to arrive in stores by May 2017.
4947/1A Annual Calendar, Moon phases. Introduction 4947/1A – Complications Self-winding. For the first time, Patek Philippe 4947 is offering the Annual Calendar in a round Calatrava-type polished steel case with a 38mm diameter that suits all wrists.
The Ref. 4947 Annual Calendar for ladies in white gold has been endowed with a silvery dial as well as a double vertical and horizontal satin finish reminiscent of wild shantung silk. This adds a touch of very feminine finesse to the patented full calendar that only needs to be corrected once a year.
Patek Philippe is offering the Annual Calendar in a round Calatrava-type polished steel case with a 38mm diameter that suits all wrists. This watch is equipped with a new integrated and entirely polished bracelet featuring five rows of links.
This bell-shaped watch is the Stirrup by Ralph Lauren. Equestrians now have another timepiece dedicated to their hobby. No longer can brands like Piaget and Hermes share in most of the horse world spotlight. Ralph Lauren’s Polo sub-brand can’t be separated from the sport it is meant to honor, and I think a watch based on riding equipment and Ralph Lauren immediately makes sense, even though Mr. Lauren’s design and inspirational scope is much larger. The Ralph Lauren Watch Company is rather far removed from mainstream Polo shirts available at Macy’s. Ralph Lauren has an impressive higher-end division, with the watches being a sort of thematic diamond sitting on top of the heap.
I remember a conversation I was included in several years ago. I believe it was late 2008 and a Richemont executive made a statement about the upcoming Ralph Lauren watch brand. Two other people there (also Richemont employees) sort of scoffed at the idea. Reasonably questioning the nature and purpose of the brand which was linked to the fashion empire. You see, watches made with fashion brand labels, aren’t always top quality or pedigree, even though they often charge top quality and pedigree prices. It was reasonable to be skeptical.
The Richemont executive countered almost slyly, pointing out that their hesitations about taking the upcoming brand less than seriously might not be merited. Having no stake in the new brand, they nodded their head seriously and mentioned that the Ralph Lauren pieces would be serious watches. Everyone there seemed to be curious about how it would go.
I believe it was at SIHH 2009 where Ralph Lauren watches officially made their debut. I was there, and got a chance to see the seminal collection. The three main characters in the new horological drama were the Sporting, Slim Classic, and the Stirrup. The first two easily had the most mainstream appeal, while the Stirrup was to be Ralph Lauren’s most distinct product, and hopefully a new visual trademark for the fresh brand. It came in versions for both men and women, with some of the latter being particularly poised and high-end jewelry pieces. One thing that always stuck out a lot to me, was the logo. “Ralph Lauren” was spelled out cleanly and in an unpretentious manner. I thought that was clever, and made it look like a name that had been around much longer than it actually was. Taking away the matter of price, I am happy to say that overall, Ralph Lauren watches are relatively speaking, nice and unpretentious watches. That even applies to this solid 18k rose gold Stirrup large, with a slightly glossy bund-style alligator strap.
This “large” version of the Stirrup is 36.60mm wide by 38.50mm tall. It is also 12.15mm thick. Also available in steel, the case is finely rendered and well polished. This 18k rose gold version offers large areas of polish which greatly emphasizes the warmth of rose gold. You’ll notice that the strap connects differently on both ends of the watch, but it is designed so that underneath there is a flush surface for comfort. The strap is solid, but not overly thick. A charming detail is the buckle on the fold-over clasp, which mirrors the design of the case. The strap uses an 18k rose gold tension clasp which requires a firm push to get it to audibly click into place. While I tend to prefer locking or push-button deployant clasps, the buckle on the Stirrup does benefit from having a rather thin profile. It does remind me a lot of clasps I have seen on Cartier watches in the past.
On the wrist the Stirrup large isn’t what I would call large, but rather medium-large. On my wrist it actually looks quite proportional, but I have small wrists. I think they should eventually offer one size larger for wide-wristed men who want to sport this unique design. I am not saying the watch is small, but you need to try it on for yourself – especially because the unusual shape of the case can be hard to visualize on your wrist without actually wearing it. I do appreciate how the tapered strap does help the case appear larger than it is.
If you look closely at the 18k rose gold and steel models, you’ll notice that Ralph Lauren designed them with slightly different dials. This Chronograph model has a white lacquered dial with all black hands and indexes. This results in pretty perfect contrast between what you want to read and the watch face. Still, the chronograph subdials are slight recessed, and even have a snailed texture if you look really closely. It isn’t hard to imagine where the dial style came from. Ralph Lauren himself made it clear each of the watches in his collection were based on things that inspired him. Going to a range of classic pieces with Roman numeral hour markers and sword-style hands, he was able to settle on something which is genuinely satisfying and familiar looking. The design ethos opted to take an unusual case design, and try to render it in a way that felt very natural – as though this was a watch mimicking something you discovered in your wealthy uncle’s estate property.
When Ralph Lauren watches were announced, it was immediately made clear that they would not be using their own movements, but rather proudly be using movements made for them by other brands in the Richemont Group. You see, Ralph Lauren watches is not inherently part of the Richemont Group, but rather made an agreement with them to produce watches together. Richemont owns a number of the world’s most successful high-end luxury watch brands, and it was a rather logical partner for the endeavor. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, Ralph Lauren would take a very traditional approach to making watches by using movements from existing and respected watch movement makers. Some people thought this was strange, but they are forgetting their history.
The examples are countless, but a good example is with Piaget. The Ralph Lauren Slim Classic timepieces each use movements made by Piaget for Ralph Lauren. Piaget started as a watch movement maker. Selling their their products to others who would put them in their own cases. It was not until the 1940s I believe that there was ever a Piaget watch. Today Ralph Lauren recalls that tradition. They design the watch and then work with a respected high-end watch movement maker to outfit them with movements. It makes sense to me, and I appreciate the transparency. To be honest it even helps me feel more comfortable about the value proposition than if Ralph Lauren attempted to make their own movements.
Inside the Stirrup Chronograph is a movement produced by Swiss Jaeger-LeCoultre, called the caliber RL 750. This automatic caliber has the time and 12 hour chronograph with a 48 hour power reserve. Jaeger-LeCoultre makes watches and movements, and is a very well respected movement maker. It should be seen as a benefit to have this movement in the watch. As of now, the most complex movements in Ralph Lauren watches are produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre. Piaget and IWC make the other ones.
Legibility and wearing comfort are overall good with the Stirrup. While the design unorthodox, it isn’t too avant garde. Most people can easily pull this look off – but it will require a lot to pull them away from the very attractive Sporting and Slim Classic models. The Stirrup for men is available in steel with black and white dials starting at $6,600. This 18k rose gold model is priced at $25,100, while 18k white gold models are $27,200. At the top of the range is a platinum version of the Stirrup Chronograph with a white enamel dial priced at $68,500. What a difference some metal makes.
I want to sum up by saying that if you remove the Ralph Lauren name off of the dial, this, and other products from the newer brand could really be timepieces from most of the Richemont companies. That is because they are produced from the same series of suppliers and use the same database of production knowledge. They are effectively the same types of products you’d find from Cartier, IWC, Piaget, etc… Ralph Lauren was thus able to start off with a good quality watch collection, that it only needs to convince people that they aren’t mere fashion items.
When Thierry Stern announced that Patek Philippe Nautilus replica was ceasing production of the iconic stainless steel 5711/1A Nautilus, thousands of collectors who had been waitlisted for years were crestfallen. It was one of the most sought-after watches of all time, and they had lost their chance to purchase it without paying a steep markup on the secondary market. But today, Patek Philippe releases four new versions of the famed Patek Philippe Nautilus replica watch, including a new dial color for Ref. 5711/1A. There’s a new olive green sunburst dial available with or without diamonds, a blue sunburst dial in the Travel Time Chronograph, and a high-jewelry version with snow-set diamonds.
The new olive-green dial made its Patek Philippe debut earlier this year in the Twenty~4 Automatic collection. Now, it comes to the Nautilus. The stainless steel Ref. 5711/1A will soon be discontinued, so this will be one of, if not the, year’s hottest watches. The olive green dial has a beautiful sunburst finish and comes in the same satin-brushed and polished stainless steel case and bracelet that of the coveted Ref. 5711/1A.
The olive-green dial gets a bit of glamour with a diamond-set bezel. The distinct shape of the Nautilus is enhanced by 32 flawless Top Wesselton diamonds totaling 3.6 carats. The baguette diamonds have a unique, slightly trapezoidal shape that is cut to perfectly fit the octagonal bezel with rounded corners. The brilliance of the diamonds enhances the beautiful green dial.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph now comes in a stunning 18K rose gold model, as well as the stainless steel model that debuted in 2014. The Nautilus’s signature combination of satin-brushed and polished finishing is particularly beautiful in rose gold. It features a flyback chronograph with a 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock, Patek Philippe’s Travel Time function that displays two time zones, and a date subdial at 12 o’clock. All of the functions are quite legible and the dial has a harmonious, balanced composition.
The flyback chronograph is activated by pushing the pusher at 4 o’clock while the chronograph is running, enabling you to quickly time a new event without having to stop and reset the chronograph, saving you precious seconds. The Travel Time function displays two time zones using two hour hands, a solid one for the local time and a pierced one for home time. It’s easy to change the time by using the pushers at 9 o’clock. Day and night are indicated with Local and Home apertures at 3 and 9 o’clock. If you’re not traveling, you can set them to the same time zone and the pierced hand will disappear behind the solid hand, giving you a cleaner look. It is powered by the automatic chronograph movement
Diamonds are not new to the Nautilus, and throughout the years, Patek Philippe has introduced several stunning models. Today, it releases a high-jewelry Nautilus with diamonds on the case, bezel, and bracelet in a slightly larger 35.2 mm case. The diamonds on the dial are set in the Nautilus’s signature rows and it features snow-set diamonds, also called random pavé, on the rest of the beautiful watch. These diamonds are set at a seemingly random pattern, and Patek Philippe’s master gem setters select diamonds of different sizes to create a unique look, similar to freshly fallen snow with differently sized snowflakes, that minimizes the amount of metal that shows. In total, it features 2,553 flawless Top Wesselton diamonds that weigh approximately 12.69 carats. It is powered by the automatic caliber 324 S, which is visible through the open caseback.
Remember Travolta? Remember Beckham? Remember the weirdly sexist undertones of a brand that for the longest while couldn’t quite seem to pin down who it was trying to make watches for and how to talk to them? In case you still do, it might finally be time to go ahead and forget this awkward period of now-ancient history in the grand scheme of Breitling‘s meteoric return to relevance. As Breitling CEO Georges Kern continues to put distance between his brand direction and that of his predecessors from the Schneider Era, he’s this time leaning on the brand’s own original founding managers for inspiration to yield a trio of new references: a traditional handwound chronograph, a ‘rattrapante’ or split second chronograph, and a complete calendar chronograph, that together comprise the newly christened Premier Heritage Collection.
The original Breitling Premier replica collection was more or less Kern’s flag in the sand when he assumed a leadership role at the brand back in 2017. Purpose-built around in-house calibres and leveraging original designs with more complex, premium finishing, the Premier was positioned as a more grown-up Breitling and a return to form – a capstone collection of sorts at the top of the brand’s then-newly consolidated offerings. ABTW Managing Editor Bilal Khan called the inaugural Premier “a thoughtful, detail-rich chronograph that exceeded expectations” in his long-term 2019 review right here. This new heritage-inspired spin-off collection appears to continue to adhere to that same formula, albeit with a more classical, mid-century twist that echoes the handsome original Premier watches introduced by Willy Breitling in the 1940s.
Here, we have colorful, beautifully rendered dials (typography nerds will have a lot to appreciate) with applied arabic numerals and a much more traditional approach to chronograph movement execution – perhaps just as Willy Breitling himself would have once wanted it. And yes, that’s indeed a complete calendar in the mix. Indeed, it’s a strikingly intelligent offering and a far cry from the Breitling that many might have once known, but as the brand continues to mature and peel back the many layers of its back catalog, we learn something that Breitling scholars have known all along: before the advent of the jet age, and before sport diving became mainstream, the brand enjoyed a rich period of very elegant, classical chronographs around the middle of the last century that fully embraced watchmaking’s more traditional values.
Regardless of design intent, the modern Breitling watch tends to be more of a sporty expression, so to bring the two value systems of two entirely different eras together, we’ve got slightly upsized cases (40mm for the standard handwound chronograph, and 42mm for the split second & complete calendar variants) and 100 meters of water resistance for each. The latter feature is a particularly interesting development – just how many complete calendar chronographs can you name that have more than a paltry 30 or 50 meters of water resistance? This particular combination of complications is already a relatively rare one (Jaeger-LeCoultre, Parmigiani, Blancpain, and IWC each have something that comes close), but wrapped up here in a beautiful salmon dial and finished with enough water resistance to make this a proper everyday wearer makes this particular reference one hell of an interesting proposition.
While the automatic calibre B25-powered Breitling Premier Datora 42 complete calendar (refresher: that’s hour, minute, second, day, date, month, and moonphase) might get most of the spotlight this week, the sneaky show-stealer might be the entry-level Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 which pays tribute to the Léon Breitling’s earliest chronographs which pioneered the implementation of a tachymeter scale for measuring speed. A deceptively simple affair clad in a truly gorgeous “Pistachio” green dial, this reference is powered by Breitling’s manufacture B09 handwound chronograph movement, which we’ve seen rolled out in a smattering of offerings thus far, including the 1959 Navitimer re-issue and the AVI ref. 765 re-issue.
The third option in the trio – the Breitling B15 Duograph 42 uses Breitling’s B15 manufacture calibre, which is interesting as it’s essentially the B03 split-second chronograph movement, albeit in handwound form. This enables designers to produce a functionally similar watch in a considerably more wearable 42mm package. Like the other two new options in the collection, you’ll have both stainless steel, and precious red gold options to choose from – each with their own unique dial color and color-matched strap.
Watches for Men. Timeless and sophisticated, Ralph Lauren’s men’s watches combine elegant vintage inspirations, contemporary designs, and timekeeping technology that uses both traditional artisan techniques and cutting-edge technologies.
The Polo Ralph Lauren watch is available in three lacquered color dials: Ralph Lauren’s signature shade of vivid green, timeless navy blue, and a deep black with either a stainless steel or matte black casing. The Navy Sport Watch A celebration of Polo heritage. Drawn from the storied history of four iconic bears, each watch represents a different facet of Mr. Lauren’s own unmatched style As a young man, Ralph Lauren sought out vintage clothes in Army-Navy surplus stores, reinventing the pieces he found as modern sportswear with a sense of purpose and individuality. Each movement is composed of 26 jewels and runs at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Your browser does not support the video tag. The Polo Watch is available in three lacquered color dials: Ralph Lauren’s signature shade of vivid green, timeless navy blue, and a deep black with either a stainless steel or matte black casing.
Limited availability. Featuring a chic round case and a bold mix of Arabic and Roman numerals, the RL888 collection expresses the elegant and modern sensibility of the iconic Ralph Lauren woman. Select models are embellished with sparkling diamond-set bezels, while others feature a vibrant rose-cut amethyst at the crown. RL Automotive models feature a new “RL” logo at 12 o’clock, inspired by vintage race car logotypes. The burl wood bezel of the RL Automotive Skeleton watch is inspired by the steering wheel of Mr. Lauren’s own vintage Bugatti.
If you’ve ever seen or attended a polo match in Argentina, you know about the sport’s brutal reality. There are the massive crowds, the boisterous fans. The ultra-competitive athletes, recognized as “hired assassins,” going full-tilt on the pitch. It’s all surprisingly violent.
The rarefied universe of Ralph Lauren Polo Watch paints a different picture. Chalk it up to decades of brilliant marketing, advertising, and brand-building. Polo is evocative here, the aspirational and compelling concept that gave Ralph Lauren a winning company name in 1967. Soon after, the concept was distilled down to a singular icon, woven into the body of a shirt: man, mallet, and steed. The emblem became an indispensable mascot, representing a lifestyle that’s equally sporty, elegant, and tasteful. Now, the symbol has taken its rightful place on the dial of a new line of timepieces.
“My new Polo watch with the symbol of the Polo player artfully rendered on the dial represents the timeless spirit of authenticity that has always inspired me,” says Lauren.
Said player is rendered with a multi-layered colorful three-dimensional effect, surrounded by luminescent Arabic numerals, with the Polo name appearing on the rotating bezel. There are three lacquered dials offered inside a traditional stainless steel case: green, navy blue, and black. The latter dial can also be had with a PVD-coated stainless case.
Still, like Ralph Lauren’s endlessly adaptable fashion collections, the straps are where the self-expression really begins. Mix-and-match fabric straps (inspired by Ralph Lauren’s shirtings) can be easily swapped out for leather straps and steel bracelets. Perhaps the most desirable is a NATO strap printed with the PoloSport logo, inspired by resurgent interest in vintage Lauren wares from the 1990s, now fiercely sought collector’s items for the hypebeast set.
That’s not to say the new Polo Watch is a mere fashion item. Where most competing brands opt for simple quartz movements, Mr. Lauren’s personal love of mechanical watches shines through by way of an automatic Swiss movement, Caliber RL200, manufactured by Sellita. Elevating the watch further, this movement is decorated with vertical Côtes de Genève stripes and circular graining known as perlage, visible through the sapphire crystal open caseback. Power reserve is 38 hours, and the case is water-resistant up to 100 meters.
Joining last year’s Polo Bear collection, these irreverent and sporty timepieces are a notable departure from the first watch collections that debuted in 2018, in celebration of Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary. Repositioning the Polo Watch collections as more utilitarian makes sense; in what has proven to be an unpredictable year, the move seems both smart and agile. It’s also a reminder that Ralph Lauren’s expertise in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of fashion is among the brand’s greatest assets.
The other, of course, is worldwide recognition. So while the Polo Watch collection might just be hitting stores now, the appearance of the signature Polo Player makes each piece seem like an old friend. That familiarity, now more customizable and accessible than before, is almost sure to hit home with a range of customers.
“A watch is like a piece of art with a quality and character that goes beyond functionality. It is the most personal accessory, and during times like these, a most reassuring piece of who we are, of one’s personal style,” says Lauren. “It feels like a classic because it has been part of our heritage for almost fifty years.”
To celebrate the holiday season, ralph lauren polo bear watch has dropped three new watches featuring the brand’s iconic Polo Bear motif. Each shows the bear in a different style of clothing – one nods to the tony Bedford, with a tweed jackets and boots; one embodies casual Americana with a flag sweater and denim; one is all dressed up in a double breasted tuxedo. They show off the full spectrum of Ralph Lauren style, and with a bit of tongue-in-cheek attitude, too. The watches are all technically identical, with only the lacquer dials varying. They’re all 42mm across, 10.7mm thick, and made of stainless steel. I particularly like the placement of the crown at two o’clock and the use of wire lugs, giving the cases some old-school charm. Additionally, both the Bedford Bear and Denim Flag Bear watches come with two straps that you’re meant to be able to mix and match, should you choose.
While some of the die-hard watch nerds reading this might be thinking “Wait, why are we reading about teddy bear watches on HODINKEE?,” I beg you to stick with me on this one. The polo bear replica has real history and is something worth knowing about. It dates back to 1991, when Ralph Lauren employees supposedly bought both Ralph and his brother Jerry Lauren teddy bears as gifts – only the bears were dressed up like their bosses. The two men were charmed and thought it would be fun to sell a limited run of the bears at the Ralph Lauren Mansion on Madison Avenue. They sold out quickly, and then the Polo Bear started making its way onto everything from sweaters, sweatshirts, and other Ralph Lauren goods. Now, nearly 29 years later, there are collectors dedicated to just Polo Bear merch, hunting Ebay, flea markets, and estate sales for rare variations. (You don’t have to take my word for it either.) Sometimes the Polo Bear is surfing, and sometimes he’s relaxing, but he’s always decked out in head-to-toe Ralph Lauren. It’s a perfect example of Ralph Lauren’s ethos of doing serious things without taking himself too seriously.
A celebration of Polo heritage. Drawn from the storied history of four iconic bears, each watch represents a different facet of Mr. Lauren’s own unmatched style As a young man, Ralph Lauren sought out vintage clothes in Army-Navy surplus stores, reinventing the pieces he found as modern sportswear with a sense of purpose and individuality.
The Ralph Lauren Bear Watch for sale Collection. To commemorate his 50th anniversary, Ralph Lauren introduces a very personal collection of watches bringing to life the celebrated style of the Polo Bear. These luxurious timepieces in a limited-production issue are the perfect blend of fine Swiss watchmaking and iconic Polo style.
As a young man, Ralph Lauren sought out vintage clothes in Army-Navy surplus stores, reinventing the pieces he found as modern sportswear with a sense of purpose and individuality. Nautical Bear nods to this heritage of maritime style in a naval officer–inspired blazer with a bullion-embroidered insignia
Supercharged with classic Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Sparkling savoir-faire, BLAST is an avatar of its time, a potent force of nature.
A technological wonder made with rock-hard, masculine lines.
BLAST wears it “X” prominently and with pride.The “X” has become an underlying theme progressing transversally throughout all Ulysse Nardin collections and has affirmed its presence in all four BLAST models. Its shape-within-shape-within-shape geometry is a visual delight: an “X”, framed in a rectangle, both inside a circle.
This atomic bomb of a watch is powered by the recently fashioned UN-172 movement and have a three-day power reserve. With an automatic tourbillon for the first time within the Ulysse Nardin SKELETON collection and a new tiny yet powerful platinum micro-rotor – visible only from the front of the watch at 12 o’clock – BLAST was 18 months in the making, from conception to creation.
The Ulysse Nardin designers have restyled and rebuilt the watch horns making them strong and geometric like the sharp wings of a stealth aircraft as it slices through a storm. Each triangle has a different finish, the surface of the horns alternating between polished, satin-finish and sand-blaster veneer.
Thanks to a new patented 3 blade system that opens in a synchronized manner it snaps open like a couple sharing a dynamic and erotic tango dance. Stunningly easy, powerfully secure.
BLAST is available in four distinct models, each with the new manufacture UN-172 movement with an automatic tourbillon and the new self-deploying buckle. Three bracelets options are possible: structured rubber, leather, velvet and some specific option.
Let’s wake the dormant Ulysses who lie beneath the surface. Let’s examine the X-rays of our souls, beyond the mirrors, the appearances.
We explore. We exist. We are fearless. The X factor is our answer.
X like an adventure, X like our deepest desires.
Ulysse Nardin has expanded its Skeleton X collection by adding two new models embellished with diamonds.
There are two versions of the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Sparkling: a white titanium version with a mother-of-pearl decoration on the barrels and a white alligator strap, and a black 4N pink gold version with a black PVD brass barrel cover and a black alligator strap.
With its skeleton structure, the Skeleton X Sparkling opens itself up and reveals revealing its secrets .The boundaries between the inside and outside are erased. Shrouded in diamonds, its appearance pushes to a pinnacle of transparency of its powerful UN 371 manufacture movement. Thanks to a meticulously open structure which however conserves its resilience to impacts, the breathtaking beauty of its beating heart is striking.
Decorated with 80 diamonds on the bezel and 69 on the dial, the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Sparkling is relatively small size of only 42mm and fully follows the current trend: Its curves give way to sharp lines for more masculinity. Its nested geometry – an X formed by four of the hour markers framed by a rectangle, itself in a circle – is an eye-catching feature. These timepieces boast a refined profile and silhouette, crafted finishes, and a hand-polished surface.
Inside and visible beats one of the FREAKVISION’s greatest innovations: an extra-wide, super-light balance wheel in silicon, with nickel flyweights and stabilizing micro-blades. The Manufacture movement, UN -371 caliber, is an entirely reworked version of the UN -171 movement. The 96-hour power reserve is displayed through the apertures on the barrel visible on the back of the watch.