Close-Up: Ralph Lauren Automotive Collection


Ralph Lauren Watches and Jewelry expands its Automotive collection with five new watches for 2015, taking design cues from Ralph Lauren’s own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe. Two of the collection come in black, gunmetal steel cases and three are in stainless steel, the former with amboyna burl wood bezels and the latter with elm burl wood dials. Scroll down for more details on the collection and its automotive inspiration.

Ralph Lauren's own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe
Above: Ralph Lauren’s own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe; below, Lauren next to the car
Mr-Lauren-next-to-his-Bugatti

Details from the automotive world extend throughout the collection. The amboyna burl wood bezels, elm burl wood dial, and black alligator straps are reminiscent of the rich interiors of Ralph Lauren’s prized Bugatti, and the Arabic numerals emulate those found on the car’s iconic gauges. Each piece in the collection is powered by a Swiss mechanical movement, symbolizing the motor itself and offering precision and superior function.

The highlight of the new collection, which was introduced at SIHH 2015 in Geneva, is the RL Automotive Skeleton, the brand’s first openworked timepiece.

Ralph Lauren Automotive Skeleton
Ralph Lauren Automotive Skeleton, front (above) and back (below)
Ralph Lauren Automotive Skeleton caseback

The Ralph Lauren Automotive Skeleton is presented in a case measuring 44.8 mm by 11.20mm, powered by a renowned IWC hand-wound mechanical movement that has been customized by Val Fleurier for Ralph Lauren. The bridges of the movement have been blackened to reflect the aesthetics of the watch, and the mainplate has been artfully cut away to reveal the intricate mechanics underneath. The manually wound caliber RL1967 runs at a frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour and has a 45-hour power reserve, displayed on a unique indicator evocative of a fuel gauge.

Exploded view of RL Automotive Skeleton movement
Exploded view of RL Automotive Skeleton movement

At 12 o’clock is a matte black galvanized azuré subdial with the RL logo. At 6o’clock is a decentralized seconds subdial with white Arabic numerals and an azurage pattern. Hours and minutes are indicated by black, oxidized, sword-shaped hands, which are coated with a beige Super-LumiNova treatment for increased low-light visibility.

Hand-cut amboyna burl wood bezel
Hand-cut amboyna burl wood bezel

Crafted in black gunmetal steel, the RL Automotive Skeleton’s shot-blasted case has a satiny matte finish. The bezel of the watch is crafted out of amboyna burl, a noble hardwood that must be hand-cut and finished by an expert craftsman to reveal the intricate patterns and depth of color in its rich, twisted grain. Finally, the “bombé”-shaped bezel is hand-set with six functioning screws.

"Bombé”-shaped bezel is hand-set with six functioning screws
“Bombé”-shaped bezel is hand-set with six functioning screws

The 45-mm RL Automotive timepiece shares a similar design philosophy, featuring an amboyna burl wood bezel and black gunmetal steel case. The caliber RL98295, a hand-wound mechanical movement made for Ralph Lauren by IWC, is visible through a smoky sapphire crystal caseback. Completing the collection are three stainless steel models with hand-selected elm burl wood dial décor: the Automotive Chronograph, featuring a manufacture movement made by Jaeger-LeCoultre for Ralph Lauren, and the COSC-certified Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronometer, available in two sizes (45 mm and 39 mm).

Ralph Lauren 45 mm Automotive Timepiece with Amboyna Wood Bezel
Ralph Lauren 45 mm Automotive Timepiece with Amboyna Wood Bezel
Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronometer 45 mm and 39 mm
Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronometer 45 mm and 39 mm
Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph with Jaeger-LeCoultre movement
Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph with Jaeger-LeCoultre movement

Prices on the 2015 Ralph Lauren Automotive Collection watches are as follows:

Ralph Lauren Automotive Skeleton 45-mm timepiece – $50,000
Ralph Lauren Automotive 45-mm timepiece – $14,000
Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph Steel 45-mm timepiece – $7,800
Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronometer Steel 45-mm timepiece – $4,970
Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronometer Steel 39-mm timepiece – $4,770

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