Several fashion brands have taken watches very seriously. Bulgari, Hermès, Chanel and Cartier produce fabulous timepieces. Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana have launched into the area of mechanical watches. With the Ralph Lauren Watch & Jewelry Company, founded in 2007 in a joint venture with Richemont, the American designer is taking things equally seriously, with a collection that now includes a tourbillon with a dial featuring burr wood. This year, the brand’s watch collections – Sporting, Slim Classique and Stirrup – comprise the Sporting Classical Chronometer, a fairly large watch at 45 mm, with black dial, Roman numerals, railroad minute track, Breguet hands, seconds subdial, and padded black alligator strap. The very visible screws on the bezel and caseback are perhaps a reference to Gerald Genta’s Royal Oak design for Audemars Piguet. The polished steel case gives the watch a prestige look, which contrasts pleasantly with the chunky volumes. It is water resistant to 100 metres.
Strangely, the designers opted to forego SuperLuminova on the hands and dial indicators, which would perhaps have been more appropriate for a “sports” collection. But the quality of the watch is proven by the COSC certification for the RL366 calibre self-winding movement. With 29 jewels, it operates at 4 Hertz (28,800 vibrations/hour), with vertical Côtes de Genève decoration. The crown is marked with the RL logo. The movement is probably made by another Richemont Group brand. The watch costs $4,100 (€3,300), and it can be purchased at Ralph Lauren boutiques and online (http://watches.ralphlauren.com).