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Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph Watch For SIHH 2015

Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph Watch For SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

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 Automotive Chronograph Watch For SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

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.

Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph Watch For SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

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.

Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph Watch For SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

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.

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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 Automotive Chronograph Watch For SIHH 2015 Watch Releases

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.

Nitpicking aside, the Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph makes for a clever expansion of the brand’s Sporting collection. It will officially be debuted at SIHH 2015 in January, with pricing falling somewhere around $9,000 – making for a relatively good deal on a watch equipped with a Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture chronograph movement. watches.ralphlauren.com

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  • Not a bad looking watch that I would consider owning…had it not maxed out at over 40mm. Oh well…

  • Jimxxx

    Could the movement be any smaller? Clearly not intended for the watch connoisseurs but rather for RL fans. And those misaligned screws… They should learn from AP, NOT from Hublot!

  • Time2Go

    I really like the wood ring, and everything outside of it (the tachy track, the screws [even if they don’t align], and the case).  But everything inside the ring is a disaster – cramped, unattractive, and cheap looking.  I don’t care whose movement is inside, this is not a $9K watch.

  • trj66

    I simply HATE truncated numbers on a dial – and this specimen is truly ghastly in that sense (as well as being utterly cramped). Sigh…

  • captaina16

    $9000 for a watch that can’t get the bezel screws to align. I like Ralph’s overall designs but a simple oversight on watch that costs this amount should not occur when a major designer is involved.

  • CenterSweep

    It hurts my heart that they wasted a perfectly good Jaeger movement on this monstrocity.

  • DangerussArt

    trj66 Even fixing all that, it’s still not much to look at:

  • thornwood36

    I like it and hate it in equal measure. Am loving the wooden styling on the face, a paler pine might be a good option. Lovely lugs. The centre is a complication it didn’t need. Is it open  backed ? , i always like to watch the movement, 9 grand, is waaaay too much ,

  • trj66

    DangerussArt trj66 Yep, you’re absolutely right – nice of you to try, though!

  • Fraser Petrick

    There’s an early scene in “The Red Violin” where the master craftsman snatches an instrument in the early stages of construction from an apprentice, smashes it, declare it unworthy of his name and reputation –  even for a tone deaf amateur aristocratic musician – and gives the chastised wannabe violin maker the heave-ho. Someone at Ralph Lauren should have done the same before the burl wood watch saw the light of day.
    The wood makes it, well, interesting, but lose the tachymeter, the chronograph crap – who needs them? – lose the shiny screws, make the hands bolder and more “rustic”; give the aforementioned heave-ho to whoever chopped up the hour numbers,…Love the wood, hate the watch.

  • antjay

    DangerussArt trj66  Nice work . I much prefer this to the original .

  • Ahh…you snuck in the polo pony! But I believe Ralph is slowly moving away from being only identified by “Polo” and, as you can see, trying to put everything under the roof of “Ralph Lauren”.

  • Ulysses31

    I liked the non-chrono version of it, but this looks a bit of a mess.

  • mgennone

    Has anyone bought a RR watch?

  • 5803822

    Not only are the screws a blot on the watchscape  but the hands on the sub dials don’t appear to hit the absolute vertical, however it has a nice big date, and  a little less width on the burl would have left room to complete the chopped numbering Overall at least it looks totally different from anything else on the market and with a JC motor it looks to be a quality effort that just deserves  a bit of tweeking – and a sliver shaved  off the price..
    Nice photo by the way and an interesting review – thanks.

  • DangerussArt trj66 Now they can put proper sized hands on it.

  • DG Cayse

    I like it. A tad busy for my liking, maybe the 3 hander would be more to my personal tastes.
    http://www.livefyre.com/profile/4868139/ did a very good job !

    RL is one of the very few “fashion designers” whose work I like and buy.

  • 5803822

    Needs those clever good looking HUBLOT screws

  • bnabod

    nice case I wish the dial wasn’t so cluttered. I could have done without the wood and stick the hour markers where the wood is but then it would have been less elegant but more legible. the other good thing is if you get mugged chances are you will get to keep the watch since unlikely to be recognized as a valuable piece.

  • notech47

    Remove the wood, spread out the dials and make the watch more readable. The screws on the watch face should go as well. Honoring a vehicle where only two or three exist in the world seems to limit the market for the watch. I see why Ralph Lauren came out with the watch, because he owns the car and the car is a masterpiece. Changing the brand name on the watch to the watch manufacturer would improve its chances in the marketplace.

  • I rather this series just had an all-wood dial. Forego the black parts and make the watch look as big as it really is.

  • shinytoys

    Love the wood trim, the entire face made out of wood would be sharp. Otherwise, too cluttered and Ralph’s name kills it for me.

  • CG

    I’d tather drive RL’s Bugatti at Pebble Beach than buy that watch… I get the retro burled walnut look but it’s overdone and done too often.

  • Time2Go And hence the dilemma of luxury goods: This is not a $9k watch/$1k pair of shoes/$10k handbag/$4k suit/$400 set of cufflinks/$900 belt etc etc etc…ad infinitum

  • bichondaddy

    I love the look of burled elm…..but…..I just don’t get it on this watch.   Why not make the whole dial out of it for a really unusual look.  As is…the dial is way too cramped and cluttered looking.  But…I’m sure they’ll be snapped up by young hipsters in the Hamptons…..

  • shinytoys At the risk of being self-serving, there is an alternative which has a wood dial (and costs less too): http://markcarson.com/ID/Ref_10111K.php

  • Time2Go

    Chaz_Hen Time2Go So so true. I guess I should’ve said:  “When compared with the many other not-worth-$9K watches out there, this one seems ESPECIALLY not-worth-$9K”    🙂

  • Time2Go

    MarkCarson shinytoys Thumbs up for Ralph-less koa! Though it has still been Mark’d…     🙂

  • Charlie Croker

    Far too much for a fashion brand itself….why not Raplh Lauren by Jaeger le coultre as in Bentley by Breitlng which would explain the price point at least and really create a marketing niche which could grow…
    Talking of Bentley the burr wood is more like the wood in my Bentley dashboard (walnut in my case) …it could really work as an automotive model  but I also hate the truncated numbers…..
    The solution to the cramped dial is easy…apply the numbers direct on to the wood..lengthen hands to suit….job done…nice watch…RL just don’t associate with high price pieces though….

    He also owns an old jaguar a friend of ours used to race at le Mans too….

  • asoulstein

    Again with this turd of a watch? We’ve beaten this one to death on the ‘Dink. Lifshitz, get out of the watch biz.

  • asoulstein

    Charlie Croker Because JLC wouldn’t put their name on this grotesque abomination of dial/case spacing. Also, Ralph Lauren’s real name is Lifshitz.

  • spiceballs

    I’m with the “no likes” and see this offering as a “working model” in need of significant changes. Movement, case, pushers, crown, date & layout OK, but remainder needs significant reworking.

  • Love the elm wood veneer with its delicate visual texture. I’m quote surprised that such a small piece of wood may have so many interesting burl and knots. Can we now all agree that it has no place on the dial?

  • LuisAmaroLopez

    LIKE…

  • Tommer45

    meh…