September 1, 2017
by Ariel Adams
It has been quite some time since Ralph Lauren Watches offered any updates to what is likely my favorite of their timepieces – the Slim Classique collection. For 2017, Ralph Lauren quietly debuts the “Ralph Lauren Minute Repeater” which is an even more high-end version of the classy-looking men’s dress watch. Oddly, “Slim Classique” is missing from the name which leaves it sounding a bit too generic at just “Minute Repeater.” One guess as to why is that with the minute repeater movement the watch simply isn’t as “slim” anymore.
Minute repeater complications are perpetually in fashion not for their utility, but for the emotional satisfaction of using them, listening to them, and watching the movement’s parts dance through the activation. As you know, minute repeater watches have a function which when activated by the user (usually using a sliding lever on the side of the case) causes the watch to chime out the time. This is normally done with one set of chimes for the hour, another for the quarter-hour (15-minute increments), and then for any remaining minutes. It is helpful to be reminded of this fact with the label on the dial, but my gut instinct tells me that most collectors will prefer the dial without the “Minute Repeater” text as it doesn’t add anything artistically or functionally.
What I’ve always liked the most about the Ralph Lauren Slim Classique collection is the shape of the case including the attractive guilloche engraving on the bezel. I also really love the clean, elegant dial with just two hands. The dial is extremely legible and also decorative – a difficult mixture to get right. Here we see additional guilloche machine engraving on the face – which helps the watch feel exclusive and luxurious. The Minute Repeater isn’t quite as elegant as the two-hand model, but it is still a very nice execution. Added is a subsidiary second dial, in addition to the minute repeater complication.
For now, the 42.5mm wide case will come in 18k white gold – with other gold colors likely following later. Inside the watch is a movement Ralph Lauren calls the caliber RL888. Manually wound with 100 hours of power reserve, the movement operates at 3Hz (21,600bph) and is comprised of 300 parts. The watch case is water resistant to 30m (notable for a minute repeater), and the minute repeater complication also has a slider protection mechanism so that if it is not correctly activated the movement will not get damaged.
You can see the movement through the display caseback. It isn’t made by Ralph Lauren, but rather by partners within the Richemont Group. It’s a good choice for the watch, even if the entire composition of the timepiece makes for an expensive product. Attached to the case is a black alligator strap.
If you don’t want a Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, or similar prestige brand making your minute repeater watch – but want a similarly refined wearing experience, then the Ralph Lauren Minute Repeater could be a good option. It is handsome enough, doesn’t visually look like most of the competition, and is based on what I think is Ralph Lauren’s star timepiece. Price for the Ralph Lauren Minute Repeater in 18k white gold reference RLR0112704 is $206,000 USD. ralphlauren.com