2014 sees the release of yet another new Sporting collection watch from Ralph Lauren. This time it isn’t a tourbillon or something with a safari-themed dial, but instead something a bit more affordable and mainstream. This is the Sporting Classic Chronometer, and it offers a very elegantly simple version of the Sporting model in a polished steel case.
If you recall, the Sporting Collection was one of the three seminal launch families in the Ralph Lauren brand that also included the Slim Classique and Stirrup. If the Sporting family is fashionable then the Sporting Classic Chronometer Ref. RLR0220706 is the Polo shirt of the collection. It feels timeless and casual, but with a slight high-society feel. If a high-end fashion watch is about cleverly and selectively suggesting an era and values by borrowing bits and pieces of design, then something like the Sporting Classic Chronometer is what you want to get.
The alternative is more traditional watch brand that is about coming up with their own designs. So you either want new and risky, or classic and tested in a watch design. That leads me up to a pretty important conclusion about the fashion industry’s eco-system. There must be originators and then refiners for the system to work. The first group must come up with the themes and designs, while the latter is there to invent the looks and market them.
At 44.8mm wide, the steel case sits prominently on the wrist, and it feels appropriate for the design. It is rare to find sport watches with all polished steel cases. This is one of them and it is a testament to how well it can work. The dial is black with white hour markers and hands. Again, Ralph Lauren has learned the lesson that high contrasting dials are a very good thing. As pretty as it is, the dial does have a flaw. What prevents the Sporting Classic Chronometer from being a real high-end “sport” watch is the lack of luminant on the dial. It may have been wise to make the hands and hour markers lume painted. The case of the watch is however nicely chunky and water resistant to 100 meters.
Again, you see Ralph Lauren work with Breguet-style pomme hands and Roman numeral hour markers. It is a predictably nice result. This one has a subsidiary seconds dial and includes the caliber RL366 sourced automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve. According to the dial, the watch (more specifically the movement) has been COSC Chronometer certified.
What really rounds out the design is the padded black alligator strap that melds perfectly with the dial. A timepiece such as this isn’t targeted toward the watch nerd demographic, but wouldn’t be something to displease any of us either. It is instead trying to be a Cartier or other sub-$10,000 classic-looking luxury watch. Assuming it was competitively priced with an alternative I think it makes for a nicely designed and produced timepiece. Price is $4,100. ralphlaurenwatches.com