High fashion and premium watches are both areas reserved and roped off only for the moneyed and the elite. Consequently, it’s no wonder that the two industries would merge every now and then, resulting in the creation of something truly special. That was the case when American designer brand Ralph Lauren unveiled not one but three collections of designer watches at the 2009 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in January.
Now, followers of the fashion scene would know that Ralph Lauren – both the brand and the designer himself – is no stranger to premium items. But the watch market is full of entrepreneurs and people very particular about technical details. That’s probably why the clothing brand teamed up with Richemont, the group of companies that includes some of the watch industry’s most prestigious names like Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre to help with the horology side of the business.
The new partnership resulted in the Polo Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery Company (SARL), under which the new collections of Ralph Lauren-branded watches were released. With a combination like that, it’s no wonder that the new timepieces turned out the way they did. A total of three collections were released at the 2009 SIHH: the Stirrup, the Slim Classique and the Sporting lines.
So named for its equestrian equipment shape, the Stirrup line captures a true feel of Ralph Lauren, its American heritage and its close ties with the equestrian image. Luxury is obviously one of the main goals of this collection as it’s available either in 18-karat gold or platinum. Three sizes are available in this collection, and each size has its movements made by a different Manufacture. Small Stirrup watches, for example, use Piaget movements while larger units have Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Exclusivity is the key concept behind the Slim Classique collection, and it’s not just because the extremely thin movements housed in gold or platinum come from Piaget. Both dials are guilloched on a special machine that can only churn out two such dials everyday, and even the face has to go through the same process. With price tags ranging from $16,000 to $36,000, don’t expect too many other people to start wearing this on the street.
Cheapest among the three is the Sporting collection with prices ranging from just $9,000 to just over $11,000. Featuring a sub-timer, world clock or chronograph, the Sporting collection is a good mix of design, engineering and functionality. And with movements from IWC Jones, the performance you get will surely be worth the money.