Ralph Lauren: Staying the course and broadening the offering

March 2011

From the beginning, Ralph Lauren Watches & Jewelry has had a clear vision about its direction and with this year’s SIHH novelties the brand is demonstrating that it is successfully on track.

Ralph lauren watches are mandated to be classic, traditional, high quality timepieces with an uncompromising attention to detail. A fashion icon, Lauren was determined to make a watch brand of which he could be proud, and Ralph lauren watches are designed to appeal to the sensibilities of America’s most famous arbiter of taste and style.

Brief history
In 2009, Ralph lauren Watches debuted at the SIHH, with its three core collections, the iconic Stirrup, the elegant Slim Classique and the more casual Sporting, using some of the best movements in the entire Richemont Group. Last year, as the brand was entering the Asian market, Ralph lauren Watches deepened its offering with diamond pieces and some smaller versions in each collection.
“When you are a newcomer, you need to build credibility,” explains Guy Châtillon, CEO of Ralph lauren Watch & Jewelry Co. “Our objective is to build a strong foundation with these three collections. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to be working on new products, but for the time being it’s line extensions, not new collections.
We are using the best manufacture movements and prestigious materials. Over time, our coherent and consistent approach will help us build credibility and legitimacy in the industry.”
Ralph lauren watches certainly feature iconic styling with great movements and they are perfectly positioned for the times, with classic, traditional designs and high quality.
This year at the SIHH, Ralph lauren Watches has continued to focus on its three collections, introducing interesting new shapes, materials and designs to broaden its offering, both at the lower and higher ends of the price spectrum.

Ralph Lauren: Staying the course and broadening the offering SPORTING

New for 2011
Ralph lauren has broadened its offerings for 2011, introducing a new square case shape in the Slim Classique line, three new Sporting watches, one inspired by Ralph lauren’s classic car collection, a chronograph reinforcing the brand’s sophisticated sporty style with elegant guilloche craftsmanship on the dial and bezel, and another chronograph in striking black ceramic, and new steel versions of the Stirrup, lowering the entry price to Ralph lauren Watches.
The most intriguing new watch is the Sporting with a wood dial, directly inspired by the interior of Lauren’s model 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe. The dial uses loupe d’orme – or elm burl wood – to echo the Bugatti‘s iconic wooden dashboard and trim detail. The black calf leather strap is meant to be evocative of the black leather seating in this incredible car. This watch is powered by calibre RL98295, a hand wound mechanical movement made by IWC for Ralph lauren (45-hour power reserve).
“We wanted to reinforce the Ralph lauren touch – this is the first watch inspired by his vintage car collection,” Châtillon details. “We used Arabic numerals to match the car’s counters and an elm burl wood dial on the car’s dashboard.”

Ralph Lauren: Staying the course and broadening the offering

The other new Sporting edition is the 45mm chronograph in black ceramic, a first for Ralph lauren Watches. The chronograph’s case and bracelet are ceramic zirconia, a high-tech material used in such demanding and industrial applications as jet engines, and the ceramic features a silky mat finish. The result is a bold watch with black on black styling (except for the white markers and a red chronograph second hand) that is nearly scratchproof and extremely light weight that makes it as comfortable as it is resilient.
The movement is the calibre RL750, made by Jaeger-LeCoultre for Ralph lauren, with a 48 hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. This timepiece is also available in a 39mm version, with the centre chronograph hand in classic white.
“We looked at industries where strength, robustness, attention to detail, quality and longevity were important,” Châtillon says. “We looked at aeronautics, sailing, medical, cars and we discovered ceramic zirconia, used in the aeronautical and medical industries. You can work with a high level of detail and precision with this material. This new Sporting Chronograph is full of ceramic except for the screws and the buckle. It is really a material that has strength, resistance and longevity.”

Ralph Lauren: Staying the course and broadening the offering SPORTING 45MM CHRONOGRAPH

The Slim Classique Square Watch is the first square watch in the Ralph lauren collection. Inspired by the grand era of Art Deco style, the dial mixes Roman and Arabic numerals to great effect. Thin and classic, the Slim Classique Square uses calibre RL430, made by Piaget for Ralph lauren, with a 40-hour power reserve. This watch is available in rose gold or white gold, including a white gold guilloché version that continues Ralph lauren’s devotion to the fine art of guilloché craftsmanship (and featured on the original, round Slim Classique).
“We wanted to introduce a square watch, while keeping the timelessness and the thinness of this collection,” Châtillon recalls. “It had to be in rose or white gold, and we wanted a unisex watch. The resulting watch, the Slim Classique Square, sized at 27.5mm, strengthens what makes Ralph lauren unique – modernity and timelessness. We used a Piaget movement, so the watch would be very thin. “I think the Square is very well balanced, with a unique design in line with the Ralph lauren DNA, while breaking the rules in a good way,” Châtillon continues. “We wanted an eclectic, Art Deco look on the dial and came up with the idea of doing Arabic and Roman numerals.”

Ralph Lauren: Staying the course and broadening the offering SLIM CLASSIQUE SQUARE WATCH

In the Stirrup collection, Ralph lauren introduces a large and medium size in stainless steel, for the first time. To make it easy to see which versions are steel, several design adaptations were made. For example, the steel versions use open minute markers on the dial versus the railroad-track style markers on the gold watches. The steel models are presented on calf leather straps with pin buckles whereas the gold models are on alligator straps with folding clasps.
The large steel model features the automatic, chronograph calibre RL750, made by Jaeger-LeCoultre for Ralph lauren, while the medium steel model is powered by the automatic calibre RL514, made by Piaget for Ralph lauren, with a 40 hour power reserve.

Ralph Lauren: Staying the course and broadening the offering STIRRUP
In addition to the above, Ralph lauren introduced a high jewellery Stirrup, a timepiece that combines jewellery and watches. This watch was introduced when Ralph lauren debuted its new jewellery collection. This version of the Stirrup features 1500 diamonds, in 12 different sizes, for a total of nearly 25 carats.

Staying Ralph lauren
The brand is keen to maintain the unique aesthetic of Ralph lauren while continuing to offer high quality, attention to detail and incredible craftsmanship. “Breaking the rules and introducing new materials helps create a distinct Ralph lauren identity,” Châtillon details. “We wanted to widen the collection, with 50 different models in three collections, for different customers preferences.
“The key words that describe Ralph lauren watches are qualitative, authentic and distinctive,” he continues. “The unique aesthetic of Ralph lauren is present throughout the collection. We have reinforced the style and soul of Ralph lauren with the new watches.”

Source:Europa Star February - March 2011 Magazine Issue