Ralph Lauren celebrates the Year of the Woman with the launch of delicate new Stirrup Petite Link watches

With the shift to smaller watches for women in the world of feminine horology, Ralph Lauren is galloping ahead with the elegant Stirrup Petite-Link.

The new Ralph Lauren Stirrup Petite-Link watches marry the design flair of this famous American fashion house with state-of-the-art Swiss technology

Ladies the world over, rejoice: Ralph Lauren has declared 2014 the Year of the Woman.

The iconic American lifestyle brand is dedicating 70% of its new launches over the coming 12 months to women, from apparel to watches. So what better time to introduce two unashamedly feminine styles to the current line-up of Stirrup Petite-Link timepieces?

Drawing on Ralph Lauren's equestrian heritage, the Stirrup collection has been at the heart of the brand since its launch in 2009. With details referencing saddlery and stirrups, it celebrates the designer's long-standing love for horses and riding. Says Ralph Lauren of his design: "I love horses and I love riding, and I always felt that was an inspiration for me. So saddlery and stirrups…The Stirrup watch felt like a natural…the whole equestrian world. It's an important message."

While the larger watches have been very popular over the past five years, we are seeing a shift to smaller watches for women. And with impeccable timing, at the end of last year, Ralph Lauren announced that it was shrinking the Stirrup to fit a more delicate wrist.

The reception to the smaller, daintier Stirrup Petite-Link watches - measuring just 23.3mm - has been so overwhelming that the brand decided to launch two new versions in time for Valentine's Day, which join the new Stirrup Petite-Link in steel.

The first model incorporates mother of pearl for the first time in the brand's history. In this new version, the lustrous white dial is offset by dark grey Roman numerals and hands. The second version is unabashedly glamorous, with an off-white dial illuminated by a snowfall-setting of 136 diamonds on the bezel and a further 12 on the dial itself.

Both watches come with stainless steel stirrup-shaped cases and bracelets made up of intertwining links that mould to the contour of the wearer's wrist for maximum comfort.

As much an elegant bracelet as a watch, the Stirrup Petite-Link is a truly versatile piece, which looks as sharp for everyday, worn with a crisp white shirt and blazer, as it does teamed with an evening gown.

Marrying Ralph Lauren's design flair with state-of-the-art Swiss technology, the Stirrup watches are not just winners in the style stakes. They are also fitted with movements manufactured by the esteemed Richemont Group.

Ralph Lauren's watches have become such an integral part of the brand's DNA that it is hard to believe it is only six years since he launched his debut watch collection. It is testament to the designer's skill and creative vision that the Stirrup watch has already become an instantly recognisable, modern-day icon.

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