By Maria Doulton
Hunting season is now open, at least for those looking for the new Ralph Lauren watches presented at the SIHH watch salon earlier this year. From June, all four Safari chronometers will be arriving at Ralph Lauren boutiques in London and the rest of the world.
Designers usually excel in one field. The remarkable talent of Ralph Lauren, however, is that he has excelled in just about every field he has pursued, creating a seductive lifestyle built around a laid-back yet glamorous universe.
It's the kind of world where handsome people ride polo ponies or hop into their vintage Bugatti coupés and jet off to Africa on safari without batting an eyelid, always looking fabulous.
Ralph Lauren created his first Safari apparel collection in 1984, a year before the release of the epic romance, Out of Africa, starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. "The romance of safari," confesses the designer, "is a dream that I have returned to many times. It is an adventure, a world of refinement set against a rugged and powerful landscape."
The challenge was to translate the mood of his Safari collection into the diminutive realm of men's watches.
The first Safari models were launched in 2013 and, this year, the luxury watch collection has been expanded with four new RL67 Safari Chronometers featuring khaki or camouflage dials. Hunters of sports watches with Swiss chronometry status and clear references to outdoor life were delighted.
The mottled-green camouflage models were particularly popular, with their 39 and 45mm blackened steel cases and green alligator straps, while the two Safari chronometers with khaki-coloured dials, also presented in 39 and 45mm blackened steel cases but with brown alligator straps, have a fashionably worn look.
The vintage-looking cases of these Safari chronometers was made possible by a technical treatment, giving the blackened steel a lovely worn patina intended to convey the feeling of a utilitarian object made for everyday wear and tear.
The dial of the khaki model is very easy to read, with large numerals, hour and minute hands treated with black Super-LumiNova and a bright orange seconds hand, while the camouflage model lets its time functions stand out with beige Super-LumiNova.
All three new watches have Swiss movements and have received the status of COSC-certified chronometers, vouching for the reliability of the calibre RL300-1. This mechanical automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve is sealed inside a stainless steel screwed-down case, ensuring water-resistance to 100 metres.
The vintage-looking case of the Ralph Lauren RL67 Safari Chronometer was made possible by a technical treatment, giving the blackened steel a lovely worn patina. Pictured here are the Safari chronometers in 45 and 39mm cases with black dials on olive green canvas straps, launched in 2013.
“The romance of safari,” confesses Ralph Lauren, “is a dream that I have returned to many times.”