Ralph Lauren watches: inspired by Bugatti

Sophisticated engines and vintage styling drive Ralph Lauren’s Automotive watch collection.

Ralph Lauren's Automotive watches, including a

Ralph Lauren is a master at evoking a universe of understated luxury. Driving to a polo match or heading off for a crisp winter weekend in the country in your vintage Bugatti - everything Ralph Lauren proposes is pulled off in carefree style. In 2009, Ralph Lauren watches manage to capture the timeless appeal of his designs.

As we know, Lauren's passion for cars is epic, and his vintage automobile collection is ranked as one of the greatest in the world. One car in particular has influenced the design spirit of his Automotive watch collection and that is his beloved black Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe, built in 1938 with curves to compete with a Hollywood pin-up.

Ralph Lauren incorporates some of the more salient features of his favorite car into watch designs in the Automotive collection, launched in 2011. The aesthetic influences, like the use of elm burl wood inlay, just like the wood used on the dashboard of his Bugatti, are reinforced by the powerful connection between cars and watches in which precision and high performance are paramount.

Skeletonized watches were everywhere this year at the SIHH watch salon, and the new RL Automotive Skeleton watch lifts the hood for an unobstructed view of its open-worked mechanical engine. Hand-wound caliber RL1967 is the first skeletonized movement for Ralph Lauren watches, and the depth is accentuated with a black finish on the plate and bridges, which provides a nice contrast to the steel and brass elements of the gear train. The bezel has been crafted in amboyna burl, a wood appreciated for its swirling grain patterns and used in the interior of luxury automobiles.

Last year we saw the Automotive Chronograph and, this year, precision enters the game with the new RL Automotive Chronometer model. The engine of this watch, caliber RL300-1, is certified as a COSC-chronometer, and the precision of this timekeeper has been highlighted with an outer seconds track.

Keeping in character with the provenance of this collection, the beige-colored luminescent material adds a nice vintage touch, and the elm burl dial décor reminds us of the wood paneling in the interior of the Bugatti. The six screws on the stainless steel bezel replicate the original screws used on the hub that holds the Bugatti steering wheel to the column. The RL Automotive Chronometer comes in both a 45mm and 39mm diameter.

Another newcomer is the RL Automotive watch equipped with a hand-wound mechanical engine, made especially for Ralph Lauren by IWC. Like his skeletonized brother, the new RL Automotive model features a screwed-down bezel made from rare amboyna burl. The Automotive model is presented in two versions: one with a stainless steel bracelet and case, and the other with a shot-blasted steel case in a black finish and a black leather strap.

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