At SIHH 2015 Ralph Lauren focused on the launch of some automotive inspired watches featuring the use of wood on dials and bezels, inspired by the dashboard of the 1938 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic Coupe owned by Lauren.
The entry model is the Automotive Chronometer, available in 39mm or 45mm, but we are focusing on the Automotive and Automotive Chronograph.
In a 45mm case, the Chronograph model contains the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 751 chronograph movement with a 65-hour power reserve. The circle of wood on the dial is elm burl wood. Only veneers with a specific concentration of knots and grains were chosen for the wood used in this model.
Ralph Lauren aren’t strangers to using movements from other brands, and the new Automotive, also 45mm, contains the manual-wind IWC F.A. Jones Calibre, visible through the caseback. I has a narrow polished Amboyna burl bezel with a large ‘RL’ logo at 12 o’clock. Named after the island from which it originally came, Amboya can also be found in parts of Borneo and South East Asia. It has become scarce and the wood is dense to work with.
Of these two pieces the Automotive Chronograph is probably the more attractive one ‘in the metal’, as the narrowness of the wooden bezel on the other model is too much so, and the oversized ‘RL’ seems unnecessary in light of the further branding beneath it, as well as being a bit to big in proportion to the rest of the design.
For those who like buying the Ralph Lauren lifestyle at a price less than the reputed forty million dollar value of Ralph Lauren’s Bugatti these two new pieces will no doubt prove attractive propositions.