Perhaps one of the most ambitious joint watch ventures in recent memory, Ralph Lauren‘s tie-up with Swiss watch conglomerate Richemont aimed to sell high-end timepieces under the same label better known for polo t-shirts. It has had a hard time finding its footing, but not for the lack of trying. The watches themselves are well designed – Mr Lauren obviously knows his watches – and generally extremely high quality.
The Ralph Lauren Minute Repeater takes that idea to the extreme. Modelled on Ralph Lauren’s Slim Classique wristwatches, the Minute Repeater is shares the same thin case characterised by a wide bezel decorated with guilloche – done the traditional way on a rose engine, by hand. The dial is similarly decorated, giving it a look that’s a mix of Breguet and early Cartier.
White gold and 42.5mm in diameter, the case is just 10.1mm high. Inside is the RL 888, which is actually a calibre developed by Geneva-based La Fabrique du Temps, the same team responsible for the gorgeously constructed movements of Laurent Ferrier. The complications specialist is now owned by Louis Vuitton, but still supplies movements to a handful of external brands, including Ralph Lauren.
The RL 888 is hand-wound with a 100-hour power reserve, with the bridges reshaped to resemble traditional minute repeater calibres found in pocket watches and vintage wristwatches. Variants of this calibre have also been used in watches by Louis Vuitton, Girard-Perregaux and Speake-Marin.
Price and availability
The Ralph Lauren Minute Repeater (ref. RLR0112704) carries a price tag of US$206,000. It’s available from Ralph Lauren boutiques and retailers.
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