Although the next edition of the SIHH show is still months away, there are already news about the new releases that will be displayed in Geneva at the start of the next year. Among them there is a new chronograph which is a member of the Automotive lineage of Ralph Lauren watches which are inspired by the looks of Bugati 57SC Atlantic Coupe, universally acclaimed as one of the most beautiful vehicles ever. The appearance of the novel timekeeper incorporates several motifs of the car, including a dash-board looking dial with a ring made of elm burl. Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph is powered by a self-winding caliber RL751A/1 with 65 hours of power storage which was made exclusively for the brand by Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Ralph Lauren is definitely one of the best known and most successful fashion designers. Over the years, the brand led by Bronx-born designer expanded its business into several different fields, including the production of high-end timekeepers. Even though its watches are becoming more and more respectable, they are, just like the new model, equipped with calibers that came out of JLC’s workshops. This guarantees high-end quality of its calibers, but at the same time it means that these watches are not proprietary.
The financial success of his brand enabled Ralph Lauren to commit to one of his passions – car collecting. The designer is known for his lavish collection which among other prized models includes Bugatti 57SC Atlantic Coupe. The model from 1938 in his possession is the only one in the private ownership. Other existing models are all exhibited in museums. The attractive looks of the vintage Bugatti with its distinct curves served as the inspiration for creation of the entire Automotive sub-collection from which the new chronograph originates. Apart from the novel timepiece, it also includes models such as the one with small seconds, or the tourbillion watch that the brand presented at the last edition of the SIHH show. The Automotive lineage is a part of the larger Sporting Collection and it features models with instrument-looking dials which incorporate several motifs that are borrowed from its four-wheel inspiration.
One of these nods to the Bugatti’s iconic vehicle is a ring made of elm burl wood which is placed on the perimeter of the dial and surrounded with a tachymetric scale. The lovely colored and textured wood ring makes each of the copies of the watch unique, due to the uniqueness of the individual pattern. Inside the wood ring there is a recessed black galvanized section of the dial which includes beige Arabic numerals and sword-shaped hands treated with luminous material in the same shade. There are also three chrono counters with white numerals and pointers which are based on the styling of the car’s cockpit. Inside the bottom sub-dial which is used for small seconds there is a date display.
Other automotive-inspired details are visible in the construction of the watch’s stainless steel housing. Its bezel is fixed with six polished screws, just like it is the case with the steering wheel of Bugatti 57SC. Moreover, there are also scalloped lugs that keep the black alligator leather strap attached, as well as curved chrono pushers. As it is customary for the models from the Automotive lineage, the diameter of the case is 44.8 mm, while its thickness in this instance measures to 12.2 mm. The case-back of the watch includes a transparent section that exposes its JLC-produced automatic chronograph movement. Caliber RL751A/1 operates at the frequency of 28,800 vph and has an extended power reserve that lasts for 65 hours. The movement is embellished with the Geneva striping and perlage motifs. It is still unknown what the price of the watch will be, though the first estimates state that it will be somewhere between $7,000 and $8,000.