The biggest news at Ralph Lauren this year was the brand’s first tourbillon – a mere four years after the watch brand was launched. The RL 67 Safari Tourbillon, with a movement made by niche fabricator La Fabrique du Temps, is a great looking watch. The Safari’s trademark aesthetic, a combination of sporty (gun-metal finish and screw-topped bezel) and dressy (Roman numerals, minimalist dial with classic railway track index) is somehow a perfect venue for a tourbillon carriage. It changes the typical aesthetic for a tourbillon, which is either very classic or avant-garde. The movement is a micro-rotor powered self-winding tourbillon with a blackened bridge made exclusively for Ralph Lauren.
Also notable is the RL 67 Automotive Chronograph watch with an elm burl wood inset dial, inspired by the Bugatti, and a dark green resin-coated titanium case. The watch is a chronograph, with a Jaeger-LeCoultre automatic movement.
One of the complaints about Ralph Lauren from the beginning has been its high price, and the brand has answered that criticism this year with a steel watch in its iconic Stirrup collection at an entry price of $2,500 (in quartz). A selection of new, colorful straps and a new chain link bracelet are also new. I predict this to be a big winner for the brand. The stirrup has already become as iconic as the Cartier Tank, which says a lot for a brand that only began in 2008. As brand chairman Callum Barton said at the beginning of the SIHH presentation, “the average age of watch brands at this fair is 98. We are only four years old. We are lucky to have an iconic shape, which lots of brands that have been around 10 years still don’t have.”