While much of Ralph Lauren’s recent watch news has had an undeniable ursine tone, those looking for something a bit more traditional need not bear it any longer. Announced today as an expansion of its automotive collection, this is the new Ralph Lauren Automotive Chronograph. Available in either bare stainless steel or with a black finish, this 42mm chronograph is powered by an automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre movement and continues the line’s formation around the spirit and aesthetic of many of the designer’s favorite cars.
I’m something of an automotive enthusiast myself (although in no way comparable to Ralph), and while the job of designing an automotive-themed watch has always seemed like a grizzly task to me, I have always rather liked the look of the Ralph Lauren Automotive Collection. Yes, they are expensive, and I’ve only ever seen one in the wild (at The Quail, naturally), but the design team deserves credit for making something that (1) doesn’t look like everyone else’s automotive-themed watches and (2) doesn’t look like a Rolex Daytona.
RL has trimmed the fat without sacrificing function. The new chronographs split the difference between the two existing sizes (45 and 39mm) while also offering a no-date chronograph with a twin-register layout, no running seconds, and a max 12-hour measure.
That functional layout is supported by an exclusive automatic chronograph movement supplied by Jaeger-LeCoultre. Dubbed the RL751A/1, it’s a 4 Hz movement with a 65-hour power reserve. Based on JLC’s caliber 751, this movement is commonly seen with a date and running seconds, neither of which would have added to this automotive-inspired design.
Available in steel or with a black-tone finish, both versions of the Automotive Chronograph come with a quick-change-capable solid steel bracelet and a black leather strap. To my eyes, the high-contrast steel version with the lighter tone wood bezel is easily the more attractive of the two; it’s interesting to see RL continue to use wood for the bezel design after several past models deployed wood on the dial. For those wondering, it’s Amboyna burl, which is meant to invoke the look of a classic wood-rimmed steering wheel.
Brand: Ralph Lauren
Model: RL Automotive Chronograph 42mm
Reference Number: 468836813001 and 468836812001
Lug width: 20mm
Case Material: Steel
Dial Color: Black
Indexes: Arabic, painted
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Includes steel bracelet and a black leather strap
Functions: Hours, minutes, 12-hour chronograph
Power Reserve: 65 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vph
Additional Details: Manufactured by JLC exclusively for Ralph Lauren
Pricing & Availability
Price: $ 9,900
Availability: Via global Ralph Lauren retail locations
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