Ralph Lauren has said on more than one occasion that rather than creating individual products, he creates a lifestyle and an environment for it. Watches and jewellery are an iconic part of the designer's world, and the Automotive Collection has been a distinct staple in his line for over three years. He had never done it before, so this befits his words: “You have to create something from nothing.”

Launched in 2008, Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery is a joint venture between Ralph Lauren and Richemont, two leading companies in the global luxury market. Ralph Lauren wasn't just acting on a whim, trying to ride the trend when the watch and jewellery sector was booming. This is a unique partnership, because the designer has been personally involved in design development since the very first watch; it also enables him to take advantage of the experience, expertise and technical base of Richemont's watch maisons. The Ralph Lauren watch collection features the highest-quality Swiss made manufacture movements. The designer’s own style, hobbies and most iconic inspirations are easy to spot in his various lines, from the Ralph Lauren Stirrup watches to the 888 and 867 timepieces to the Safari and Automotive collections.

Classic cars are inseparable from Ralph Lauren’s world
Classic cars are inseparable from Ralph Lauren’s world
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery

Launched in 2015, the Automotive Collection consists of five watches. Classic car enthusiasts and connoisseurs instantly noted the source of inspiration – Ralph Lauren's own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupé. The flagship of the Automotive Collection was the RL Automotive Skeleton, the brand's first open-worked timepiece.

1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe
A lot of inspiration comes directly from Ralph Lauren’s own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery

"I've always been inspired by automotive design — the materials, the lines, but also the power and functionality. Cars are like art — moving art — an accomplishment in mechanics and precision." — says Ralph Lauren.

As envisioned by Ralph Lauren, the Automotive collection masterfully bridges the automotive and horological worlds and captures his love of fine watchmaking and things made by hand.

Various details that are typical of classic cars are clearly visible in the watch models. In addition, Lauren isn't afraid of using wood for his watch cases, which gives them a lot of character and warmth. The amboyna burl wood bezels, elm burl wood dials and black alligator straps are reminiscent of the rich interiors of R. Lauren’s Bugatti, and the Arabic numerals emulate those found on the car’s iconic gauges. Each piece in the collection is powered by a Swiss mechanical movement, symbolizing the motor itself and offering precision and superior function.

1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe
Ralph Lauren's own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe is one of the most legendary automobiles of all time
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery

Crafted in black gunmetal steel, the RL Automotive Skeleton’s shot-blasted case had a satiny matte finish. The bezel of the watch is crafted out of amboyna burl, a noble hardwood that must be hand-cut and finished by an expert craftsman to reveal the intricate patterns and depth of color in its rich, twisted grain. Finally, the “bombé”-shaped bezel is hand-set with six functioning screws.

The 45mm RL Automotive timepiece shared a similar design philosophy, featuring an amboyna burl wood bezel and black gunmetal steel case. The caliber RL98295, a hand-wound mechanical movement made for Ralph Lauren by IWC, is visible through a smoky sapphire crystal caseback.

Both car and watch enthusiasts are concerned not only with design but also with what's inside – the engine. Richemont's maisons provide RL watches with Swiss made manufacture movements from the likes of IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre.

 Atlantic Coupe
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery

This year, the Automotive Collection got two new models: the RL Automotive Tourbillon and Double Tourbillon timepieces, inspired by Ralph Lauren's own 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupé. In these new timepieces, one of the most legendary automobiles of all time meets one of horology’s rarest, Swiss-made movements, demonstrating the powerful connection between two worlds of precision, high-performance, and style.

The signature of the Ralph Lauren RL Automotive Tourbillon timepiece in a 45mm case size is its very technical complication, where the escapement is housed in a rotating cage to counteract the effect of gravity for more precise timekeeping. Extremely complex to manufacture, the movement is also decorated with vertical Côtes de Genève stripes and circular graining, known as perlage. The timepiece features a shot-blasted case crafted in stainless steel with a black finish, as well as a smoky sapphire crystal caseback. The galvanic, matte black dial is detailed with beige Super-LumiNova® hour and minute hands, Arabic numerals, and an interlocking “RL” logo. The composition is showcased on a black alligator strap.

Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery
What makes these watches extraordinary is that many things are made by hand
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery

Amboyna burl - hardwood used in luxury automotive interiors - frames the composition with a lustrous bezel, which must be carefully cut and finished by hand to expose its rich, swirling grain patterns. The “bombé”-shaped bezel secured by handset screws, and the gracefully tapered lugs of the case, reinforce Ralph Lauren’s vision of a timepiece expressing the power and elegance of automotive design.

The RL Automotive Double Tourbillon timepiece, also in a 45mm size and featuring an even more complex binary tourbillon, is another striking edition of the Automotive collection - symbol of superior function and Ralph Lauren’s love of fine watchmaking.

RL Automotive Tourbillon
RL Automotive Tourbillon
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery
RL Automotive Tourbillon
RL Automotive Tourbillon
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery

RL Automotive Tourbillon - 45mm

Movement
Mechanical self-winding with a rhodium-plated micro-rotor Swiss movement. Caliber: RL267, 13 1/3 ’’’ (30mm), 29 jewels Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour (3 Hz) Power reserve: ~72 hours Decor: Vertical Côtes de Genève.
Functions
Hours, minutes, tourbillon.
Case
Black shot-blasted stainless steel with amboyna burl wood bezel. Diameter: 44.80 mm; Thickness: 12.40 mm. Convex sapphire crystal, internal colorless anti-reflective treatment. Back secured with 6 screws. Inter-lug width: 23.00 mm. Water resistance: 5 bar (~50 m). Crown: Black shot-blasted stainless steel, black finishing
Dial
Black matte galvanic. Beige Super-LumiNova® Arabic numbers and RL logo, printed.
Hands
Hour, minute - sword-shaped hands; Shiny black oxidized with beige. Super-Luminova®
Strap
Black alligator, black Alsavel® lining. Width at the fold-over clasp: 20.00 mm.
Bucle
Stainless steel shot-blasted pin buckle, black finishing.
RL Automotive Double Tourbillon
RL Automotive Double Tourbillon
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery
RL Automotive Double Tourbillon
RL Automotive Double Tourbillon
© Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery

RL Automotive Double Tourbillon - 45mm

Movement
Mechanical manual-winding Swiss movement. Caliber: RL367, 14 1/4 ’’’, 45 jewels. Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour (3 Hz). Power reserve: ~72 hours. Decor: Vertical Côtes de Genève.
Functions
Hours, minutes, double tourbillon.
Case
Black shot-blasted stainless steel with amboyna burl wood bezel. Diameter: 44.80 mm; Thickness: 14.90 mm Convex sapphire crystal, internal colorless anti-reflective treatment Back secured with 6 screws Inter-lug width: 23.00 mm Water resistance: 5 bar (~50 m) Crown: Black shot-blasted stainless steel, black finishing.
Dial
Black matte galvanic. Beige Super-LumiNova®. Arabic numbers and RL logo, printed.
Hands
Sword-shaped hands; Shiny black oxidized with beige, Super-Luminova®.
Strap
Black alligator, black Alsavel® lining. Width at the fold-over clasp: 20.00 mm.
Bucle
Stainless steel shot-blasted pin buckle, black finishing.