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Watch of the Day

Ralph Lauren’s Minute Repeater and New Women’s Watches

Ralph Lauren’s hand-cut guilloche dials are a wonder to behold. Earlier this year Ralph Lauren previewed a watch constructed not only with this guilloche dial (and bezel), but also offered its sonic equivalent: a minute repeater.

That watch was the Ralph Lauren Minute Repeater. Now available by special order at Ralph Lauren boutiques, the new model visually and aurally makes a very strong statement about the brand’s dedication to Art Deco-tinged elegance and sophistication.

Though not known for watches with complicated functions, Ralph Lauren has nonetheless offered tourbillon models in the past within its Automotive collection, and just this year added a double tourbillon watch to that lineup. This new watch is the brand’s first repeater.

Ralph Lauren kept it quite traditional, opting to house the repeater within the firm’s thin, round-cased Classique case design. By sliding the pusher on the left side of the watch’s 42mm white gold case, the wearer (and a few close friends) will hear, on demand, three distinct chimes for the hours, quarter-hours, and minutes.

The repeater’s beautifully decorated, hand-wound RL888 movement is made for Ralph Lauren by the Geneva-based La Fabrique du Temps, the high-end watchmaking company owned by Louis Vuitton that also makes movements for Laurent Ferrier and others. The maker endowed the caliber with a healthy 100-hours of power reserve while also equipping the movement with 30 meters of water resistance, a fairly rare feature among minute repeaters.

This is a stylish, thin watch (measuring 10mm front to back) with a set of handcrafted features found on very few timepieces. Ralph Lauren’s fans, most probably those who buy his higher-end Purple Label, will undoubtedly appreciate the attention to materials, technical detail and the brand’s style. Watch collectors still skeptical of the brand’s fit within haute horology need only place this piece on the wrist to feel and hear a genuine example of high-end classical watchmaking that retains its designer’s Deco-infused style. Price: $206,000.

New for Women

First introduced in 2016 in honor of the Ralph Lauren women’s flagship store in Manhattan, the Ralph Lauren RL888 ladies timepiece collection combines elegant Swiss-made style and a wide range of interchangeable straps in alligator, calf and patent leathers, satin or grosgrain. Other watches in the collection offer three-link bracelets in 18-karat rose gold or steel to match the gold or steel case, which is always round, sometimes diamond studded, and never unnoticed.

Ralph Lauren has just added three new pieces to the all-quartz collection, each with the signature features of the RL888, including decorated movements and a minimalist dial that combines both Arabic and Roman numerals in what I think is a truly splendid configuration.

The first new timepiece is a haute joaillerie watch embellished with gems in a pattern designed to evoke falling snow, according to the brand. Varying sizes of diamonds decorate the bezel of the 38mm or 32mm steel case: 153 diamonds on the former and 99 on the latter smaller size. Both watches feature a white polished lacquer dial and come on a black alligator leather strap with a black Alsavel lining for added comfort.

The second introduction is a 38mm rose gold timepiece. Sixty-one diamonds decorate the bezel and a cut diamond sits atop the crown. This watch, too, has a white polished lacquer dial, and it comes on a signature interchangeable black alligator leather strap with a rose gold pin buckle.

The final piece is in polished stainless steel, 32mm or 38mm, this time with a black dial and contrasting white numerals and details. Also on a black alligator leather strap, this watch is the first within the collection to offer a dial other than white—and I like it.

Prices: From $1,990 (RL888 32mm steel with black dial ) to $16,600 (RL888 38mm rose gold with diamonds).

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