The year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Ralph Lauren brand, which changed the fashion landscape with its polo shirts, preppy ties, and aspirational leisure lifestyle envisioned by their New York-based designer and company founder.
More recently, Lauren’s vision was applied to watches, a subject of his long-term interest. Just over a decade ago, RL partnered with the Richemont Group on a project to make high-end watches in what Lauren, a lifetime collector, deemed “the right way.” He opted not to follow the well-trodden path of licensed products that has been paved by so many other fashion and lifestyle brands.
Today we’re looking at a pocket watch that Ralph Lauren has created to celebrate his company’s golden anniversary. As part of the American Western Watch Collection, a line comprising both wristwatches and a pair of pocket watches, it’s made from sterling silver, with a design that revisits one of Lauren’s favorite themes: the American West. As with previous Ralph Lauren watches, this one comes with a Richemont Group–produced movement, in this case a manually wound IWC caliber called the “Jones caliber” because of its roots in the early days of IWC. Today it’s most often seen in the company’s Portugieser collection, a line that itself started when a pocket watch movement was used to power an oversized wristwatch. In a way, this is a watch that returns its movement to its original form.
The movements powering this and the other watches in the Western Watch Collection are resolutely Swiss, but in a twist for Ralph Lauren, the cases are hand-decorated by skilled engravers in New York. Their relief engraving echoes the handmade vintage belt buckles favored by Lauren. They are distinctly un-Swiss.
The version of the watch that we have here has a 50mm full hunter watch cover engraved with sweeping floral motifs that involves two distinct types of engraving. The gold steer head on the cover is cast from a hand-carved mold and has ruby eyes set into it. There is also an antiqued RL logo on the cover.
This is the most limited watch (just 50 pieces) in the American Western Watch Collection, which includes a non-hunter pocket watch in gold as well as a handful of wristwatches. The constant element that runs through this anniversary range is the hand engraving work, done right in New York, where Ralph Lauren has long been based. Though this watch, and the larger American Western Watch Collection, have both been conceived as 50th anniversary pieces for Ralph Lauren, this year also marks 10 years since Ralph Lauren and Richemont joined forces to start Ralph Lauren Watches and Fine Jewelry. I really like that these watches aren’t just inspired by American culture, but that they also employ a healthy dose of American craftsmanship in their making.
Brand: Ralph Lauren
Model: American Western Watch Collection
Reference Number: RLR0919902
Case Material: Hand-engraved sterling silver
Dial Color: White
Indexes: Mixed Roman and Arabic hour markers
Caliber: Ralph Lauren RL 98295 (IWC 98925 base)
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power Reserve: 46 hours
Frequency: 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph)
Pricing & Availability
Price: Upon request
Availability: Watches are made to order, and can be ordered now.
Limited Edition: 50 pieces