Like almost all their recent models belonging to the Sporting collection, the Ralph Lauren Sporting Classic Chronometer features all the familiar design elements that some people would call “easily recognizable”, while other would probably refer to as “tiresome”. Well, at least the American fashion house has found a design language of its own and is ready to stick to it at all costs.
As you can see on the photos, the watch comes in the same oversized stainless steel body as their previous models.
Like many fashion accessories, the watch is almost too large for a normal person, but even in this case form (or rather the size) follows the function of drawing public attention to the timekeeper’s proud owner.
Still, for a timepiece that is powered by a self-winding mechanism, it is also slim, which makes it more comfortable to wear on a daily basis.
From where I stand, the gadget is a bit too sporty for a vintage-styled dress watch, but that’s not a problem for a man who is in good physical shape.
Using the same styling cues as their earlier Sporting Chronograph Ceramic model, the watch comes in a similarly designed case. Now crafted from far less expensive stainless steel, the case measures 45 millimeters in diameter and is less than 12 millimeters thick.
Forty-five millimeters is nothing to sneeze at per se, and the two pairs of well-polished lugs make the total length of the watch over 52 millimeters: if you are not one of those guys starring in The Expendables (and I don’t mean Jet Li), it may be a bit too big for you covering all width of your wrist and then some.
The thing that gets your attention immediately is, probably, the thick bezel, which is “riveted” to the case with six polished screws. The bold Roman numerals, as well as the Breguet-type hour and minute hands, are, too, familiar to anyone who pays even the slightest attention to the brand.
The nut-shaped setting crown not only makes the technocratic statement of the watch even stronger but is also ergonomic, too: it is as easy to operate as it is safe for the back of your palm.
According to the brand’s press release, the watch is powered by a Ralph Lauren caliber RL366, which is officially certified as a chronometer by the Swiss COSC certification authority.
Of course, being a fashion brand, the American company doesn’t actually make its own mechanisms: it prefers to buy movements from professionals. And, commanding as high premium as it is, RL can easily afford to get the best thing in the business.
Although they prefer not to tell the real name of the caliber, I can still make an assumption that, being built on 31 jewels, featuring a small seconds indicator and beating at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, this is a redecorated and renamed Zenith 689 self-winding caliber that powered the beautiful 2009 Zenith Vintage 55 limited edition.
If this is indeed the case, then the Ralph Lauren Sporting Classic Chronometer is powered by one of the most beautiful mechanisms currently available on the market.
To a bit of regret, I can’t compare the two mechanisms visually because the watch comes with a solid case back cover. The latter, by the way, doesn’t have any sort of decor on it: there is only the “RALPH LAUREN” inscription and the usual markings like serial number and this sort of stuff.
In this regard, I was disappointed.
Inspired by dashboards of vintage sports cars (I have heard that the owner of the brand is an avid collector, but don’t quote me on that), the timekeeper’s dial is as archaic as it is easy to read.
The black and white color scheme gives you all the contrast you could as for, although that could probably be enhanced even more if the brand’s designer opted in for some nice sunburst decor.
The usual Breguet hands are nicely proportioned to the Roman numerals, although I am not sure whether the baton-shaped seconds-hand on the small sub-dial at 6 o’clock matches the larger hands that well in terms of styling.
The timekeeper was presented last January during the SIHH 2014 show.
Photos: Ralph Lauren
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 3.5/5
Ralph Lauren Sporting Classic Chronometer specification
Movement: Automatic, Ralph Lauren caliber RL366, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 46 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 45.00 mm
Hour markers: White
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather strap