A surprising but successful alliance

On March 5, 2007, Ralph Lauren issued the following press communiqué to a surprised number of reporters with watches as their special area of interest:

By Britta Rossander

Ralph Lauren’s safari-inspired watch model has a textile wristband for comfort.

Ralph Lauren’s safari-inspired watch model has a textile wristband for comfort.

“Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, Genève and Polo Ralph Lauren Inc, NY have joined forces to create The Polo Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery Company. The joint venture is a fifty-fifty ownership to design, develop, manufacture and distribute products through Ralph Lauren’s boutiques as well as the finest independent jewelry and wristband retailers in the world. The first products can be expected to hit the market in 2008.”

Johann Rupert, chairman of the board at Richemont, said:

– I have admired Ralph Lauren for a long time. His impeccable taste, style and sense of detail are unique. These factors combined with Richemont’s competence in jewelry and watches will lead to a fascinating business project. It’s an exciting cooperation and I look very much forward to working with Ralph.

The first collections saw the light of day at SIHH, the main watch fair. The models were maybe designed primarily for those who wanted to wear something with the Ralph Lauren logo at any price. In later years, the watches have become a true collection and at WTM we monitor the development closely.

At the last SIHH, Ralph Lauren presented his new watch models, saying their design have been inspired by the harsh beauty of African nature. His obsession with safari experiences can also be detected in their looks.

– When I started working as a designer, my dream was travelling to Africa to experience real safaris. I wanted to see the most exotic places in the world, Lauren says.

The safari theme has been around for some time in the clothes and accessory collections, now it can be seen also in the watch collection of the same name. The movements, made in Switzerland and marked Côtes de Genève, are visible through the sapphire glass of the cases’ backs.

The models are: 

RL67 Safari Chronometer – 39 mm

RL67 Safari Chronometer – 45 mm

The Black Safari Flying Tourbillon

– They are built to withstand the beating of a safari adventure, with a matt lustre on the cases, fluorescent hands and large numbers for index, Lauren says.

Quality, design and presentation make it important to keep an eye on the watches from The Polo Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery Company.