Ever since Ralph Lauren Watches debuted the Sporting watch as part of their original collection (a few years ago) I was a fan of the sport watch that seemed to mix classic elegance and sporty looks together so well. Resolute to become more than just another high-end sports watch, Ralph Lauren has pushed the Sporting into some interesting directions over its short lifespan. For 2012 there are three new Sporting models that are simply “cool.”
One of the most interesting and unique new models goes with Ralph Lauren’s recent clothing collections quite well. Fascinated with functional vintage clothing, this new watch with a gunmetal style case and canvas style green strap fits with the look Ralph Lauren has been promoting lately. The watch is called the Ralph Lauren Sporting Chronograph Safari RL67. It is 45mm (actually 44.8mm) wide in a specially brushed and finished steel case that is meant to look like gunmetal (note that a 39mm wide version of the case watch is also apparently available). The effect is very well done, and for urban fighting fashionistas, there is finally a proper timepiece to go with their AK47.
The surface of the steel on the Sporting Safari is said to have been specially heat treated and brushed. In addition to the gunmetal look, it is also apparently harder than standard steel. Attached to the watch is an olive green canvas strap with a leather liner. It has a bit of an aged look without really looking aged.
Ralph Lauren is quietly giving their Sporting Chronograph watches a small mechanical upgrade. I believe the first watch to get it is the Sporting Safari. In each of these watches is a Jaeger-LeCoultre made automatic chronograph movement that RL calls the caliber RL750. However, moving forward they will get the RL751/1. I believe the only difference worth mentioning is a bump in the power reserve to 65 hours (from 48 hours). Like I said, right now the Sporting Safari will get the RL751/1, and I believe the rest of the chronograph models will get it soon.
Other new Sporting pieces include some new versions of the Sporting Chronograph Ceramic. These are hard to not like given their colorful rubber coated center links that come in either red or yellow. Ralph Lauren calls these “racing stripes” which ironically enough are not on their Sporting Automotive watch. Also about 45mm wide these matte black ceramic watches are pretty cool looking with their striped bracelets. It it also a way of RL making the pieces a bit more fun and light-hearted. What do you think about the fact that the bracelet has the dash of color but the dial is monochromatic?
Last there is a new version of the previously named “Sporting Watch With An Elm Burl Wood Dial,” that now comes with a steel metal bracelet. Ralph Lauren renamed this watch to be called just the Sporting Automotive Model. You can click on the previous link for a hands-on article for the original piece. The new version is the existing watch on a bracelet. This watch was actually a bit of an experiment as Ralph Lauren didn’t seem to know how well it would do. It did well enough, and the Automotive with its Bugatti dashboard inspired wood dial continues into 2012 with a model on a steel bracelet. Inside the 44.8mm wide steel watch is a manually wound, IWC made, RL98295 movement.
Still new, the Ralph Lauren Sporting watch doesn’t need a revolutionary change, but does benefit from these additional models. The Chronograph look suits it really well, as does the three hand style on the Automotive. It is true that the watch is getting dressed up like a fashion piece, but don’t forget the name of the brand.