Designers can be inspired by all kinds of things but automobiles seem to be one of the most popular, especially those ultra-cool vintage cars. The latest example of the car-to-watch synergy is the new Sporting Automotive Chronograph from Ralph Lauren, a timepiece that owes its style to the classic 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe.
Ralph Lauren has been a world-famous designer for decades but was a latecomer to the watch market, finally taking the plunge in 2008. Since then, he’s brought his taste for classic simplicity to his Sporting Collection of fine watches and the latest edition is no exception. Like the Ralph Lauren Ceramic Automotive watch from the aforementioned collection, the brand new Automotive Chronograph was inspired by the instrument panel of the designer’s own vintage 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe. Hey, if you’re going to get your ideas from your car’s dashboard, the ultra-rare Bugatti sounds like a great choice.
Back when this car was made, it was common for top watch brands to craft the clocks and dash gauges for the makers of luxury automobiles so this is a natural connection. The new watch sports style points that are definitely owed to the iconic auto including the faded Superluminova markers, matte black details and wooden dial ring.
Other specs for the Sporting Automotive Chronograph include a 44.80mm steel case with fixed steel bezel and six screws. The dial bears a strong resemblance to that of the Ralph Lauren Ceramic Automotive model with black matte galvanic center dial surrounded by outer décor of brown elm burl wood and Arabic numeral hour markers printed with a beige luminescent coating. The watchcase is 12.2mm thick and holds an RL751A/1 movement made for Ralph Lauren by Jaeger-LeCoultre. The timepiece has automatic winding and a power reserve of 65 hours. Carrying out the sporty theme is the shiny black alligator strap lined with black Alsavel and bearing a brushed and polished finish stainless steel pin buckle.
All Ralph Lauren watches are created in partnership with manufacturers owned by the Richemont brand including IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Piaget, so these are genuine luxury Swiss timepieces rather than just stylish accessories. When Lauren decided to get into the watch business, he was determined to do it right and the Sporting Automotive Chronograph is an example of the designer’s devotion to quality.
Don’t put this one on your holiday wish list since it will not be arriving at retailers until spring or summer of 2015. No price has been announced but similar watches in the Ralph Lauren Sporting Collection run in the $13,000 to $14,500 range. Yes, you could buy a car for that but it wouldn’t be a 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe.