“When I started out as a designer, I dreamed of going to Africa, to safari,” says Ralph Lauren. “Safari is the dream of adventure. It’s about living the life you want and pushing yourself beyond your limitations. It’s the dream of experiencing the wild and seeing the farthest reaches of the world.”
Ralph Lauren’s distinctive vision of safari has long been a theme in his apparel and accessories collections. For his Swiss made timepieces, he beautifully contrasts a utilitarian aesthetic with refined elegance, using complex mechanisms to create a collection both at home on the savanna and in the city.
Like anything built to withstand the rigors of an African adventure, the three Black Safari models are powered by solid mechanical movements and housed in strong stainless steel cases. The dark matte finishes of the cases and clear dial indications, such as practical luminescent hands and the large numerals, are reminiscent of built-to-last safari equipment. The numerals are coated with Super-LumiNova® so that they are visible even after the sun has set.
But even on safari, there is room for a discreet kind of luxury, and the Black Safari Flying Tourbillon is rich in subtle details, most noticeably the flying tourbillion visible through the dial. The “flying” tourbillon is a superior take on this already rare watchmaking feat. The entire escapement appears to float unsuspended as it rotates, offering a clear view into the heart of the movement. Beyond the visual appeal of this complex mechanism, there is a practical reason for the tourbillon: This regulating mechanism helps to counter the effects of gravity on the precision of the movement by maintaining the escapement in perpetual rotation.
Balancing the layout of the matte-black dial are the deeply etched concentric grooves around the 12 o’clock marker. Furthermore, inspired by the sophisticated dashboard of Ralph Lauren’s prized Bugatti, the dial is edged with rich brown elm burl wood, which brings a touch of the outdoors to this mechanically advanced timepiece. The resilient shot-blasted stainless steel case has been chemically treated to increase its rigidity, durability and resistance to temperature changes.
Turn the watch over and the mechanical self-winding Caliber RL167 is visible through the sapphire crystal case back. The movement, made in Switzerland, is finished to the highest standards with vertical Côtes de Genève stripes. The gold-plated micro-rotor allows better visibility of the movement as it is neatly tucked in one corner. A black alligator strap adds the final note of understated luxury to this masculine yet refined timekeeper.
The black stainless steel RL67 Chronometers are enhanced by a distinctive patina, a finish achieved by ‘aging’ the metal. The chronometer is available in 45mm and 39mm; the latter of which is designed to suit a smaller wrist.
The dials are made of azure anthracite and finished with a matte varnish, adding to the utilitarian look, with large, highly visible black luminescent hands pointing to bold sand- colored Arabic numerals that mark the hours. Under the screwed-down case back, which is engraved with the Ralph Lauren logo, is the mechanical self-winding Caliber RL300-1 with a power reserve of 42 hours. The movement is hand-decorated with vertical Côtes de Genève stripes and circular graining known as perlage. The watches are water resistant to 100 meters. Each is certified by the COSC, the independent Swiss testing center that uses rigorous standards to ensure the reliability and precision of watches.
A selection of canvas straps adds the final safari touch to these models. The chronometers are available on five different canvas straps, all lined with leather, including classic olive green, blue, black and faded versions of the last two known as “watered down.” Each of these colors was carefully chosen by Ralph Lauren himself to convey the authentic spirit of safari and the appeal of a well-worn canvas strap.
The matt finishes, understated simplicity and practical details, such as the luminescent hands and robust movements, make these new Ralph Lauren Black Safari watches the ideal timepieces to take along on any adventure.