Thursday, January 31, 2013

SIHH 2013 - Ralph Lauren's Portentous Tourbillon

This is a bit of a surprise. No, not that Ralph Lauren has released a tourbillon. No. Anyone who's everyone are releasing tourbillon watches. This once-coveted high-end watchmaking is now being produced a dime a dozen.

Yes you read right.

What's the easiest way for a new brand to 'cement' themselves on the high watchmaking scene (and thus setting a higher price point)? Do a tourbillon.

No. The surprise is that no Richemont brands were involved in the making of this tourbillon. (Previous releases all state with crystal clear transparency whose movements were used, be it IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre or Piaget) No. It is supplied by La Fabrique du Temps, a company that specialises in high complications. IE, high comp for hire, if you will. Well, in this case, for sale. I'm surprised given the close relationship and shareholding of Richemont and Ralph Lauren's watch and jewellery department, that no one was appointed to supply the movement. Hmmm... portentous twist, perhaps? Or am I reading too much into the use of Sellita movements for their entry level Sporting watch?

Do you want to know what else made me read just a little too much into this info? Assuming that my sources are correct, (in terms of La Fabrique du Temps supplied the tourbillon movement, cuz it certain don't look like ANY of the Richemont brands')  La Fabrique du Temps was acquired by Louis Vuitton in July 2011. Why buy movements from your direct competitor (LVMH) when you have plenty of capabilities within the group?

Other than that, am I the only one who thinks that the watch seems a bit too... rough around the edges? The movement looks unfinished. The dial looks like it was "cut" in "haste" to show off the tourbillon. The micro-rotor is a nice touch though. Let's hope that it's due to bad photography of a badly made prototype and when the real deal is realised it'll look a lot more finished. But then again for a paltry $55k (taking the brand image into consideration) suppose one cannot ask for too much?

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