Ralph Lauren has made a name for himself selling fashion goods such as apparel, accessories and watches, but he is also a passionate vintage car collector who makes regular appearances at prestigious events such as Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
His automobile collection boasts more than 70 rare automobiles, and one of those is his award-winning 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe — only four of which are known to exist in the world.
Lauren has said that the design of this car has influenced his fashion line on many instances and, in 2011, he decided to create a new line of watches he coined the Automotive Collection. This year he’ll be adding five new timepieces to the collection.
The first is called the Automotive Skeleton, the brand’s first open-worked timepiece. Made from shot-blasted black stainless steel, brass elements and amboyna burl wood — the same material used on the instrument panel of the Type 57SC Atlantic — the watch’s mechanicals are made by Swiss firm IWC.
The visual depth of the timepiece is accentuated by the use of contrasting materials and colors, such as the black finish on the plate and bridges, the steel and brass elements of the gear train and the large, sword-shaped black hands coated with beige Super-LumiNova. The watch’s face also features Arabic numerals that are reminiscent of the typeface found on the Bugatti’s gauges.
“I’ve always been inspired by automotive design — the materials, the lines, but also the power and functionality,” says Lauren. “Cars are like art — moving art — an accomplishment in mechanics and precision.”