Calling All Rhinestone Cowboys: Ralph Lauren Now Does Western Watches

A hand-engraved belt buckle for your wrist, basically

By Alex Lauer

 
Calling All Rhinestone Cowboys: Ralph Lauren Now Does Western Watches
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11 October 2018

As far as we’re aware, cowboys don’t wear watches. We always figured they're of the ilk that rises and sets and with the sun, a timepiece being nothing but a nuisance asking to get caught on the horse tack.

That is, until Ralph Lauren released his new American Western Collection, a limited-edition line of six hand-engraved wrist and pocket watches meant to evoke “vintage rodeo and concho belts.”

That’s right, hand engraving. These are stop-you-in-your-tracks timepieces, with all the cases made of sterling silver or 18K gold. Unfortunately for the mystique, there’s not an old-world Western artisan from some tumbleweed-strewn ghost town behind the designs, but Lauren nonetheless sought out the best of the best: master freehand engravers in New York City. (There is a glimpse into the process in a promo video, and I’m not crying, you’re crying.)

Ralph Western Watches (4 images)

The six official designs include two 42mm cushion watches (that is, a rounded square watch), two 45mm round watches, a 45mm round skeleton and a hunter-case pocket watch. The latter is the pièce de résistance, limited to 50 pieces and featuring a gold steer on the cover with rubies for eyes.

Ruby-eyed golden steers and flower motifs? OK, so these might have as much authentic cowboy clout as Kid Rock, albeit on the opposite end of the taste spectrum, but the whole collection plays on a mix of high and low.

High-end fashion designer Ralph Lauren meets the American West. Swiss-made movements meet dials that mix (somewhat blasphemously, though not without precedent) Roman and Arabic numerals. Italian leather burnishing meets Texas hand-tooling.

These timepieces are a masterclass in Ralph Lauren theatrics. Which is appropriate, as they’re being produced for the company’s 50th anniversary. And if they’re not to your liking, well, that’s quite alright — they’re clocking in from $24K to $58K.

All images via Ralph Lauren

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