Founded in 1967, Ralph Lauren is one of the greatest brands in the fashion world, although it didn’t start producing watches until 2009. In that year, it launched a collection of timepieces as a joint venture with the Richemont Group. While some of the brand’s previous offerings were premium models priced firmly in five-figure territory, Ralph Lauren has released several affordable timepieces over the years, including the Polo watch collection that debuted in 2020. Iconic branding that defined style for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, the Ralph Lauren Polo watch is essentially a timepiece equivalent to the shirts the brand produced during that period, featuring enormous logos on the chest and sold. Wide range of different colors. Earlier this year in 2022, Ralph Lauren expanded its Polo watch collection with additional colors and new interchangeable strap options to further expand the rich ecosystem of its most accessible model.
Crafted from stainless steel, the Ralph Lauren Polo watch’s case is 42mm in diameter by 12.35mm-thick, with a standard lug width of 20mm and an overall lug-to-lug distance of approximately 52.5mm. While most models in the collection have polished steel cases (a pair of bronze versions are also available), the sample I was sent for review was the version with a flat black PVD finish. Handled by a push-pull style winding crown signed with Ralph Lauren’s famous polo player logo, the watch’s case feels very solid and solid, despite its overtly rugged and purpose-built design. A gently domed sapphire crystal protects the dial side of the watch, while a screw-down display caseback is fitted to the reverse side to help provide 100 meters of water resistance.
Surrounding the crystal is a bezel that features a matte black anodized (anodized) aluminum insert with a 60-minute scale bearing the word “POLO” at the 12 o’clock position. The bezel has a grooved edge for added grip, and although it has luminous markings, the bezel itself doesn’t turn. In my opinion, this may be one of the watch’s biggest technical flaws, as everything about it suggests it should be a rotating elapsed time dial – why should there be grooves on the rim to provide grip? Since the sample I was sent for review came with a few small marks and scratches on the bezel, I double-checked the specs to verify that the bezel wasn’t somehow stuck or damaged. There is no mention of a rotating bezel on the Ralph Lauren Polo watch, so while it appears to promise additional functionality, the piece appears to be purely decorative. Regardless of my gripes about the bezel, the entire case of the watch is undeniably well-executed, and it gives the impression of better quality than I would have expected from looking at a photo of the watch.
Well, let’s address the elephant in the room – or in this case, the horse on the dial. Set on a black lacquer surface with luminous Arabic numeral hour markers is an enormous 3D-printed polo player that spans the entire vertical length of the dial. Ralph Lauren often chooses to paint its iconic polo player logo as a simple silhouette, this time it appears in full color and the player’s mallet extends into the 12 o’clock marker, while the horse’s feet partially overlap at 6. Below the dial. In fact, the logo is so large that the name “Ralph Lauren” is forced into the minute track at the top of the dial, similar to how the words “Swiss Made” appear at the bottom. The time is indicated by luminous sword-shaped hands with black finished edges and they are complimented by a seconds hand set in a thin red center. The Polo Player logo is said to be the real focus of the watch and not only is it absolutely massive, but it’s rendered in both 3D print and full colour, so it’s guaranteed to stand out and be noticed; However, that is exactly the purpose of this watch. Far from being about refinement and subtle details, this watch is about in-your-face branding and an outward celebration of all things Ralph Lauren and Polo.
This overt branding can also be seen on the straps fitted to models from the current Ralph Lauren Polo watch collection. There are both silicone rubber and leather NATO style straps along with the more traditional two-piece leather strap options, which prominently feature the “Polo” name along the length of each side. I believe the black PVD model I had for review would normally be paired with a black leather NATO style strap, but the one I was sent came with yellow and dark purple rubber straps. Regardless of material, the various two-piece strap options all come complete with quick-release spring bars to facilitate tool-free strap changes, and even more interestingly, the signature pin buckles also feature quick-release connections. Buckles can be changed without using any tools.
Powering the Ralph Lauren Polo watch is the brand’s Caliber RL200 automatic movement, which is essentially a Ralph Lauren embellished version of the Sellita SW200-1. Also, it runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and provides users with a power reserve of approximately 38 hours. While this movement is arguably the most well-known quantity in the industry and the most commonly used Swiss-made mechanical movement in the world, the version fitted to the Ralph Lauren Polo watch is more ornate than most and includes perlage. The bridges feature vertical Geneva stripes on the signature rotor, and it features a small “RL200-1” engraving on the outer edge of the train wheel bridge, which represents Ralph Lauren’s caliber number for the movement. While the embellished version of the Sellita SW200-1 is nothing spectacular from a horological perspective, the movement that powers the Ralph Lauren Polo watch is decently finished and delivers reliable performance with hassle-free handling.
I’m usually someone who likes as little branding as possible on my watches and clothing, so the enormous full-color, 3D-printed logo on the Ralph Lauren Polo watch isn’t really for me; However, my personal preferences are not important here, but the quality of the watch. Even wearing the watch in Switzerland as a spectator at a championship polo match failed to warm me to its design, but my time with it ultimately gave me a stronger appreciation for the watch’s overall quality. It’s easy for all of us to get wrapped up in our own personal preferences sometimes, but it’s also important to remember that this industry requires diversity, and that not every watch will – or should – always appeal to our own stylistic sensibilities. The Ralph Lauren Polo watch allows people to immerse themselves in a decidedly light and playful design, while still being able to enjoy the premium quality of a true Swiss-made mechanical watch – and put my own aesthetic preferences aside. Very well built in itself. At official retail price $2,000 USD For the black PVD version, the Ralph Lauren Polo watch is a little more expensive than what usually comes to mind when you think of watches produced by big fashion brands. However, the Polo watch is Ralph Lauren’s least expensive timepiece, and the quality that this watch brings to the table is exponentially higher than what you’d get from some fashion watch bought for a few hundred dollars. Local mall. For avid polo fans or those looking to embrace the big-logo spirit that dominated fashion in the 1990s, the Ralph Lauren Polo Watch is a fun and lightweight timepiece that offers more build quality than you might expect. Given its colorful personality. For more information, please visit Brand’s website.