Test: Safari time at Ralph Lauren: Two New Grand Dates

Safari Time at Ralph Lauren: Two New Grand Dates

What else does the urbanite dream of? As he (or she!) is completely engrossed in a daily routine of negotiating the big city. Some would trade their time in the asphalt jungle for wide open spaces, the bush, game drives… We’re talking about the safari!

By Joël A. Grandjean

Early one morning, in a big city somewhere in the West. My night was disturbed by dreams, brimming with sepia images of sub-Saharan Africa, picture-book safaris and casual elegance. As the backdrop of the African steppe slowly recedes, giving way to the persistent ring-tone of an iPhone, I am confronted head on with the everyday reality of my existence. A watch, lying resplendent on my bedside table, on temporary loan for a wrist-test, allows me to prolong the magic: in the twilight, the beige Super-LumiNova glimmer covering its Arabic numerals and hands are an invitation to extend my fantastic journey as an intrepid adventurer. 

Urban safari with the Ralph Lauren RL67 Safari Grand Date

This watch belongs to the Ralph Lauren Safari collection, it reaches out to me, rugged and powerful, encased within a generous 50 mm diameter bezel. On my wrist, this large beauty melds seamlessly into my surroundings, camouflage style, its varnished dial and, appropriately, camo motif, is tinged with the famous azuré green of Ralph Lauren's signature corporate colours. No lift for me this morning, I go for the stairs. The black stairwell and iron rails blend darkly with the aged black watchcase, distressed by means of a special finishing technique to lend a unique patina to the steel. 

I'm out. I emerge into the great outdoors, like a watchful leopard, my senses bristling, my heart beating to the rhythm of 28,000 vibrations an hour. I set off in my trusty 4WD in search of my objectives. And I'm caught up in the thrill of it all. Behind the steering wheel, I'm like a wildebeest in migratory mode, or in mid-flight, trying to escape from the burning bush somewhere in the deepest Serengeti or the Masai Mara. Suddenly, I swerve to avoid a variety of "Big Five" crossing the tarmac path of a dried-up riverbed, without any warning. They, too, appear to be in search of their Boma in the jungle. My orange seconds hand, complete with compass point tip providing a stark contrast to the sword-shaped minutes and hours hands, sweeping around the face with the passing of time. It reminds me of the glistening coats of the red hartebeest, as I sit sipping Sundowner cocktails to the dying rays of the sun. 

An Automatic Grand Date

The day is mine, at last. And the large date feature sitting just below the dial's zenith, reminding me of important events in my dim memory, is showing me the number 24. It's my favourite date, inspired by the vast African bush, where the seasons are twofold. Just like this watch with its sister version, which instead opts for a little less adventurous total black for the dial. Yet, if you look closely, the watered-down olive green canvas strap lined with black leather is somewhat reminiscent of the dark green of my own alligator strap with brown Alsavel lining in tribute to an explorer's shoulder bag.

Inspired adventure

As I arrive at the office, my mechanical watch switches to automatic winding, giving way to the dependable RL3105 mechanical calibre of my RL67 Safari Grand Date, camouflage version. And although I'm beginning to wind down and the rotor is idling, I feel safe in the knowledge that I have a power reserve of around 42 hours. There's enough energy and inspiration left to write these few lines before the sun breaks out in full force to scorch the arid earth. The inspiration, this time, is reflected in this appropriate quotation from the designer, Ralph Lauren, who, even at the beginning of his design career, dreamed of one day going to Africa: "The romance of safari is a dream that I have returned to many times. It's an adventure, a world of refinement set against a rugged and powerful landscape."

Ralph Lauren on Watchonista

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