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Making sure you're fashionably on time

Timothy Barber
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THE true sign of a top-notch timepiece is not the beautiful design of its exterior, but the technological quality of its interior. The leading Swiss watch producers pride themselves on a level of finesse that can boggle the mind.

For that reason, luxury watch enthusiasts have tended to have a rather sniffy attitude towards fashion houses who have dabbled in watches. The results, they think, often have style but far too little substance.

While that might have been the case in the past, things are changing. Take, for example, the impressive line from Ralph Lauren. The fashion superstar has joined forces with Richemont, the Swiss firm behind leading watch brands like IWC and Piaget. While they provide the technical brilliance inside, Lauren provides the design pizzazz outside. The results are up there with the best, with prices to match.

Lauren may be crashing the haute horologie party, but his is not the only design house with a quality timepiece. We look at some of the best.

Ralph Lauren
Sporting Classic
£7,700
www.ralphlauren.com

Gucci
G Chrono black
£915
www.gucci.com

Chanel
J12 ceramic
£2,650
www.chanel.com

Salvatore Ferragamo
Palagio
£880
www.salvatoreferragamo.com

Louis Vuitton
Speedy Chronograph
£3,590
www.louisvuitton.com