When you think 'luxury timepiece', you automatically think 'Swiss made'. Brands like Rolex, Omega, TAG Heuer, Longines, Hublot, Patek Philippe and dozens more, come to mind.
Likewise, classic Swiss designs – like the Submariner, the Seamaster – have endured for decades for a reason, adorning the wrists of the successful and the celebrité on a regular basis.
To suggest a local company could take on the world's best watchmakers is bordering on ludicrous. So for Christo Hoppe, founder of Australian luxury watch brand, , the only way to even attempt a feat like this was to make his watches as unique as their future owners.
Go your own way
"I don't like doing things like everybody else; I want to create my own way," says Hoppe with a wry smile.
"When you go to dinner, you don't want the person in front of you to have bought the exact same watch as you. You want something different and something uniquely Australian."
When approaching the latest line of Bausele watches, Terra Australis, Hoppe knew that using unique elements in the design of each watch would attract the right kind of eyes.
Piece of Australia
Each Terra Australis owner can choose to have a piece of Australia incorporated into the crown of their watch; such as yellow sand from Bondi Beach, or red dust from the Kimberley.
While other creations in the Bausele range boast a kangaroo leather strap, the heavier Terra Australis requires thicker leather. This, also, has been made in Australia.
Another first for an Australian watch company, Hoppe joined forces with Flinders University, Adelaide to create a new ceramic for the Terra Australis; aptly named, Bauselite.
The university has also developed a new way to bake ceramic, which produces less waste and results in a far greater degree of accuracy in the finished product – no shrinkage or loss of shape.
While the watch itself is made and assembled in Switzerland – you can't make champagne outside of Champagne and expect to use the name – customers can create a bespoke version via the brand's website, which is then reassembled from the Swiss-made original in Australia.
This is yet another way of individualising the Terra Australis; turning what could easily be just another wristwatch into a homegrown hero. Indeed, 'Keep a piece of Australia with you,' is stamped onto the back of every watch.
A time for fashion
Despite being produced in limited quantities – only 50 of each design will be made – there's a healthy amount of pre-orders kicking off production. For Hoppe, timing is everything.
"Six or seven years ago, fashion was not the forte in Australia".
For anyone other than an accomplished watch designer to throw this statement around in Sydney could be foolhardy.
"That has changed completely in the last seven years. Fashion moves very fast now, thanks to a lot of blogs, Instagrams and social influencers, you name it. People are more aware of what's happening in the world – what's fashionable, what's not. People are into dressing well, and also accessorising well."
With a variety of customisation options, including the case, dial, hands, strap and more, you can own a $4850 Terra Australis as unique as you are.
The labour of passion
"I want to wake up in the morning and be proud to be doing something that challenges me," said Hoppe, the passion of his words evident through his thick French accent.
"I could've invested in a house and let the market grow, which would've been a good bet too. I didn't do that. I'm renting and put everything into my watch brand – it's my passion, designing watches and developing new ways to make watches."