Australian watchmaker Bausele is a relatively young brand, founded in 2011 by industry veteran Christophe Hoppe, who has previously worked for Universo (a component manufacturer for the Swatch Group) and served as CFO for Technomarine. After spending over a decade working in Geneva and La Chaux-de-Fonds, Christophe moved to Australia in 2010 and launched his own brand called Bausele (which stands for Beyond Australian Elements), themed around the landscapes, elements, and culture of the country. Each Bausele watch contains a little bit of Australia in the crown; sand from Bondi and Whitehaven beaches, opal from Coober Pedy, or red earth from the Kimberley. With its bold red color, the latter is arguably the most aesthetically interesting option and was chosen for the brand’s halo product, the aptly named Bausele Terra Australis watch. I’ve had the opportunity to wear this rather unique watch for a few weeks now, and while it’s a very polarizing timepiece and not without its flaws, it also demonstrates that there is real potential to be found in Australian watchmaking.

Bausele’s watches are all inspired by Australia and contain local elements in the crown, but the Bausele Terra Australis pushes the envelope further with an Australian-manufactured case. The interestingly dappled ring surrounding the dial is made of “Bauselite,” a lightweight ceramic-like material with an appearance and texture similar to granite. Bauselite is manufactured locally in Adelaide by a new company called Australian Advanced Manufacturing Pty Ltd., which was formed as a joint venture between Bausele and Flinders University. Component manufacturing is rare in Australia, and as an Aussie myself, I’m glad to see that Bausele is supporting the development of local industry. While wearing the Terra Australis, I often found myself idly running my fingers over the Bauselite case; it has a unique feel unlike any of the materials I’m used to in a wristwatch, and this textural element is certainly a selling point for those looking for something just a tad different from typical timepieces.

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The main criticism I have of the Bausele Terra Australis is the frankly terrible leather strap that the brand has included with this watch. We’re talking 5mm of thick, stiff leather and a doubled-over keeper, which makes the already-large 46mm by 15mm case wear even larger. When I met with Christophe to receive the watch, I commented that the Terra Australis would look and wear much better on a shark mesh or Milanese style bracelet, which would emphasize the masculinity of the watch. At the same time, those options would contour better on the wrist and be more aesthetically compatible with the perlage-finished steel dial.

The Bausele Terra Australis has a lug width of 26mm, which certainly makes finding aftermarket straps a challenge, but to prove my point and make the wearing experience for this review more pleasant (read: doable), I went out and found an inexpensive Milanese strap on eBay. I think the result was a marked improvement over the original strap, and several colleagues commented that they’d never seen a strap swap make such a dramatic change to a watch. It seems that Christophe also agrees, and after seeing my initial photos, he has begun seeking a supplier for mesh-style bracelets to offer with the Bausele Terra Australis in the future. That’s one inherent strength of small brands like Bausele: the agility to be able to take one piece of feedback from a random watch blogger like myself and run with it. I doubt any of the established Swiss watchmakers would listen to, much less apply, any of my criticisms or feedback.

The dial of the Bausele Terra Australis takes a bit of time to get used to, as it has an unconventional format for displaying minutes. The wedge-shaped indicator at 9 o’clock points to the current time on a central rotating minutes disc, marked with Arabic numerals in 5 minute intervals. Within the central disc is a sort of X-shaped white bridge, which frames the 30-minute and 60-minute markers. This is becoming something of a signature Bausele element, as it was previously used in their Driver Auto series watches, and it can also act as a visual aid to tell roughly how far through the current hour you are. Hours are displayed in a more traditional manner, with a short wedge-shaped hour hand and large Arabic numerals at 12, 6 and 3 o’clock, with circular indexes in between. The hour markers and numerals, hour hand and minute indicator are all coated with Super-LumiNova, but the minutes disc notably is not, so nighttime legibility is restricted to hours only.

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The second hand of the Bausele Terra Australis is painted blue, but heat-blued steel would have been a nicer touch. Around the dial’s periphery is a railroad-style track whose purpose seems to be entirely aesthetic rather than functional given that this watch lacks a minutes hand. A minor but unfortunate design flaw can be seen around the Arabic hour numerals; the railroad-style track stops both before and after the 12 and 3 o’clock markers, but continues unbroken through the 6 o’clock marker. A small and unframed date window has also been squeezed in at 4 o’clock, an unusual location that I rather like, as it doesn’t disrupt dial symmetry quite as badly as does the more common 4:30 position.


Sweet jebus that’s an ugly watch.

  • Some constructive criticism? Don’t try to hard to be different. Try to include Aussie elements in a non-ugly and non ridiculous way. Hire a designer from a local art-school or make a competition. Reconsider your pricing, seriously, reconsider your pricing. Learn from this superfail.

    • I like the collaborative competition idea. Would love to see what kind of design the ABTW community would settle on, starting from this watch here.

    • Thank you Sheez…have you hold and seen the watch in person? Regarding the pricing, I don’t understand…I am in the industry for long enough to know that you can’t fault the pricing for this level of quality watch.
      There is no failure here, we already sold a lot to some very happy customers, here is what David, one of the early customer had to say about the watch:
      “Magnifique!!! What a beautiful piece of art… it really exceeds my expectations of how it would look — far beyond the images on your website. All the detail from the many angles are accentuated in person. Excellent craftsmanship, and so unique — you have a real hit and I think you will attract many watch aficianados to the Terra Australis.”

    • Thank you very much, I appreciate your nice comment. Do we know each other?

  • Wow.

    Kinda like an RJ DNA watch with the addition of natural elements in the crown. But on acid. And falling down the stairs.

    I would have liked to know more about bauselite: does it offer anything outside of aesthetics? Its lightweight, compared to what? Does it have noteworthy tensile strength or scratch resiatance? Is this it’s only colour?

    Dimensions are a bid absurd and it just doesn’t look that great on the wrist. Some element finishing could have been done better, and as mentioned the painted blue seconds hand sticks out like a sore thumb on this bare palette (and I’m not sure if ‘ice blue’ is reminiscent at all of australia) The movement is painfully dwarfed, a solid decorated caseback absolutely should have been employed.

    Despite the price being ridiculous beyond further comment, it does appear that locals are making their way to dealers to consider them:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fc9b6d4f9e06b33e82b0141e35a8c557808a88d09dbcfba86010101a10acb3a0.png

    • Thank you !
      I am actually a very good friend or Yvan Arpa who designed the RJ DNA watch.
      Dimensions are very well balanced and the watch looks very good on the wrist, see picture below.
      I am in the industry for a long time to know that this watch has an amazing quality / price ratio…
      The Bauselite is machined – not injected like normal ceramic and we have created a joint venture company 4 years ago with Flinders University in Adelaide to create this first in the watch industry in Australia.
      It goes into a furnace – becomes pink and then we inject nano technologies to give it the colour we want.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a2b8b74e2d43a6ed16ead1108bfddbbdc3717c62a263a95fb02fb087cd88ac9f.jpg

  • As an Australian, and prior to seeing this article a proud one, I would like to apologize on behalf of all our people for the creation of this monstrosity. The rest of the Bausele range is actually worth looking at, depending on ones individual taste. This one is not. This one, if you’ll forgive me, can fuck right off mate.

    • Thank you David! Don’t you find it a bit harsh to dismiss my customers the way you do in one little comment without actually having hold a watch physically?
      – 4 years of research and development
      – bringing watch manufacturing to Australia
      – trying to be different in the design than what is done at the moment by every brand
      – a well build product with amazing components for that price (and I am in the industry for long enough to know it is an amazing quality / product ratio)
      I understand it is not your taste but don’t wish for someone else’s failure because of it.

      • Christopher, you are quite correct. I apologise unreservedly. Must of been disheartening to read my comment after the effort you put in. All the best and I will keep an eye out for the watch and make an informed opinion next time.

      • Thank you Berndt! I appreciate your constructive criticism of the watch…have you hold one or seen it in real? I am the founder of Bausele and the designer of the watch…

    • Thank you! I appreciate your constructive criticism of the watch…have you hold one or seen it in real? I am the founder of Bausele and the designer of the watch…

      • Sorry if my honest opinion has hurt your feelings. No, I have not held the watch or seen in person. Nothing about the watch appeals to me – that is all I have to know.
        Good luck to you.

  • The intention was headed in the right direction, but it’s looking like *something*-meets SevenFriday to me. The concept has potential but at a price point which includes so many other options, it’s risky. Apropos of whatever, I see Bausele does make some rather nice looking pieces otherwise, so there’s hope.

    • Thanks John! We have started a joint venture with Flinders University down in Adelaide to produce the main component of this watch. I am proud to be the first to be bringing (4 years ago) watch manufacturing in Australia after a long career in the industry in Switzerland. This watch is nothing like a SevenFriday…I would compare it more to a Hublot than a SevenFriday…all the components of this watch are top notch – like all my watches, there is no sacrifice to the quality.

    • Hi again Raymond. Don’t you find it a bit harsh to dismiss in one little comment without actually having hold a watch physically?
      – 4 years of research and development
      – bringing watch manufacturing to Australia
      – trying to be different in the design than what is done at the moment by every brand
      – a well build product with amazing components for that price (and I am in the industry for long enough to know it is an amazing quality / product ratio)

  • Bauselite is actually an excellent shield against the LZX proton rays the people of planet Rbzerlexm are constantly bombarbing us with. The segmented bezel pieces on the watch are amplifiers, quadrupling the effectiveness of the bauselite. Brilliant design!

  • Creating a new way of displaying the same ol’ time, without sacrificing legibility and visual appeal, requires a dash of genius.

    This watch is clearly going for textural appeal and it may very well be successful on that front. However, I feel as though the creative process behind the dial is incomplete.

    • Thank you for this first constructive criticism! Which part of the dial you think is incomplete? What would you have done differently? (I am the founder of Bausele and designer of the watch:)

  • Yup, I’ll agree, it’s certainly a conversation starter, just not in a good way.
    What does the tattoo say?

      • You know, that’s one very important aspect of a watches on this blog i can’t comment on. How it feels, watching how it comes alive in your hands, How well it’s constructed it is. All these are very important points that i can’t appreciate. What i do have are eyes and in this instance that’s pretty much all i need to come to a determination. I’m not going to start listing what i dont like about other than to say i feel you have concentrated too much on the style of the watch over functionality . Your design is big and bold and almost look as if they have been riveted together by some construction company. While some among us go for that look,…I don’t.
        Please don’t think I’m being mean, i really admire your drive to get your creation to market while i just sit here behind my keyboard criticising, but for me it’s all about style ( my style ) and in this instance it’s a no .

        Good luck.

        • Thank you Raymond! I understand it is not for everybody’s taste, let me share with you the comment from David, one of my early customer:
          “Magnifique!!! What a beautiful piece of art… it really exceeds my expectations of how it would look — far beyond the images on your website. All the detail from the many angles are accentuated in person. Excellent craftsmanship, and so unique — you have a real hit and I think you will attract many watch aficianados to the Terra Australis.”
          I think it speaks for itself. I have customers who bought 2, even 1 customer bought 3 (2 for him and 1 as a present). It is that type of watch…either you love it or you hate it!
          But something is sure, a lot of effort came into it…

  • If that is typical of Australian aesthetics, then I am truly glad my ancestors were never naughty enough (or careless enough) to be deported!

    • Hello, we have started a joint venture with Flinders University down in Adelaide to produce the main component of this watch. I am proud to be the first to be bringing (4 years ago) watch manufacturing in Australia after a long career in the industry in Switzerland. This watch is nothing like a SevenFriday…I would compare it more to a Hublot than a SevenFriday…

  • The main criticism I have of the Bausele Terra Australis is…how incredibly ugly it is. And wait…what?…the i crown is filled with dirt?
    It’ll start a conversation all right:
    “Hey, how’s it going?”
    “Good, thanks. Wow, that’s one hideous-looking watch you have on there.”
    “…”

    • Thank you Michael! I appreciate your constructive criticism of the watch…have you hold one or seen it in real? I am the founder of Bausele and the designer of the watch…

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