AUSTRALIAN WATCH WEEK: Meet the founders

All week we’ve been showcasing great watches from local brands.These watches are very different from the sometimes anonymous products produced in their thousands by the large Swiss brands. These watches are very much the result of an a personal vision. So we’re going to take a step back from the watches, meet the men behind the brands and find out what makes them tick.

Todd Caldwell, Aegir Instruments

Todd-caldwell-aegir

The Pitch:

We have an unalterable commitment to the highest quality product.

The Price:

$1750 – $1900.

The Person:

Todd is a commercial diver working mainly in bell bounce systems in the offshore oil and gas industry. Aegir Instruments was born as Todd whiled away the hours decompressing with little to do but stare at his watch (a Panerai), and think of how he could improve it. A few years and a serious accident later Todd decided to spend some time on dry land and make his watchmaking dreams a reality.

Christophe Hoppe, Bausele

Christophe-Hoppe-Bausele-HD

The Pitch:

Keep a piece of Australia with you.

The Price:

$490 – $4400.

The Person:

Swiss born Christophe moved to Australia in 2010, after many years working in the watch industry. Bausele was born out of his disappointment with the lack of Australian watch brands. For the last three years it’s been a part time, but hes making up for it this year – as it’s occupying 300% of his time. He’s had a good grounding in horology – as his first ‘good’ watch was a Gerald Genta Biretro.

Wes Knight, Erroyl

Wes-Knight-Erroyl

The Pitch:

A touch of Earl and a dash of Royal – Erroyl make refined, elegant and enduring watches.

The Price:

$380 – $410.

The Person:

Wes Knight, much like Batman, is a public servant (he’s from Canberra remember – it’s a natural career path) by day and a watch designer by night. Knight has always had an entrepreneurial bent, and finally decided to grow his love of watches (which started with a $5 Transformers watch) into something bigger.

Simon Haigh, Haigh & Hastings

Simon-haigh-haigh-hastings

The Pitch:

‘Timepieces for dangerous men’

The Price:

$580-$650.

The Person:

Simon is a lawyer and serial investor by trade – Haigh & Hastings might have started out as a hobby, addressing a gap in the market for customisable rugged watches with an Australian flavour, but things are getting serious quickly, with some exciting developments not too far down the pipeline.

Sujain Krishnan, Melbourne Watch Company

Sujain-Krishnan-melbourne-watch

The Pitch:

“You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to own a luxury timepiece”

The Price:

$400 – $800.

The Person:

Before diving into the world of watches full-time Sujain worked in IT, and had a small business in custom timepeices. Crunch time came and Sujain made the big decision to quite his day job and live the dream. His first ‘good’ watch was a vintage hand-wound Omega, though in an example of poor watch-nerdery he can’t recall the reference.

Francis del Mundo, Tangramatic

Francis-del-mundo-tangramatic

The Pitch:

Tangramatic symbolises self re-invention and transformation

The Price:

$400.

The Person:

Francis works in IT, but his 9-5 of fibre optics and RAID arrays didn’t satisfy his creative urges. He discovered online watch forums while researching a watch purchase (a Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer btw) and he decided to transition from wearer to designer and soon after Tangramatic was born.