Australian Brands

HANDS-ON: The Melbourne Watch Company Carlton – a smart meca-quartz chronograph

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Editor’s Note: For the final instalment of our 2016 Australian watch round up we’re looking at the fun and fashionable Carlton, from the Melbourne Watch Company. We’ve got a soft spot for the Melbourne Watch Company, and that’s not just because it’s named after our hometown. The serial Kickstarters have done well in separating themselves from the ever-growing pack of affordable, online watch brands. Last year we checked out the flagship Portsea, and today we’re spending some quality time with the Carlton. Its fifth and largest watch, and far more fashion-focused than the other models, this is another success story for the brand. Consistent with the rest of MWC’s catalogue, the Carlton is clean, restrained and honest, featuring two chronograph sub-dials (minutes and hours respectively), with pump-style pushers. Coming in at a larger-than-usual 42mm, the case is plated with rose gold, in a square cushion shape – a nod to the automotive-inspired designs of the 1960s, notably the Heuer Camaro. A silver dial with rose gold markers and hands match the case nicely, paired with a brown leather strap, so there’s no faulting this classic colour combination. Engraved on the caseback is Melbourne’s iconic Royal Exhibition Building, which is located in Carlton, the suburb that lends the… Read More

HANDS-ON: The Erroyl Regent Nero, a value-packed calendar that hits all the right notes

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Editor’s Note: In our penultimate post on Australian watch brands, we take a look at Erroyl’s second watch, and discover that this one definitely isn’t suffering from second album syndrome. Around this time last year, Erroyl had only just launched its first model – the Heritage. In the subsequent 12 months, the fledgling brand has done very well in combining quality components and finishing with thoughtful design and wallet-friendly price. Its latest model is the Erroyl Regent, which has the more difficult task of meeting and exceeding those expectations that were forged with the Heritage. The first thing you notice about the Regent are its similarities to mid-century sports watches with ‘panda’ dials, particularly the early dual-subdial Heuer Autavia. Of course, the Erroyl is no chronograph, the  subdials instead displaying day and month, with the date on show at six. It’s a wonderfully classic design, its tuxedo styling cues instantly making this watch feel special on the wrist. With its highly polished 42mm case and loads of guilloché detailing, the Regent belies its sub-$600 price tag, punching well above its weight in almost every respect. Hidden behind the upmarket caseback is the Japanese Miyota 9122 triple-date automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve. It’s one of the higher-end… Read More

HANDS-ON: The Bausele Pilot All Black – 
a value packed ceramic pilot with a twist

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Editor’s Note: As part of our follow-up to last year’s Australian Watch Week, we’re taking another look at Bausele – this time the well-priced ceramic pilot. It’s been a little while now since we checked in with Bausele, which has continued to carve its name into the local watch scene. Now it looks set to crack the American market, recently signing English/Aussie /LA-based actor Dominic Purcell, famous for his stint in Prison Break, as the face of its new campaign. Bausele was the first Australian brand to get a seat at the table that is Baselworld – not bad for a locally grown, Swiss-made brand. French-born founder Christophe Hoppé has proudly embraced our wide brown land, literally putting a a piece of it in every watch. Usually this takes the form of a few grains of sand or soil embedded in the crown, but there’s also the Bauselite material used in the Terra Australis, as well as kangaroo straps. (If you’re reading this overseas, yes, it’s fine to use our national icon for leather; it’s sustainable and there are plenty of ‘roos around.) Today we’re taking a look at the Pilot All Black, which features an unusual and eye-catching dial layout. Bausele has moved the 12 from where it normally… Read More

HANDS-ON: The Haigh & Hastings Classic – Aussie style with a serious Swiss pedigree

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Editor’s Note: Last year we held a special week of stories focusing on local watch brands, and in a fit of creativity we called it ‘Australian Watch Week’. Twelve months down the track, many of the brands have come up with a fresh crop of models, and we’re going to be having a close look at some of the stand outs over the next few weeks. First up, Haigh & Hastings. Perth-based Haigh & Hastings has spent the past few years developing a reputation for solid sports and diving watches, as we saw with the M2 Diver last year. The brand continues to go from strength to strength, bringing in former Audemars Piguet head of design Emmanuel Gueit to lend his expertise to their latest model: the Haigh & Hastings Classic. Gueit’s input on the Classic is immediately obvious; it’s a clean, simple design that’s very well balanced, and avoids many of the design pitfalls that so often plague young watch brands. Things like short hands, poorly sized date windows – the sort of problems you get with an off-the-shelf product. The Classic is a strong design and the decision to bring Guiet’s skills onboard has clearly paid off. Firstly,… Read More

AUSTRALIAN WATCH WEEK: State of the Union

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The dust has settled on Australian Watch Week, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. So much so that we thought it was worth taking a few steps back and having a look at the state of the industry as a whole, including the perspectives of the local Australian brands and industry leaders from around the world. So, thanks to the wonders of Skype and online meeting schedulers we assembled a panel of experts, brand founders and opinion makers to take stock, and talk about the future of watches in Australia.  The Cast Giles English, co-founder of Bremont (GE) Dan Niederer, founder of SevenFriday (DN) Zach Weiss, co-founder of Worn & Wound (ZW) Todd Caldwell, founder of Aegir Instruments (TC) Christophe Hoppe, founder of Bausele (CH) Wes Knight, founder of Erroyl (WK) Simon Haigh, co-founder of Haigh & Hastings (SH) Sujain Krishnan, founder of Melbourne Watch Company (SK) Francis del Mundo, founder of Tangramatic (FdM) T+T: Zach, let’s start with you. Worn & Wound is probably the leading voice in smaller, niche watch brands like the ones currently coming out of Australia – what do you think about the emerging Australian industry? ZW: It’s great. I love seeing the watch industry… Read More

EVENT: Australian Watch Week Pub Lock-In, Fitzroy, Melbourne

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There was a poignant moment as we went to pick up the tab from the barmaid at the end of our very casual Australian Watch Week drinks. And it was not the usual picking up the bill kind of poignant, i.e raw panic. Oh my god. Who drank all that. Etc. It was late, it was Friday, baby it was cold outside. Winter was not coming. Winter was here man. The people left in the pub were making sure the bar didn’t fall over by leaning pretty heavily on it. The commentators on Friday night footy were debriefing on a great win to the Swans (go Swans). And two final orders for chicken parmagiana for me and Christophe from Bausele (we’d been a wee bit too excited to eat until now) just snuck in before the kitchen closed. I handed our cards over and asked her if the watch guys that had overrun the pub had caused any trouble over the night, and if so, sorry. They can get out of hand. It was a tongue in cheek question but an honest answer: “They were way too preoccupied to cause any trouble.” There was a touch of melancholy to her tone. Like, what’s the… Read More

AUSTRALIAN WATCH WEEK: Meet the founders

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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 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 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… Read More