MICRO MONDAYS: The Nullarbor Terrain is inspired by Australian nature MICRO MONDAYS: The Nullarbor Terrain is inspired by Australian nature

MICRO MONDAYS: The Nullarbor Terrain is inspired by Australian nature

Fergus Nash

For as many watch enthusiasts as we have here, Australia is lacking somewhat when it comes to home-grown brands. Of course we have Bausele, Galvin, and the not-so-subtly-named Melbourne Watch Company, though none of these designs have much to offer in terms of Australian-inspired design traits. Nullarbor, this week’s feature on Micro Mondays, aims to remedy that. The brand is a classic Kickstarter success story, launching with a new watch called the Nullarbor Terrain, designed to represent Australian landscapes in an approachable package.

The case

You may hear ‘Australia-themed watch’ and instantly assume that you’re getting a green and gold nightmare fitted with a kangaroo leather strap, but Nullarbor are much more subtle with their design choices. At its heart, the Terrain is really just a well-designed adventure watch. The case shape takes its influence from classic Swiss dive watches of the 1960s, although it’s not trying to be just another diver. The screw-down crown locks in a swimmable 100 metres of water resistance, but the bezel is clearly a departure from dive-timing.

The compass bezel is designed to help you navigate by pointing the 12 o’clock marker to the sun, splitting the difference between the hour hand, and then you’ve found north. This is special for Australians, because most compass bezel watches are designed for the northern hemisphere which would actually send us backwards. The effect of the founders’ enthusiasm for watches comes through in the case sizing as well, with a comfortable 40mm diameter, 46.5mm lug-to-lug length, and a 12mm thickness.

The dial

Rather than print a bunch of koalas and emus on the dials and calling it a day, Nullarbor has focused on representing three distinct climates of the country with colours. All of the watches have white dials for optimum legibility no matter the colour, and markers printed in each theme. Outback Brown captures the sandy deserts which make up a huge percentage of the country, Forest Green represents the lush areas of vegetation along our coasts, and Ocean Blue brings it home with an homage to the Indian, Southern and Pacific oceans which surround us. The hands, printed markers and the bezel are all filled with luminous paint, giving it some decent visibility after-dark.

The straps

Each of the Nullarbor Terrain watches come fitted with a stainless steel bracelet to match the case, with a five-link design that rides the line nicely between smart and casual. There are also FKM rubber, tropic-style straps, and NATO-style fabric straps available as affordable add-ons, with brown, green, and blue colours to suit the watches. The lug width is 20mm, so you also have plenty of aftermarket compatibility should you wish to experiment.

The movement

Powering the Nullarbor Terrain is the Miyota 9039, one of the brand’s premium movements. The Japanese manufacturer has a great reputation for reliability, and the quality of the 9039 is well-established. It beats at 4Hz for a smooth sweep of the seconds hand, and the 42-hour power reserve is more than enough for a daily wearer. The caseback has an exhibition window giving you a look at the custom winding rotor, regardless of the otherwise minimal decoration.

The Nullarbor Terrain pricing and availability

The Nullarbor Terrain was fully funded within 30 minutes of launching on Kickstarter, and is still available for pledges. Price: A$719 (super early bird discount until September 11th 2023),  A$1,000 (retail)

Brand Nullarbor
Model Terrain
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 12mm (T) x 46.5mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial White with brown, green or blue markers
Lug Width 20mm
Strap Steel bracelet, optional FKM rubber or fabric straps
Movement Miyota 9039, automatic
Power Reserve 42 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds
Availability Available now for Kickstarter pre-orders
Price A$719 (super early bird), A$1,000 (retail)