FASHION - INTERVIEW
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Christophe Hoppe, Founder and CEO of Bausele Australia Watches
FASHION - INTERVIEW
by Beren Dere
Each Bausele watches' crown hosts a little piece of sand from Bondi, Red Earth from the Kimberley or Opal from Coober Pedy. You can always carry a piece of Australia with you. Bausele is the official watch of the Sydney Opera House, and they crowned this collaboration with Bausele Sydney Opera House watch. And there is another Aussie collaboration with Dominic Purcell as Global Brand Ambassador. I asked Christophe Hoppe, Founder and CEO of Bausele Australia Watches, in order to learn more about Australia’s first premium watch brand.
Christophe, before we start talking about Bausele, could you tell us about your background and design experience?
I don't have a design background...I used to be an ex-accountant working for PWC in Luxembourg and Switzerland before becoming CFO for a watch company in Geneva and then in La Chaux de Fonds. I always loved to draw so I guess I had an artistic side of me that I couldn't express as an accountant which I fulfilled with Bausele.
Bausele OCEANMOON II - CAVE BLACK
How did you decide to create Bausele? Why did you prefer to position Bausele on premium watch segment?
When moving to Australia in 2010, it was more difficult than anticipated for me to find a job so while looking for a full-time position in finance, I looked around and noticed that everyone was wearing the same type of watches and there was no Australian watch brand doing quality products despite the fact the standard of living in Australia is high and they love to support a local product. Bausele which stands for Beyond AUStralian ELEments was born!
Coming from the watch industry in Switzerland, I am passionate about this side of the watch industry, not the fast to market cheap all look-alike type of watches.
Bausele Sydney Opera House
I guess it is unnecessary to ask what inspired you. Could you please tell the story behind the Bausele Sydney Opera House design?
The Sydney Opera House commissioned Bausele to design a watch with and for them. It was a collaborative work with the person in charge of the building, the marketing department, all having an input in the design. I gathered all the ideas and incorporated it the best I could in the one timepiece. There was a lot of pressure to come with a unique design that could match the Sydney Opera House amazing architecture. The Opera House is a Masterpiece well known all around the world and a symbol of Australia. I am very proud and thankful to have been able to collaborate with them.
Bausele Scott Marsh Signature Watch
How did you come up with the idea of working with Scott Marsh? What is the most important contribution of this collaboration to Bausele?
I wanted to work with a local artist and got introduced to Scott which I was familiar with his work already. Scott is such an easy going person to work with but on point when it comes to delivering and meeting deadlines which makes it easy for such an intricate project as launching a limited edition watch where there is a lot of different suppliers and parameters involved. Scott inspired me on a lot of different levels and would love to work on a new collaboration with him in the future.
Bausele Dominic Purcell OceanMoon Magpie Surf Tattoo - Prison Break Lincoln Burrows
Dominic Purcell is Bausele’s Global Brand Ambassador and he wears a Bausele Terra Australis. Which features of Terra Australis makes it different from others?
We are very proud to have Dominic as our Global brand ambassador. His character in Prison Break is wearing the Terra Australis in season 5 of the show. The Terra Australis started as a reflection on how could we introduce watchmaking to Australia and make components locally. We created a joint venture with Flinders University in Adelaide called the Australian Advanced Manufacturing that produces the main component of the watch case that is then sent to Switzerland to get assembled. The design of the watch is really different and unique. Either you love it or hate it...but when you love it like my customers, you tend to buy a couple, I even have one client who purchased 3 to have it in all colours. A feature that is unique to the Terra Australis is that it is built like a transformer and you can create your very own watch online through our watch customisation tool on our website.
Which parts of the Bausele watches reflects Australian culture?
Everything about Bausele is Australian. The aim with Bausele is to sell the best of Australia to the world. The design, the elements in the crown, the promotion, the production, our partners, the people we work with...even the way I dress every day, I try to wear and promote Australian products. We have a lot of beautiful things in Australia that are worth exporting and letting everybody know they exist.
Bausele PILOT AUTO - JAPAN MADE - STORMFRONT BLACK
How many different watches do you offer? Which one is the Bausele flagship watch?
We have 4 lines called:
The Noosa which is our entry-level - Unisex - fashion watch
The OceanMoon is our best selling watch and the flagship watch of Bausele. Again very Australian with a strong case and 2 interchangeable straps - leather for the office and rubber for the weekend at the beach. It indicated the tide and moon phase to stay connected to the elements that are all around us in Australia.
The Pilot Automatic is an automatic watch made of a stunning black or white matt ceramic.
The Terra Australis which is the jewel in the crown to show what Bausele is capable of producing.
How often does Bausele add a new watch to the collection? Which one is next?
We tend to introduce a new watch every year. This year we are launching in November the new version of our best selling model called the OceanMoon with a lot of small improvements as well as a world first in the use of a new material for one of the main component...stay tuned:)
Which materials and movement do you use on Bausele watches? How did you decide to the right material for each part?
Mainly Stainless Steel that we then coat in different colours but we also use matt ceramic and even a mix of Stainless Steel and ceramic. The main point is that the watch is made for Australia and the rough outdoor conditions. It needs to be good outside in the intense sun and in the ocean as well as during an intense walk in the bush.
Bausele Noosa Moonlight by @paul_juchima
What do you think about the importance of social media for the watch industry?
Social Media made it possible for smaller players like Bausele to exist. In the past, you needed millions in advertising budget to be in front of people, now with social media, the budget is far smaller. You can even start to build your following with close to no budget and grow from there. It is great the world is changing and we are lucky to be part of this changes.
Where can our readers buy Bausele watches?
They can find us online if they are overseas through bausele.com or at David Jones and selected retailers if they are in Australia. The Sydney Opera House watch is sold only through the 2 stores inside the Opera House and on their online at the address https://www.sydneyoperahouseshop.com/jewellery-accessories/watches
What is next for Bausele?
The idea with Bausele is to sell the best of Australia to the world. Now watches but might introduce some other products in the future...
Thank you Christophe for this enjoyable interview.