Like selling ice to Eskimos or oil to the Middle East, Christophe Hoppe stands at the cusp of realizing an improbable dream – selling Australian-designed watches to Swiss.
The brand he conceived, Bausele, will become the first Australian company to display its timepieces at the world’s largest watch fair, Baselworld.
“You don’t just send an application and say ‘I wanna be there and I’m going to pay the cost of being there” Hoppe says of the invitation-only event.
The Swiss-born Sydney designer grew up in a small town just 10km from Basel, where the watch world will gather from March 19 to 25 to not only ogle the industry’s brightest new products, but also to transact tens of millions of dollars’ worth of stock orders.
He attended the Baselworld fair as a child, and later as an adult working for the giant Swatch Group and the Technomarine watch company. Those connections to the Swiss watch industry opened the door to Baselworld for his fledgling Bausele brand.
“And now I go back to my Swiss home with a watch I created in Australia. I never thought this would happen” he says.
It has been more than two years since Bausele launched with a single model and a unique Australian selling point – every model contains a small element of Australia within its hollow crown (the circular winding mechanism), such as beach sand, red dust or coal. The name Bausele was inspired by this detail, as a loose combination of the words “beyond Australian elements”.
Hoppe now produces 28 different watches in seven styles. At the heart of each watch is a Swiss movement and full construction in Switzerland, where the large majority of the world’s prestige watches are still made.
However, the cases for his new range-topping model, the Terra Australis, are created in Australia using a lightweight ceramic composition created specifically for Bausele.
What do you think about this Australian novelty? Do you appreciate this kind of watches?