Look out Switzerland, Germany, and Japan, because the top Australian watch brands have arrived and they’re packing some serious heat. One might say it’s all part of a recent wave of Australian-made products that among other things encapsulate our beloved continent’s ongoing love affair with form and function. Accordingly, the top Australian watches go as big on durability as they do fashionability. Like a true Aussie with the world at his fingertips, these timepieces are ready for any type of action in any terrain. Meanwhile, the industry is definitely taking notice and the words “Made in Australia” have boldly entered the world stage. Read on for a list of the Top Australian Watch Brands to see what’s popping up from down under.
Melbourne Watch Company
Acclaimed, elegant, precise, sturdy and stunning are just a few words to describe the timepieces offered by top Australian watch brand Melbourne Watch Company (aka MWC). It’s therefore no wonder that the brand has experienced meteoric success since it’s crowdfunded launch in 2013. Put simply, these are timepieces that native Aussies should be truly proud to own. Each one is named after a notable Melbourne locale and made with premium materials like high grade 316L stainless steel and scratch resistant crystal sapphire. Under the hood is trusty Japanese movement. Pair all that with brilliant designs and a completely reasonable price point and you’re looking at a formidable contender with worldwide appeal. Their Portsea chronometer is already the stuff of legend.
The name sounds Swiss in origin and that’s no mistake. Founded by Christophe Hoppe, top Aussie watch brand Bausele has no shame in admitting the Swiss are true masters of the form. Hence, Bausele represents “an Australian watch with a Swiss heart”. Specifically, that means coupling the finest in Swiss mechanics with a signature Australian aesthetic. Driving home the Aussie themes are a distinct hollow crown and the inclusion of a native element in every model. Whether that Aussie element be ancient Opal, beach sand, or Red Earth from the Outback, there’s simply no mistaking where this watch came from.
Legendary Sydney jeweller Ben Benda spent years meeting with horologists around the world and attending Baselworld before finally taking the plunge himself. He partnered with Bausele’s Christophe Hoppe and emerged with a limited edition masterpiece. Made in Switzerland and designed in Australia, the Bunda Watch employs essentially every tenant of a desirable timepiece. It’s a self-winding automatic luxury sport home run adorned with eye-catching jewels and alluring colour. A native Opal inset in the crown reminds you where this beauty was born and a choice of either black rubber or leather strap adds a soft touch of customisation.
Sydney watchmaker Nicholas Hacko might reside over the self-proclaimed ‘world’s smallest watch brand’, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be one of the best. His motives are slightly competitive in spirit and meant to address if not undermine preconceived notions of foreign superiority. And while Rebelde watches do use a Swiss-made mechanism along with presumably imported materials like surgical grade stainless steel, titanium or solid gold, they’re designed, assembled and adjusted in Australia with the engraving to prove it. Like the best Australian products, each timepiece is supremely durable and stylish. And should they need a tune up, Hacko is happy to abide. Such commitment to quality and service has earned Rebelde a broad and diligent following among collectors. Furthermore, a mere passing glimpse at Hacko’s watches will tell you they’re one of a kind.
One of Australia’s best watch brands is also one of its oldest. Family-owned ADINA mastered horology decades ago (in 1971 to be exact). Nowadays, they move 40,000 units a year, using parts from five different countries before hand finishing each piece in Brisbane.
Haigh & Hastings
Nothing says “Australia” more than a beautiful timepiece built for action. Duly up to the task was Aussie watch brand Haigh & Hastings. The Perth-based company experienced an early boost after the release of their stellar M2 Diver watch. With features like Japanese mechanical movement, a 316L stainless steel case, scratch-resistant crystal sapphire and a screw-down crown, the M2 was an instant classic. Other models were directly inspired by Australia’s respective arenas of aviation and racing. Meanwhile, a slew of interchangeable rubber dive straps fortified the bond between wearer and worn. Unfortunately, the company recently went into receivership. On the plus side, that makes their spectacular watches all the more rare and collectible.
JDRT stands for Joel Davis and Rhys Thomas, the company’s founders. And these two Bondi Beach mates want to put the power in your hands. To accomplish such a lofty goal, they provide the premium basics like Japanese Miyota movement, scratch-resistant sapphire glass and water resistance up to 100 metres. The rest is essentially up to you. That means going to their website and choosing from among five watch faces and up to eighteen bands. Naturally, they also have pre-made models ready to go for those not seeking such an enhanced customised experience. Most recently they’ve added The Bondi Rose Collection and The Black Collection to their portfolio. Both these unisex ranges include a date function (new territory for the brand), updated Citizen GM10 movement, and stunning modern colour.
Hailing from Canberra, top Aussie watch brand Erroyl bridges the gap between luxury and affordability, one remarkable piece at a time. Their automatic watches exude timeless elegance and all sorts of classic vibes while brilliant little details emerge whenever you look a little closer. Erroyl enjoys a strong following at home and abroad and with good reason. Popular sellers like the Heritage Collection offer refined minimalist beauty brimming with subtle complexity.
News flash: Aussies love activity and they love the water. That’s why a fantastic dive watch encapsulates the Aussie spirit so precisely. And Aegir makes downright fantastic dive watches. The brand itself comes to us from Todd Caldwell, who began plunging the ocean depths as a means of escape from his grind in the oil and gas industry. It was down here below the water’s surface that he conceived the CD-1, a function-forward timepiece of exceptional prowess. What Todd didn’t realize at the time was that he’d struck niche gold. The CD-1–with its 701M water resistance, versatile leather straps, painstaking accuracy and truly formidable design–was an instant triumph. It led to the creation of CD-2 and allowed Todd to pursue horology full time. Nowadays, the brand is still producing benchmark diver’s watches to worldwide acclaim. Aegir has definitely done Australia proud!
With designs inspired by luxury vehicles, modern architecture and classic Swiss watchmaking alike, top Aussie watch brand Creux Automatiq is the epitome of street style. The company was financed by Dane Rumble, who’s background in everything from music to jewellery logically extends itself to the world of horology. Models like The Ghost, which pairs a skeletonised date wheel with traditional high-end materials and a bold case aesthetic, allows the watch’s inner workings to shine as art while turning your wrist into moving eye candy.
Bow & Stern
Aussie watchmakers Bow & Stern are all about celebrating Australia’s favourite pastime: hanging out by the ocean. Their timepieces are reflective of the laidback feel and focus on practicality that comes with a life spend on, or by, water. Hand assembled, and highly customisable thanks to the interchangeable straps, Bow & Stern’s watches are a high-quality option for those wanting a piece of Australian horology that won’t look too overboard, or break the bank.