Introducing Bausele’s New Automatic
Bausele is a brand we’ve not heard from since we took a look at their Surf Watch(parts 1 and 2) back in early 2012. Well, the Australian brand hasn’t fallen off of the edge of the earth. To the contrary, they’ve been plugging along, and now they’re back with their first automatic model.
Before I get into the movements (yes, there are two to choose from), I want to cover the design of the watch. Interestingly, they’ve positioned the 12 o’clock marker where we’d normally expect the 2 to appear. Why is that? Simply put, it’s to make it easier to read the time without having to move your wrist much (or at all).
Go ahead – take a moment and look at the watch on your wrist. If the 12 was moved to the 2, how much (or little, actually) would you need to move your wrist to read the time? I’m guessing not very much if your arm is mostly straight out in front of you – as it would be if you were, say, driving a car or flying a plane (which is where the idea comes from).
The 12 marker is a sort of “cue ball” style, which we also have showing up at 3 and 9; the 6 position is taken up by the Bausele logo. In-between those, you’ve got lumed indices for the hours, as well as a minute track in a contrasting color. To the inside of that, you’ll notice another ring that has holes at each of the hour positions.
This is actually where the date wheel resides. The only spot you can actually read the date is at the 3 o’clock position, but you can see glimpses of the datewheel around the dial. While I can applaud the symmetry of the design, and the unique idea, it’s one I’m not totally a fan of. I guess when it comes to the date wheel, I only want to see the current date, and nothing else. So, for me, this isn’t my most favorite design feature.
Smack in the middle of the dial you’ve actually got, well, no dial. The X crossing the center is representative of metal latticework in the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Aside from that, you’re seeing the movement. While open-faced dials can be used to show of active parts of a movement (or movement finishing), we unfortunately have neither here. Just some fasteners and jewels (at least with the Miyota. While I don’t have any pictures, I’m told the Soprod cuts a much nicer figure).
When it comes to openings on a dial, I want them to do something for the watch. If you can show me kinetic parts of the movement at work, then I’m a fan. Show off some interesting finishing that adds some detail and texture to the dial? Then I’m a fan. Here, we’ve got a fairly boring look at the movement, and one I think would be better served covered up. Yes, it adds another layer and color to the dial (which is a plus), but I think a more traditional approach would have served the watch better (again, the Soprod is supposed to create a much nicer look).
Now, with those movements, you’ll actually have your choice of two, which is a rarity for a brand adding their first automatic model. Not surprisingly, the first movement you’ll be able to select is a Miyota 9015 – a popular choice for a reliable, affordable automatic. For those wanted to have an upgrade, they’ll also have a Soprod A10 in the mix. There will be 100 of the Miyota made, and 160 of the Soprod-exquipped models.
As I mentioned, that center X on top of the movement calls to mind an architectural feature of Australia. Bausele likes to include these sorts of references, and it’s a great way to distinguish themselves from other makes in other countries. They have a second reference in the second hand, which is suppose to call to mind the Sydney Tower.
We also have (as we saw in prior models) a crown that contains a little bit of the earth from Australia. While prior models had a bulkier crown to accommodate this addition, this new model has a smoother look to it. It’s still taller than a regular crown would be, but it tapers some. Combined with it’s offset position, this should make for a more comfortable fit.
The case on the watch is 44mm, and has a ceramic finish on it, which should make for a nice feel. Given that the watches are loosely pilot-inspired, it’s not too shocking to learn that WR is limited to a 50m rating. So, don’t go swimming with the thing (which, with a leather strap, I doubt you would) and you’ll be fine.
The new Automatic is available in four different color combinations, as well as the aforementioned movement choices (so, I suppose that would make for eight different combinations). If you opt for the Miyota 9015 movement, you’ll need to bring $888 to the table; going for the Soprod raises the price to $1,488.
While neither of these prices are wildly out of line for the movement (and ceramic finish of the case), they are (or at least, seem to me to be) on the the upper end of the pricing we’d expect to see for the watch. That said, it is a rather unique style, and you will end up carrying a literal piece of Australia with you. Yes, there are some design quirks that hopefully a future iteration will address. For now, though, it’s an interesting first automatic outing for Bausele. bausele.com
UPDATE: We’ve been in contact with Bausele, discussing some of the points I’ve raised, as well as addressing some of the concerns from both sides. Ultimately, we’re anticipating having a sample in for review in the Spring, so we’ll be able to give you a more informed opinion once we’ve been able to spend some time with the watch.