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Friday, 20 October 2017 10:58

Flinders' ceramic material helps Australian watch maker stay local

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A new ceramic material designed and created by scientists at Flinders University has been used by the specialist Australian watch company Bausele to manufacture its watches.

The university has signed a contract with Bausele to give the company the right to use the new material, which has been called Bauselite, and make components using it.

Bauselite came about as a result of three years of research and development by the Flinders scientists. It will be manufactured and supplied by Australian Advanced Manufacturing, a joint venture.

Componentry made from the material has been utilised in Bausele’s new luxury watch release, called Terra Australis, which was launched recently.

The prototype of this watch has enjoyed international exposure, with Australian actor Dominic Purcell’s character Lincoln Burrows wearing it during the latest season of the international hit TV series Prison Break.

watch wrist

The prototype of the Terra Australis watch.

The watch is marked by a five-pronged diamond clasp that secures the face and is topped by a distinctive black crown, made of Bauselite. This crown contains the design feature of grains of red earth from the Kimberley region – ensuring the watch contains part of Australia within it.

“The new material and method of production solved a number of issues specific to using ceramics in watches,” said Dr Jonathan Campbell of the Flinders University Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology.

“It’s a significant accomplishment that watch components are being produced here, signalling a major step forward and a powerful statement about Flinders’ delivery of elite engineering.”

Flinders University’s Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology was asked in 2014 by Bausele chief executive Christophe Hoppe to provide the same expertise as that used by Swiss watchmakers for his own Australian wristwatches.

flinders team

The Flinders University team behind Bauselite, with Christophe Hoppe (centre).

Initial research and development was done by NanoConnect, run by the Flinders University Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology.

Manufacturing and supply of components will be done by Australian Advanced Manufacturing on Flinders University campuses at Bedford Park and Tonsley.

In future, a wider selection of high-quality watch parts may be manufactured as well.

The exposure in Prison Break has resulted in strong pre-orders, with Bausele offering each customer bespoke selections from 850 possible combinations of colour and styling elements.

“The fact we have secured control of our own production in partnership with Flinders University is a great achievement,” said Hoppe.

“I was always keen to have my products manufactured in Australia, but I initially thought it was impossible. Flinders proved otherwise and has presented me with an amazing opportunity. I am so proud to be manufacturing in Australia at a time when many companies outsource all of their manufacturing overseas.”

Photos: courtesy Flinders University


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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