Sometimes collaborations arise in the most unlikely of situations. The Flinders University Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology is a high-tech research facility in Adelaide, South Australia.
Bausele is the first luxury watch brand whose emphasis is on the creation of timepieces inspired by and reflecting Australia with a part of Australia incorporated into every timepiece.
The two organisations were brought together by Anthony Francis of Flinders Partners and the ensuing collaboration has already made a splash in the luxury watch industry internationally.
The Flinders University - Bausele collaboration emerged from a brainstorming session between Bausele founder, Christophe Hoppe and Flinders University Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology staff.
Discussion focused on the challenges of the luxury watch industry, including the need for differentiating product features and the opportunities for nanotechnology to provide these attributes. Hoppe identified case design and manufacture as a fertile area for innovation and Centre Director, Professor David Lewis saw the possibilities for nanotechnology and nanomaterials to contribute to addressing these problems.
The project was brought to fruition through the auspices of the Flinders NanoConnect program, which is a joint initiative between the University and the State Government of South Australia, designed make cutting edge research available to small and medium enterprises who may not otherwise have access to such skills and facilities.
Professor Lewis, Dr Jon Campbell and Dr Andrew Blok at the Flinders University Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology examined the Bausele’s requirements of a watch case material and investigated a number of possible solutions.
Any watch case material needed to be strong and light and where possible, be produced by a process that limited or eliminated deformities during manufacture. Ceramic materials have the potential to meet these requirements, however, current manufacturing processes use a casting process that is more suitable for high volume manufacturing and often results in tiny defects which then form points of weakness that lead to failure.
Current manufacturing processes and materials led to significant waste as a large number of cases were unfit for purpose, meaning significant wastage of materials, money and time.
A comprehensive reassessment of Bausele’s requirements together with expert knowledge of the benefits and properties of nanomaterials saw Lewis and his team create Bauselite, a new lightweight ceramic material that is manufactured by a low volume, non-casting process that means fewer defects and a very strong, very light product.
Bauselite made its luxury watch debut in Bausele’s Terra Australis range. Featured at Baselworld, the world’s largest and most prestigious luxury watch and jewellery expo, Bauselite and Terra Australis made quite an impact. Professor Lewis reports that a number of luxury watch brands have shown interest in Bauselite and how it might be incorporated into their own products.
Flinders University Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology and Bausele have taken the opportunity to extend and further strengthen their collaboration, creating a joint venture company, Australian Advanced Manufacturing to manufacture the nanomaterial and potentially other precision watch components for Bausele and other international luxury watch makers and continue to create and bring to market new nanomaterials in Australia and internationally.
For more information contact the Flinders University Centre for Nanoscale Science and Technology