A Fashion-Focused Automatic Watch for the Ladies.
The second of three Thomas Earnshaw’s that will be found reviewed here on WYCA, the Lady Australis is a bedazzled 36mm automatic that features feminine accents that are eye-catching but not quite over the top. It’s an aesthetic hit (according to the ladies in my life that have seen it) thanks to the generous amount of jewels and the open heart display that stands prominently on the mother of pearl dial.
Its MSRP is around $600 which, in my opinion, is too much. However, you’ll find it for sale elsewhere on the web for closer to $300, and it’s much more palatable at that price. Even then, the Australis is far from a value superstar.
It’s been a long time since I last had a bejeweled ladies watch here on WYCA. The most recent is the Kenneth Cole KC2508, which I reviewed nearly five years ago. Thankfully, the Earnshaw is a better piece. Let’s take a closer look.
Disclosure: Thomas Earnshaw provided this Lady Australis at no-cost for the purposes of this review.
Thomas Earnshaw Lady Australis Technical Specifications
- MODEL NUMBER: ES-8029-03
- MSRP: Appx $600
- CASE DIAMETER: 42mm
- ALTERNATE MODELS: Quite a few
- MOVEMENT: Automatic, unknown origin
- COMPLICATIONS: None
- POWER RESERVE: Approximately 38 hours
- WATER RESISTANCE: 50m / 165ft
- CRYSTAL MATERIAL: Mineral
It Looks Brilliant on the Wrist
In addition to being a clever play on words, there’s no denying the brilliance the Lady Australis displays when on the wrist. Petite 36mm sizing allows it to appear prominent but not dominant, complementing your wardrobe. However, this is not an uncomplicated watch: the small seconds dial at 6 o’clock and the open heart display at 7 o’clock compete with the jeweled bezel and hour markers.
The result of all these crystals is a very sparkly watch indeed. Combined with the white satin leather strap and rose gold case and buckle, and you get the impression that the Lady Australis is a high-end timepiece. From an aesthetic point of view, it is. We’ll get to the movement in a bit.
The mother of pearl dial is an excellent choice for this watch. Plain white, or even something with more texture, would look out of place next to all this rose gold and mechanical goodness. The mother of pearl gives the dial enough texture to prevent the dial from appearing flat without detracting from the gold and bejeweled focal points.
As you can see from the photos, the crystals on this watch are everywhere… including the crown, which is affixed with a red cabochon faux-ruby. It completes the look and ties it all together.
I am pleased to say that the crystals themselves appear well-mounted- a close inspection of the case and hour markers doesn’t reveal any flaw in manufacturing that would set one of the gemstones free. Time will tell if this is the case (expect a follow-up to this review if that happens), but initial impressions are positive.
I quite like the lugs, which gracefully drape down and reduce the overall profile of the watch. It helps the Australis feel petite and classical. The rose gold, which is everywhere save for the caseback, amplifies this feeling. The Australis looks and feels sophisticated and dainty- the perfect accent piece for a smaller wrist.
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Powered by a Mystery Mechanical Movement
Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information with respect to the movement. I’d like to think that it’s a Miyota automatic, as Thomas Earnshaw has been using Japanese-made automatics lately (the Precisto I reviewed a few weeks back is powered by a Seiko NH35), but I suspect that it’s actually a no-name Chinese-made auto.
Bear in mind that this assumption is based on… nothing at all, really. A gut feeling.
Power reserve appears to be in the 38-hour range, and accuracy is -27 seconds per day according to the Toolwatch app. Both are entry-level specs and consistent with my thesis.
The movement itself is highly decorated, with the rotor engraved with the same pattern as the rest of the movement as well as ornate lines that span the length of it. I can’t say I’m a fan of the decoration, though I would have been had they decided to style the rotor as they did the rest of the movement.
I will say this: the exhibition caseback displays a variety of colors and textures. From the blued screws to the rich red of the rubies, there’s enough color to stand out against the monochromatic plating of the rest of the mechanics.
But that rotor though… yeesh.
Build, Strap, & Other Details
The Lady Australis looks great when viewed from arms length, but it doesn’t demonstrate the same polish when zoomed in up close. There are no glaring misses to build quality, though construction is not perfect. If you’re a perfectionist, I recommend you avoid a jewel-laden watch.
The genuine leather strap has a satin finish and a rose gold buckle, with “Earnshaw” engraved across it. It is very stylized, if not a little big. What baffles me though is the choice to use a standard buckle on a $600+ dress watch. Surely a deployant would have been more appropriate?
The strap, unfortunately, is not quick-release. A minor detail (and not really a problem), but quick-release springbars are becoming more popular and I prefer them to standard straps. It prevents the watch case from getting all chewed up during a strap change, and since the case itself is ion-plated in rose gold, the risk is even greater.
Still, the strap can be replaced easily enough and the strap alone is not a reason to skip this watch.
Unfortunately, I found several imperfections in the Australis along the bejeweled bezel. These imperfections are 100% cosmetic and won’t cause the gemstones to fall out, but they are visible to the naked eye once you notice them.
The metal used to keep the gems in place appears to have spilled over beyond where they should be. The visual impact is very slight, but once I saw it, I kept seeing more of it. There’s at least four of these imperfections on the Australis that are visible to the naked eye.
While these issues may be cosmetic, they are very disappointing to find on a watch with a $600 MSRP; the same is true of a watch you’d buy for $300.
About the Brand: Thomas Earnshaw
Thomas Earnshaw, the watch brand, should not be confused with Thomas Earnshaw, the English watchmaker. While they share the same name, they are not the same entity.
The modern incarnation of Thomas Earnshaw is an example of a popular trend: buy the rights to a famous figure in horology’s name and apply them to a modern watch brand. I have no opinion on whether or not this is a good thing, but it is something worth noting.
Thomas Earnshaw the brand is a member of the Dartmouth Brands family, a UK-based conglomerate that empowers each of its sub-brands to grow into a specific theme or niche. Avi-8 is aviation focused, James McCabe is all about motorcycles, and Earnshaw is very classic/vintage and dressy.
They also offer good service for their products. In the case of Thomas Earnshaw, you have a 28-day return policy if you buy directly from their website and their watches come with a 2-year warranty.
A Good Looking Watch, Yes, But Not Without Faults
It’s hard to enthusiastically recommend the Lady Australis. Cosmetic issues aside, there’s also the problem of the price. $600 is an outlandish MSRP for this watch considering the no-name movement and mineral crystal. As good looking as it may be, such an MSRP is way outside the realm of what’s reasonable.
Even $325, which is what I’ve found it for on several third-party watch sites, is steep considering the build quality surrounding the details. If you can find it for $200 – $250, then sure- go for it. That price is more reasonable and in-keeping of “fair market value” for a watch such as this.
Admittedly, the cosmetic problems I found are minor and are unlikely to be something you’d notice (I didn’t until I reviewed the watch under magnification), but they’re there nonetheless and I have to consider that in assessing my score for this watch.
The Lady Australis is stylish and looks excellent on the wrist, but it’s too expensive to recommend at or even close to its MSRP. Grab it on a deal 🙂
- Thomas Earnshaw Lady Australis Technical Specifications
- It Looks Brilliant on the Wrist
- Powered by a Mystery Mechanical Movement
- Build, Strap, & Other Details
- About the Brand: Thomas Earnshaw
- A Good Looking Watch, Yes, But Not Without Faults
- High-Resolution Photos