The AF100 Unboxing Experience

How we designed packaging ready for take off

The AF100 Unboxing Experience

How we designed packaging ready for take off

For those of you who weren’t aware, the Royal Australian Air Force marked 100 years of service on March 31st of 2021. To commemorate this event, Sydney based-watch brand Bausele was hand selected from a list of globally recognised brands to create the official watch to mark this centenary. 

Every great watch needs a breathtaking custom packaging design to call home. That is, when it’s not on some lucky wrist. So, with two designs and only 500 of each limited edition available, these watches were no exception. Let us give you a behind the scenes look at just how we do it in our team. After all, great custom packaging design doesn't just fall out of the sky. 

The two limited edition watches called for two different, unique and customised packaging experiences. Each had to embody and portray the stories behind their respective watch design. We wanted to wow recipients and transport them to a moment in time. 

Each is a physical representation of the centenary event tagline: then. now. always. The two watches are named the Airfield — representing the then — and the Aviator — representing the now. These are timepieces that carry the past into the future.

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The Airfield custom packaging experience

The Airfield watch itself was modeled on the field watch issued to all RAAF soldiers during the Vietnam War. Bausele incorporated historical factors into the watch through colours and textures. Our team then extended these throughout the custom packaging experience.

The inspiration behind the watch’s design came from the story of the Caribou, the first active RAAF aircraft involved in the Vietnam War. The 35 Squadron Caribous were fondly known as Wallaby Airlines, and carried passengers, mail, ammunition, fuel and a wide variety of other supplies necessary to Australians in the field. This plane was a beacon of hope, making it the perfect inspiration for the Airfield watch and product packaging.  

We designed the custom packaging around the face of the watch, to look like a dial in an aircraft control panel. We utilised black card to absorb light and place emphasis on the watch itself. Additionally, those who open the box are transported to the time and place this watch represents, with vintage images of aircraft and other scenes from the Vietnam War enclosed. There is no mistaking what story this watch tells of the past. 

Our team knows sight isn’t the only factor that plays part in an unboxing experience. The feel and texture of a piece also helps tell a story, so our team did just that. We chose paper with a special texture, similar to that of canvas material, that was used for a variety of purposes in the Vietnam War, such as sacks and tents.

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The Aviator custom packaging experience 

The Aviator watch was modelled on the slick and quick Hornet (you will even find an authentic piece of the Hornet in the back of the watch, pretty cool hey). 

To remain consistent with the Airfield watch, the Aviator unboxing experience also called for the watch to sit in a hornet inspired control panel. However as the Aviator represents the now, we modernised the unboxing experience with  sleek stocks and more vibrant (fast) colours and images. 

We wanted the custom packaging to demonstrate the uniqueness of each watch whilst also highlighting their common ground. We wanted them to have a strong on-shelf presence together through a uniform appearance and size. However, they couldn’t be carbon copies of one another. We believed that their differences should be demonstrated.

The nitty gritty  

Everybody loves to hear the story behind the product packaging design process. Now, let’s get down to the part that not everybody talks about nearly as much as they should. The practicality and manufacturing of the designs. 

One thing we wanted from the start was to manufacture the packaging here in Australia. This sounds a lot simpler than it was, trust us. The particular product packaging design and budget restraints meant we needed to adapt a couple of techniques. We had to work closely with local printers and paper suppliers to make sure everything was perfect. 

You know what they say, if you want something done right, you’ve got to trust the experts (us)! We designed the construction of the box to include supporting elements, creating a sturdy package that protects its precious goods. We also conducted rigorous testing (shook them around a lot) to be sure they were transport ready.

Unlike some, we LOVE tests, so we didn’t stop there with the practical function either. No. We wanted to make sure the unboxing experience made sense too. That’s why you’ll find little pull tabs and semi circle cut-aways! We created an intuitive unboxing experience to ensure every customer goes on the exact journey we constructed. 

It also wasn’t easy creating one box for two different sized watches, the Aviator was thinner than the Airfield. It was crucial to our team that the boxes were the same size, not only to save our client the price tag of a second design, but to ensure the pieces, though individual, worked together. Production and assembly of the custom packaging was also streamlined through only having the one size to work with. We accomplished this through creating a false base in one of the boxes which we constructed using a lot of brain power, card and cups of coffee.

All of that and we haven’t even shared what we are most proud of. The entire package is glue free, (excluding the sleeve and outer wrap). Which is a big achievement that we gave ourselves a massive pat on the back for. 

Both watches hold such significance, so both deserved an unboxing experience like no other. We are proud to say we did them justice and we hope you agree. 

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You can read more about how we achieved a custom packaging experience ready for take off in our case study

Don’t hesitate to reach out and find out how we can create custom packaging for your business to make an impact then, now and always.

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