Undone, the customizable watch brand that's based in Hong Kong, is focusing on the U.S.
Michael Young built a reputation in the watch industry by collecting vintage watches, supplying companies such as Hublot and Omega with parts, and customizing Rolexes for highend brands. Because of the high price points on custom watches, which start at $20,000, Young thought there was space in the market for an affordable, wellmade custom watch option and introduced Undone in 2014.
His relationships with suppliers and knowledge of the supply chain has allowed him to offer models that retail from $265 to $430. Having his own dial printers and in-house watchmakers has also helped. Customers are able to purchase a customizable watch from Undone's e-commerce site to select their own dial, case, hands, strap and engraving on the back. Undone has also recently partnered with Peanuts on a capsule collection that offers more characters than usual because of its customization abilities.
“A lot of watch brands are starting to launch characters on special editions, but there is no flexibility,” Young said. “We think consumers should have a choice and be able to create something they love.”
Having a physical presence in Asia has helped build up brand awareness and Undone is sold at retailers including Barneys Japan and Takashimaya Japan. But after seeing that almost half of the orders come from the U.S., the company felt it made sense to concentrate on that market.
Young said in the U.S., Undone will focus on musicians and entertainers along with the niche watch communities and hope to retail with U.S. stores and build pop-up activations. Young said the biggest challenge is selling the concept of personalization at such an affordable price, but Nike ID has helped people better understand.
“Most people wear a silver watch with a black strap and if you give them an array of dials and straps to choose from, it's an adjustment,” Young said. “The education phase had to happen and we are lucky that some similar competitors are creating this customized market.”
Young is hoping that Undone will become a platform for creators in all communities.
“There are specific communities that only want their own versions for their own fans and we want to be very design agnostic,” Young said. “We are open to all the creators of the world and we look at ourselves as a democratic brand.”— A.H.