Amer­ica Bound

WWD Digital Daily - - Fashion Scoops -

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.

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