Individuality is Everything

by Michael Young

Is there such a thing as a watch that’s uniquely yours? A truly one-of-a-kind piece that you can own? I couldn’t find it. Not until 2014.

On my 15th birthday, my dad gave me a Rolex Daytona. I was absolutely blown away by that watch, and that started my love for vintage watches. I’ve been a watch collector for more than 30 years now. I love it so much that I even started a business servicing and restoring vintage watches, and became a top supplier for premium Swiss watch labels.  

Throughout my journey, I discovered that people are no longer satisfied with off-the-shelf watches. People want to put their own spin on it. They want to be known as an individual with a story to tell. That was why I created UNDONE, because I saw this as an opportunity – a company that allows watch customisation at an entry price of just around US$400. The idea was to offer the best online customisation experience with a delivery time of only seven days. 

And it was a success.

Our first diver watch received worldwide press coverage including GQ, Esquire, Hypebeast, Tatler, and Stuff. The press loved it, and the people loved it. We were able to do it because of our integrated production process with modern day production techniques and expert in-house craftsmen. Most importantly, we offer the power to customize, to create their watches, and enjoy it at an affordable price.

Continuing that mission, we came up with our first line of vintage inspired watches with the aim to revitalise the watch market, which at that time had become increasingly uninspiring. Young watch companies were focusing on minimalism. But not us. We wanted vintage with a personality. And at the same time empower our customers with the freedom to customise. 

From there, we’ve helped thousands of customers create an individual look through their watches, and fully embraced the spirit of helping people portray who they are. To be honest, we are not creating individuality, we’re merely bringing out theirs. 

There are two ways to express individuality. First, it’s through customisation – choosing the watch parts and colours that best represent you. We also realise that collaboration pieces can help people tell their stories. Popeye, a childhood favourite cartoon; Batman, a hobbyist weekend solace; Texas Poker, a dad’s favourite pastime. That is why we collaborate with big names like DC Comics and Warner Bros., as well as independent local brands such as Simple Union. There is opportunity in every collaboration, big or small.

In this way, people no longer come to UNDONE to see the expected. They come to us to be impressed, and to have something to look forward to. 

Today, we’ve built over 60,000 watches in-house, and have helped thousands of people tell their stories. We gather experts from different countries and various backgrounds to run our design, marketing, programming, operations and customer service departments because we value diversity and the experience and ideas that come along with it. We have offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo, two of the world’s most international cities – so we can attract top talents.

We’ve created a successful direct-to-consumer business with a soul, and we’re extremely proud of it.


About the Author

Michael Young is the founder and CEO of UNDONE. An avid vintage watch collector and a passionate businessman, Michael has put UNDONE on the world map, delivering unique watches to customers from over 86 countries. Started as a small team in 2014, Michael is now leading an organisation of over 50 experts from diverse backgrounds and nationalities in Hong Kong.