The UNDONE Philosophy:
Time is of the essence as Written Mirror meets Michael Young…
Greetings and salutations! To the returning ‘Mirrorheads’ respect! For anyone new to Written Mirror it’s good to have you on board, I promise to be gentle.
It’s the beginning of a new month and so I have returned to end the long drought. Written Mirror meets Michael Young of UNDONE…
While I am not being paid to endorse the brand I am introducing you to, I believe it is prudent to mention that I have developed a rapport with UNDONE and indeed Michael Young. As such, any links to their website or mention of UNDONE products by me are my own PERSONAL opinions and are not paid endorsements. As UNDONE is a company I believe in, there will be affiliate links included should you decide to pay them a visit. So are we good? Cool!
Without further ado; Written Mirror presents…
The Undone Philosophy – Michael Young & Why Individuality Matters…
JM: Which feature on a watch do you value most and why Mr. Young?
MY: Please call me Michael! It has to be the dial design for me Jay. It occupies the most space on the watch and is ultimately the face of the time it represents.
JM: I absolutely agree Michael! Mind if I call you Mike? Just playing! It’s scary how we seem to have such similar tastes/ideas on watches and life. The dial has that special ability to stop you in your tracks and immediately pose questions within your mind. Where did that person get that watch? Who made it? How did they come up with that design/colour scheme etc. Is it rare/expensive? Is there a story behind it?
JM: Is there anything that rivals your passion for watchmaking precision Michael?
MY: I am into all vintage mechanical items such as old cameras and cash registers. It amuses me how things were made before electronics were common.
JM: Wow! I often try hard not to really think about how things were done without electronics. I couldn’t imagine myself having to walk the great distances my ancestors did and also the sheer volume of manual labour they had to endure without access to the type of technology I often take for granted. That and with my typing speed on an old typewriter would give me nightmares! I’d love to see your collection of vintage mechanical items sometime. It might be like taking a walk through a time warp. No pun intended…
JM: Michael if you could, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
MY: Buy more nice vintage sports model Rolexes with box and papers included! Best investment ever! I only regret not having done so when I had the opportunity to.
JM: My advice to my 21-year-old self would probably be to admit our tastes are specific and it’s okay if people think we’re weird because of it. Better to be 100% you and not accepted, than 50% something else and be accepted for being fake.
Actually I prefer your advice, buy loads of vintage Rolexes; actually that’s a little rich for my blood. Lots of vintage video games consoles/cartridges, yeah that!
JM: What is the single most scary business move you’ve ever made and why was it so daunting?
MY: That’s easy! It was to start UNDONE. I have been in the watch industry for a long time and have seen many brands quickly come and go. To start one myself was not really top of my ‘to do list’. Then a metaphorical lightning bolt hit me and I came upon the idea of a new digitally native customizable watch brand business model.
JM: Thank you for sharing that with us! Essentially UNDONE is about giving people the opportunity to make the watches they care about in as much detail as possible. Not because you’ve agreed to this interview, but I think I owe it to you to say I am unbelievably impressed by your brand/business and your company mantra, ‘Individuality Matters’.
You will continue to grow and you will continue to make absolutely stunning timepieces. Maybe some 21 year old out there reading this will start collecting bespoke UNDONE pieces in anticipation of their appreciation in the years to come…
Also I wanted to add that I definitely relate to starting something you didn’t necessarily envision getting into personally on as intimate a level as you have. Written Mirror is indelibly linked to my passion but it wasn’t something that was planned in detail. I found the formula (I haven’t; still working on it) as I went along.
JM: What is the UNDONE philosophy?
MY: The definition of luxury in modern society is twisted. People generally associate it with spending power. I disagree! All top designer labels were once small, boutique in size. They all start with selling tailor-made bags and cases in small quantities, selling to the elites. That’s where luxury lies, it is all about things being tailor-made, customized to their customers preference. A very important point of luxury is the power and freedom to have a product made your way.
JM: That is another resonant point for me. I often have conversations with people where they don’t seem to understand why a newer business might need to charge more initially for certain things or how they should be able to identify why very quickly. Often these businesses have a much more personalised approach and are willing to go the extra mile to keep their customers satisfied.
Tell Us How You Really Feel Jay
This and the mentally behind being willing to pay even MORE for a brand that does not care about them or accept any input from them on anything drives me mad.
I’d rather pay for an UNDONE piece for instance, which I can have real input on how it’s made (Materials, finish, movement, engraving and bands etc.) instead of any other high end watch in the same price bracket or even slightly cheaper, over which I have zero creative control.
It means more to me to have something I know is made by someone/company/brand who cares than to continue fuelling a machine that does nothing for me.
We are definitely in agreement on people having more power and freedom where it comes to socio-economic influence than they often realise. That and spending more isn’t always a guarantee of quality. However, if you need to spend a bit more to support a face or cause that you identify with, then it is always worth it.
As an example I have my formal shoes (Brogues, Chelsea boots, loafers etc.) handmade. It isn’t cheap but it also isn’t as expensive as it sounds. The person who made my shoes will sign the certificate and I know that my money went to keeping a very worthy skill alive and well. Sure you can buy fully automated factory line products for cheaper, but they don’t last as long and that doesn’t keep those skills in demand. What type of world would we live in without artisans? If you don’t invest in these professionals/businesses and brands that care about doing things right and inspiring innovation you will see where we all end up…
JM: Okay, maybe I should lighten a tone a little. I let off quite a bit of steam just now. Back to you Michael, if wearing an UNDONE piece could grant you superpowers what would they be?
MY: Easy, the ability to read one’s mind…
JM: You’re wearing one right now. Let’s give it a go! What am I thinking?
MY: That you would like to see what UNDONE could create for you!
JM: OMG! That was slick I can’t lie!
MY: Happy 6th birthday Written Mirror (July 4th) and my very best wishes to you. I too hope that Written Mirror goes from strength to strength. Also hoping lots of 21 year olds should start collecting your first edition books and anything else you wish to try your hand at.
What are you waiting for? Open it…
JM: I honestly have no words for once! Neat leather case! Lets slide this open and see what’s inside. You guys are real artisans! It really feels heavier than it looks, very nice weight. There is an icon to represent Writing, Books and even an old school camera for Film. Wow, you guys don’t play games! I shall cherish this watch for eternity.
My word this leather band is impressive! The type of leather you need to gradually break in. I am a genuine leather lover so I know from the look and feel that this is the bees knees…
Stop it; there’s an inscription on the back. You remembered the story I told you about my Grandfather and my first Rolex. Wait a second, there’s a beautiful little gem to boot. This is without a doubt the very best watch I have ever had the pleasure of wearing. I am honoured to receive this beautiful gift.
I am so excited about this watch that I am going to need a seperate article where I explain just how it feels and works. There aren’t a lot of things that can stop me mid flow and really make me want to retreat to gather myself verbally. This is most certainly one of them. Michael it’s been a pleasure and I can’t wait to really show my readers just how much UNDONE is relevant and necessary both conceptually and in terms of time pieces. My thanks to your team and of course to Crystal who made sure I received my surprise in time for Written Mirror’s 6th Anniversary. Absolutely amazing!
Back To You ‘Mirrorheads’
I will be writing a series of articles going through the UNDONE catalogue in detail. Every design will be scrutinised and every feature explained. If you can’t wait for that, then here is the link you need to check them out for yourselves. Click here on the UNDONE. Here is a discount code for 10% off use ‘UNWRITTEN10’ at checkout.
In case you’re wondering what this months theme is going to be, there are two: Admiration/Acknowledgement and Milestones. Written Mirror has turned 6 and I am going to be taking you through what it has been like. On the Admiration/Acknowledgement side of things I will be bringing you as much of the things/companies/people I admire and acknowledge for the entire month. Look out for more updates. As always follow @writtenmirror on Instagram and Twitter. Until next time!