I am very sure that Barry a.k.a Bearwrist is no stranger to the IG watch community, a collector, a friend of mine as well as the marketing guy for UNDONE watches. And as many of you are already aware, Barry was also one of our earliest guests here on wristalk, that episode aired a year ago and if you actually follow Barry on IG, you will definitely notice the change in direction in relation to his collection as well as his tastes over the past year.
Also I am very certain that you would have already noticed the rapid growth of UNDONE watches – definitely something we should ask Barry about in this episode, and naturally those 2 topics are precisely what we are going to talk about today.
So #watchfam, this is episode 40 of #wristalk and I hope y’all enjoy this episode – a quick follow up to Barry’s collection and his collecting philosophy!
So Barry! What’s gone and what’s here to stay?
A lot has changed in my collection indeed lately. Getting deeper into the watch industry through @undonewatches and @classicwatchrepair, I understood the needs and wants on the market much more. The thrill for hunting a good deal for vintage watches has started to grow on me. I have cleared out some of my older purchases, including my first automatic GMT – a Raymond Weil Nabucco GMT first generation, the Sevenfriday M2-2 and my Sevenfriday P2-2. I have acquired two vintage pieces – a rare Rolex transitional GMT Master I model, reference 16750 and a Heuer ‘Bundeswehr’ 3H 1550SG. And Last but not least, I have acquired an original Omega Speedster Snoopy Dial directly from an Omega dealer.
Do tell us a little bit about the rationale behind your decisions.
First and foremost, the overall look of the watch must appeal to me. It must be something that I feel comfortable to wear. Instead of being a piece that just sits in my watch box. Followed by the brand, the way the watch was made and the story behind it. My Rolex GMT Master I, for instance, is packaged with a great context due to the fact that it is a transitional model that was only in production for 3 years. Aesthetically, the dial looks identical to a reference 1675 since the luminous markers were still applied without metal rivets around the indices.
However, the 16750 differs from the 1675 because it is running a Rolex cal. 3035 upgraded movement. Therefore, it has the ‘old looks’ with a better ‘engine’. The story makes it a collectible piece since it is the last batch of dials with applied luminous markers before being replaced by metal indices in later models.
How has your collecting philosophy changed since the last wristalk?
I now enjoy getting a watch that will appreciate in value over time. In other words, I have officially ventured into making investment-driven purchases.
What’s your favourite piece out of all your recent acquisitions?
Hmm.. Well my holy grail is still the Rolex Skydweller Pink Gold, so..
So what’s next on the list?
Nothing much on my list at the moment, but perhaps a Rolex Explorer I 1016 that comes with a gilt dial?
Was there anything interesting that occurred during your hunt for your latest acquisitions?
I learnt that it takes much longer than i thought to hunt for a good deal.
Do tell us a little bit about UNDONE watches.
Essentially, it is a passion-driven business. Although we are currently offering the flagship – Aqua Diver – only, our vision is to create different base watch types and let customers to decide on parts and colours that they desire for their watch. UNDONE basically and literally means undoing the traditional watch supply chain back to the point that the watch’s unassembled form. We want to give that option back to our customers so they can get exactly what they want by interacting with our online watch customizer. (Try it here!)
So what’s new with UNDONE as of late?
It is booming! The team originally consist of myself and our designer – Angus a.k.a @wballball, led by our boss Michael Young – the Rolex bracelet magician if you google him, cool stories. Now it has expanded to a team of 9. We are picking up followers and getting genuine bloggers across interest groups to support and shelter our brand. On behalf of Undone, I would like to take this chance to thank you for all your support, especially the #watchfam crowd.
Anyway, we will be launching our next offering – The Undone Urban, in late 2016 / early 2017. It will be a vintage inspired customizable dress watch with a bespoke case that carries a quartz chronograph movement. It will be something very cool and fun to play with.
Do tell us about your experience moving into a full time position with UNDONE.
I was in the in the advertising and media industry for 8 months before joining UNDONE. Being in my second job after graduation, I can totally feel that running a start-up requires much more stamina and determination than I thought. Every watch is different and we keep all our parts and watch building process in-house. We have made mistakes, we have disappointed a few customers. But despite all of that, I am still very glad that we have received a lot of shout outs and compliments too!
Launching the brand was the easy part but growing the brand and maintaining momentum is a totally different story! Started out riding along the #watchfam community, we have also slowly reached out to different interest groups! We realised that the Aqua is really a product for ‘collectors’ or ‘watch enthusiasts’ because some watch-related knowledge is required to really understand our offering of a totally customizable diver’s watch with premium component choices.
From a business perspective, I understood the importance of creating social media content around your product’s best competitive advantage, while growing and sustaining your pool of audience and potential consumers who understand completely of what you are trying to offer. Last but not least, product development, especially watches, can be a nightmare! I understand because Undone kept all inventory in house. You gotta deal with more than 7 factories at the same time. You have your leather factory, hands factory, CNC factory for cases, glass factory, dial factory, packaging factory…… the list goes on!
Where do you see UNDONE in the next 5 years?
I can’t even see it in 5 months brother! Honestly, UNDONE is so consuming that I am severely lacking in headspace..