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Michael Young

Michael Young

British industrial designer Michael Young set up his studio in 1993 – a year after he graduated from Kingston University – and rapidly became one of the UK’s most sought-after designers, working on projects spanning interiors, furniture and product design, and counting Cappellini, Magis and the Pompidou among his clients. In 2004, Young moved to Hong Kong – following stints working in Iceland, Brussels and Taipei – to be closer to the mass-production tools and processes that inspire his work. It is here that Young was invited by a factory owner to design his first watch. Young set himself the challenge to make a watch as simply and economically as possible. The resulting PXR-5, initially conceived for the designer’s own use, comprised a canvas strap and a basic digital face which enabled only the most basic operating functions. In 2004, Young took the product to Milan Furniture Fair intending to sell a batch to a wholesaler or retailer, but when he sold a few directly to fair-goers the word spread: "The queues were blocking the corridors," the designer recalled in an interview with Dezeen. "We took 500 watches and we sold them all." Young’s success inspired a number of designers to emulate, some even working with the same factory, batch-producing watches and selling them directly to consumers. In so doing, these designers helped to build a new market in affordable, designer watches. Young continued to sell the watch at design festivals and in pop-up shops. It was also one of the first products sold by Dezeen Watch Store when the shop launched in 2010. The PXR-5 ceased production shortly after when Young’s studio became too busy to manage the retailing, but was re-launched in 2014 due to popular demand.