When we say that we invest in creative Founders and Founders of movements, what we really mean is people who have the potential to become leading voices in their industries. Amy Errett of Madison Reed, Jamie Siminoff of Ring and John Foley of Peloton are great examples. Another is Hodinkee Founder Ben Clymer, a former banker who decided to attend journalism school and start blogging about watches to satisfy his own obsession.
Hodinkee has since grown into the premier online destination for wristwatch enthusiasts, and today expands its ecommerce inventory to include a number of luxury watch brands.
Ben started Hodinkee in 2008 when he was only 25. From his beginning days of blogging about his favorite timepieces—which has always been in a geeky, peer-to-peer kind of way—Ben has slowly and gradually become a leading voice in the watch industry. More than that, he has built trust with his readers.
Now in his mid-thirties, Ben is a respected and fresh voice within a mature category. As the brand has grown, Ben has been able to offer his audience unique experiences. Hodinkee’s ecommerce platform, the HODINKEE Shop, launched five years ago. First, the shop’s inventory included peripheral accessories like handmade watchbands and books for watch enthusiasts. In 2016, the shop expanded its inventory to include vintage watches, all meticulously described, helping the online customer get comfortable with purchasing a watch sight unseen—something that’s uncommon for many luxury items.
Because Ben and his team of writers and editors have such great reputations, Hodinkee is now trusted by the world’s most coveted watch brands, leading to a series of retail collaborations. We take this one step further today as Hodinkee announces that it has become an authorized dealer for eight premium watch brands, including Grand Seiko, Longines, NOMOS, Glashütte, Oris, TAG Heuer, Vacheron Constantin and Zenith.
When you think about it, watches are one of the last large retail categories to shift from offline to online commerce. With world-class editorial, video, an active online community and an app that lets you see the actual size of a watch next to your wrist, Hodinkee gives watch enthusiasts a new way to learn about and buy what they love. We see Ben as the epitome of a missionary Founder in how he has reimagined an industry and built a robust digital offering for a category that, until recently, lived primarily offline.
I think this brand magic is a direct result of how Ben has slowly and thoughtfully built Hodinkee, taking his time and ensuring quality every step of the way like a seasoned horologist. He didn’t try to commercialize the site before it was time to. He made sure not to cheapen the brand, and he hired people who he knew would follow suit.
Congratulations on your big news today, Ben and team. We love your creativity and how you have invited the world to love watches as much as you do.