If you’re laboring under the impression that HoDinkee is a journalistic enterprise, boy are you wrong. We’ve pointed this out error many times before, most recently when founder Ben Clymer sold a third of his company to investors, stepping aside for Mr. Pret a Porter to run the show from London. HoDinkee is a watch sales site with sales copy masquerading as independent editorial content. The fact that the newly capitalized company has purchased Crown & Caliber should remove any remaining doubts. According to Mr. Clymer . . .
There has been a category that we’ve long loved but weren’t sure how best to contribute – and that’s pre-owned watches . . .
This category has seen exponential growth in recent years, and pre-owned platforms such as Chrono24 and Watchbox for example already exist to service that category. We considered, as we are wont to do, should we go ahead and make our own version of a platform like that?
With that thought in mind, we looked around the room at each other and said, “No, we don’t need to create something from scratch because there’s already someone out there doing a pretty damn good job at it.” I’m referring to our friends over at Crown & Caliber.
According to HoDinkee’s founder, the new owners decided to buy Crown & Caliber because “no one handles pre-owned with the integrity and customer-first perspective that Crown & Caliber does.” Which will come as news to Chrono24 and Watchbox. And Shopworn, Authentic Watches and yes even eBay (with their Authenticity Guarantee).
What Does That Mean for You? Mr. Clymer asks himself. “You will be able to use your Crown & Caliber trade-in credit to make purchases in the HODINKEE Shop,” he answers. It also means HoDinkee’s current editorial policy – “there’s no such thing as a bad watch” – continues unabated. Full throttle in fact.
Over at Crown & Caliber, CEO and founder Hamilton Powell asks himself the same question. “Over time, we are excited to update you on ways we are focused on making the watch world better by investing in products and enhancing the customer experience to inspire today’s watch enthusiasts – from novice to seasoned collector.”
Mr. Powell’s statement tells us nothing – other than the fact that Mr. Clymer’s horological home has joined his friend in the realm of the gainfully unemployed. Crown & Caliber’s FAQ’s page gives us better insight: “HODINKEE and Crown & Caliber will be further integrated to create the watch industry’s leading content and commerce platform.”
In other words, bean counters (i.e., HoDinkee’s investors) are now in charge of both companies’ futures. Keep in mind that “integration” is another word for “synergy” which is another word for cost cutting (“operational optimization”) which is no friend to corporate culture. HoDinkee’s editorial ethos (such as it isn’t) will be completely subsumed by its reinforced sales focus.
As with any investor-lead business, growth is goal number one. With Crown & Caliber under wing and authorized dealer status for 33 brands, HoDinkee’s investors will be looking squeeze every last drop of money from the big Ho’s readers before flipping the resulting sales machine or offering an IPO.
Meanwhile, HoDinkee’s “hand picked” pre-owned selection reveals that the website separates itself from the herd by providing extensive descriptions on the watch for sale. No byline provided, strangely. The difference between HoDinkee editorial and the sales copy? None. What does that tell you?