How Hodinkee turned a blog about watches into a $100m powerhouse

HODINKEE just raised $40m from The Chernin Group, Tom Brady and John Mayer to expand its watch empire.

December 4, 2020

During the financial crisis of 2008, a banker by the name of Benjamin Clymer took a severance package from his employer and went to study at the Columbia School of Journalism.

While there, he started a watch blog.

Looking to take the piss out of the pretentious watch industry, Clymer ran the word “wristwatch” through Google Translate in an effort to find a whimsical name.

It spat out the Czech/Slovak word “hodinky” and Clymer named his nascent media venture HODINKEE.

Now, that blog is a $100m watch media + commerce empire

Per the WSJ Magazine, the company just raised a $40m funding round, led by the likes of The Chernin Group (which backs Barstool Sports), musician John Mayer, and Tom “I have more rings than fingers on my hand” Brady.

Clymer tells WSJ Magazine that HODINKEE — which had 1.3m site visitors in October — is on track for revenue of $25m this year.

The majority of sales comes from its ecommerce watch business that was launched in 2012.

Not just for celebrities

The son of 2 teachers, Clymer built the business from the angle of a hobbyist rather than a 0.1%-er.

He tells WSJ, “I don’t come from a luxury world at all” and believes HODINKEE’s “middle-class mindset” is key to its success.

As part of the investment, Clymer — who has been dubbed the “watch Whisperer” — will cede the CEO role but stay involved day-to-day.

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