There are a few major players in the niche of watch media and Ben Clymer’s Hodinkee is one of the biggest. The site, which features bold photos of classic and contemporary watches worth more than all of our cars combined alongside interviews, has merged with Kevin Rose’s Watchville, an aggregator that lets watch obsessives read the latest news. Rose, who will become CEO of Hodinkee, led a $3.6 million venture round with True Ventures and Google Ventures along with Evan Williams, Jason Fried, and John “Your Body Is A Wonderland” Mayer. The money will go towards product improvement, said Rose.
“This is a merger of two companies. We just decided to get together and at the same time pull together some investors and tell them ‘This is the plan,'” said Rose. “I got to know Ben over the last year. He’d been courted by a handful of people and I said ‘What do you think of us combining forces?'”
Hodinkee recently hired Jack Forster, a noted watch journalist, as managing editor and Rose will move to New York to lead the team at Hodinkee’s offices. There are no immediate changes to the site but Rose has a product timeline that he will share in the next few months. Rose, whose Watchville product employs four engineers, felt his team had the tech chops to bring Hodinkee into new markets with new features.
“Long term our play is certainly a lot deeper than content,” he said.
Clymer has run Hodinkee for seven years and slowly became a leading voice in the watch industry. His site features large, bold photos of some of the most beautiful watches in the world and is visited by hobbyists and industry insiders. The site is best known for its in-depth interviews with major players in the watch collecting community – including John Mayer – along with a focus on classic timepieces. Watch blogs are unsurprisingly popular, having taken over from the watch forums launched in the early aughts and this is definitely an interesting direction.
Steve Hallock, a long-time watch industry observer, wrote “One thing is for certain, they are not playing around at this point. This is a big move. Kevin and this investor list would not be involved if they didn’t recognize the major opportunities here to become more than simply the best high end watch blog on the planet. Hodinkee just got on the rocket ride.”
Disclosure: I record a podcast with Hodinkee’s primary competitor, Ariel Adams of ABlogToWatch and I like everybody involved including John Mayer.