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Thread: Hodinkee nowadays - publisher or seller?

  1. #1

    Hodinkee nowadays - publisher or seller?

    I used to be a big fan of Hodinkee, as they produced some of the best quality reviews and videos on vintage watches (in a way made them cool especially to the younger generation). Some examples are 'Talking Watches', 'A week of the wrist', 'reference point' etc.

    I also liked many of their collaboration watches, especially some of the earlier ones such as the Heuer Skipper, the VC, and recently the Blancpain FF.

    However, as they've recently bought by LVMH (for 40 million), I can't help but feel that they are gradually becoming sellers rather than publishers. (there's only so much money in making youtube videos and selling magazines). (Biased) reviews of products on their shop such as the Massena Lab watches: make the rest of their articles somewhat less credible to me (who knows which one is paid for, maybe all).

    I still enjoy their occasional videos, but foresee a change in style soon as well.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!
    Last edited by tommyzzj; 23rd January 2021 at 10:31.

  2. #2
    Master Alansmithee's Avatar
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    It's just standard across the sector? Unless you are an independent millionaire you are beholden to brands giving you watches to review - if you provide too many bad reviews why are they going to continue to send you watches?

    It's a common problem in all sorts of consumer hobbies.

  3. #3
    Apprentice
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    I certainly have followed their website less and less over time since they started selling more and more new watches. They certainly have some informative reviews and videos.
    I personally don't feel comfortable with a watch review site being owned by a watch manufacturer. They risk turning into a watch marketing channel rather than a review site.

  4. #4
    Isn't it the investment arm of LVMH and they bought a stake not the whole thing as I understand. Doesn't alter the OPs points though. That said, car mags take ad revenue from car manufacturers, it's all a bit symbiotic whichever way you cut it. That the same faces are there on the editorial team means I'll stick with it, they still have plenty to offer in my view.

  5. #5
    Master Glen Goyne's Avatar
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    I stopped visiting their site ages ago. Might be my choice of articles but they seem to be positive about everything they review.


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  6. #6
    Theyíll need to extract as much value out of it as possible - so itís only likely not get worse, or better if your looking to buy their stuff.
    It's just a matter of time...

  7. #7
    Journeyman
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    Definitely more into selling than quality writing. Don't read much now.

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  8. #8
    Hodinkee were not bought by LVMH - LMVH Ventures are run independently and have a stake in the Hodinkee business. You see this a lot across sectors - larger companies having an Investment arm to find innovative "high-growth startups". It also help LVMH learn how to be more nimble. It may end up in them buying them, but Hodinkee is still far too risky a proposition to actually buy outright.

    Hodinkee's editorial and shop teams supposedly work indepedently. So the editorial team should in theory be operating without fear and of their own accord. And they're very careful with labelling when watches are available in-store or if the article is by the Shop team as part of advertorial content. If this is actually true entirely or there is a subtle cross-pollenating who knows. But Hodinkee are very aware about the need to have editorial independence and I'd argue the watch media in general are not that critical and very careful in how they write about criticism.

    However yes, Hodinkee will inevitably have to be more commercial - those growth and revenue targets need to be met to satisfy those VCs.....

  9. #9
    Going the archie luxury way?

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  10. #10
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    I tend to stumble upon their reviews more by accident than design. You see a watch on SC for example that interests and you start doing the usual google searches and an Hodinkee review is inverably close to the top of page one.

    They always present the specifications in a clear and logical manner and the photos are usually superb, far better than manufacturers glossy promo shots. I'm not so fussed on the opinions of the writer, more a case of extracting the key details and making my own conclusions. Being told that a 42mm case for example is either too big or too small or not in the sweet spot of the writer is of little interest or relevance to me to be honest.

    Equally, I don't tend to settle for one review, I will usually check out several and select a YouTube video or two to watch to see the watch in real life as it were, quite often on mute as most reviewers are completely bonkers.

    I hope they carry on with their reviews and people like me can extract what we want from them without getting into the politics of what is going on behind the scenes.

  11. #11
    Craftsman Idontgram's Avatar
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    Offering reviews on the watches they sell definitely brings their credibility into question but Iíve never seen much to that effect personally.

    Many publications openly state that they will only review things they are drawn to so the vast majority of opinions are positive due to the inherent bias of selecting what they review.

    Having said all that, I find the personality-focused format and aspirational photographer/adventurer lifestyle stuff total guff.

  12. #12
    Journeyman
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    I agree, the pop ups have changed in the last weeks/months from "That's an interesting viewpoint on a watch" to "You want to buy from our website ..."

  13. #13
    Journeyman
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    Yeah they literally never say anything negative about any of the watches they review, I'll go there to see pics but wait for forum feedback for real opinions

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by faken View Post
    Yeah they literally never say anything negative about any of the watches they review, I'll go there to see pics but wait for forum feedback for real opinions
    Quote Originally Posted by Idontgram View Post
    Offering reviews on the watches they sell definitely brings their credibility into question but I’ve never seen much to that effect personally.

    Many publications openly state that they will only review things they are drawn to so the vast majority of opinions are positive due to the inherent bias of selecting what they review.

    Having said all that, I find the personality-focused format and aspirational photographer/adventurer lifestyle stuff total guff.
    For a cool $95k USD, you can now be an owner of a 5 day power reserve tourbillon from Hublot (I wonder which other brand inspired the design of this watch...)

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    Last edited by tommyzzj; 25th January 2021 at 13:31.

  15. #15
    Journeyman levkov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyzzj View Post
    I used to be a big fan of Hodinkee, as they produced some of the best quality reviews and videos on vintage watches (in a way made them cool especially to the younger generation). Some examples are 'Talking Watches', 'A week of the wrist', 'reference point' etc.

    I also liked many of their collaboration watches, especially some of the earlier ones such as the Heuer Skipper, the VC, and recently the Blancpain FF.

    However, as they've recently bought by LVMH (for 40 million), I can't help but feel that they are gradually becoming sellers rather than publishers. (there's only so much money in making youtube videos and selling magazines). (Biased) reviews of products on their shop such as the Massena Lab watches: make the rest of their articles somewhat less credible to me (who knows which one is paid for, maybe all).

    I still enjoy their occasional videos, but foresee a change in style soon as well.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!
    I agree, i used to love Hodinkee, i'd even risk to say they played a part (whether minor or major) getting me deeper into vintage watches. But they've now gone soooo commercial, i feel like they're only scratching the surface & write to the masses, where money is to be made... the only good thing I can think about them lately is their article (&video) on UG Polerouters.

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