Ben Clymer, CEO & Founder, Hodinkee
“I love vintage watches that come from original owners that have real stories.”
– Ben Clymer, Hodinkee CEO & Founder
If you’re a watch aficionado no doubt you are familiar with Hodinkee. Hodinkee is by far the most popular online resource for modern and vintage watch enthusiasts and last week I had the pleasure of interviewing CEO and founder Ben Clymer at Hodinkee Headquarters in New York City. Ben started Hodinkee (a play on “hodinky” the Czech word for watch) in 2008 as a modest Tumblr blog in his spare time. His watch reporting and auction coverage quickly gained a large audience. Now Hodinkee is a full-fledged online magazine that garners over 150,000 unique visitors daily. Beyond its in-depth reporting on all things horology, Hodinkee is also a successful online retailer; selling its popular leather watch straps, accessories, vintage timepieces, and a variety of modern watches from a select number of high-end brands. Hodinkee has also collaborated with such brands as MB&F, Ressence, Vacheron Constantin, Tag Heuer and Swatch to design a series of limited edition watches. They sell out in minutes if not seconds. If that weren’t all enough, Hodinkee just recently launched a beautifully designed print magazine.
Through all of Hodinkee's success, Ben’s attraction to vintage watches has never changed; beyond the aesthetics and craftsmanship, for him it’s all about the stories behind the watches.
“Vintage watches connect me on a real personal level to the original owners. And then the watch becomes secondary. The watch becomes a talisman for who they were as a person. And that’s where it becomes really interesting. That’s when watches go beyond just a physical thing.”
Ben’s emotional connection to watches can be traced back to the first nice watch he acquired.
“My grandfather was my hero. He had a cool gray dial Mark 40 Omega Speedmaster. I was sixteen. We were sitting at the kitchen table talking about the watch and he took it off his wrist and said “Take it. I want you to have this.” I was wearing that watch the day he passed away. I wore it to his funeral. I wore it the day I graduated from high school, the day I graduated college, the day I graduated from journalism school. Pretty much every major life moment I’ve been wearing that watch. My grandfather’s watch is the most meaningful thing I own. It’s everything.”