Hodinkee, an online watch retailer and news site backed by Bernard Arnault’s LVMH Luxury Ventures, is cutting almost 20 percent of its staff as prices for pre-owned timepieces slump.
The company has eliminated about two dozen positions, according to people familiar with the matter.
Hodinkee, which also counts musician John Mayer and Superbowl winning quarterback Tom Brady as investors, acquired watch dealer Crown & Caliber in 2021 during a frenzied surge in prices for used luxury timepieces. The loss-making business has weighed on Hodinkee, which was profitable before the deal, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Hodinkee confirmed it’s reducing staff in operations, technology and photography as part of the integration of Crown & Caliber, without confirming numbers.
“We have restructured areas of the business that were either duplicative, redundant or inefficient,” chief executive officer Jeffery Fowler said by email. Hodinkee will continue investing in its business for growth, he added.
The purchase of Crown & Caliber, which sells used Rolex and other top brands, boosted Hodinkee’s annual revenue above $100 million.
Founded in 2008 by former UBS analyst Benjamin Clymer, Hodinkee is among the most important online sources for watch information and content, particularly for the US market. The country is now the top destination for Swiss watch exports after overtaking China in 2021.
Online luxury watch trading site Chrono24 GmbH cut about 13 percent of its workforce in January.
In addition to selling new and used watches and producing limited edition collaborations with top brands, Hodinkee also sells watch insurance products and provides bespoke services for high-net-worth collectors.
Other Hodinkee investors include The Chernin Group LLC and True Venture Management LLC.
Prices for many high-end watches on the secondary market — including Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet models — have been falling for more than a year after surging during the pandemic.
The Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index, which tracks prices for the 50 most-traded watches by value, has dropped 12 percent in the past year.
“While the pre-owned market has been in transition since April of 2022, we’ve seen pre-owned watch prices remain stable for several quarters now, with the most popular references still commanding a premium above pre-Covid prices,”Fowler said.
By Andy Hoffman
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