Hodinkee– A Luxury Watch Blog That Makes $100M+ a Year!

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Good morning! It's Thursday, July 27th - Today we’re taking a look at Hodinkee, a luxury watch editorial site that manages to make $100M a year!


Hodinkee— A Luxury Watch Blog That Makes $100M+ a Year

Kevin Rose is a renowned Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur who is known for founding Digg.com, Google Ventures, and investing in companies like Twitter, Square, and Shyp.

While he’s had great success in software products, his latest venture into luxury watches may be his most lucrative. Let’s figure out how Rose’s wristwatch blog and e-commerce site Hodinkee generates $100M+ a year.

What’s Hodinkee?

In 2014, Kevin Rose became obsessed with luxury watches and began collecting them as a personal hobby and valuable asset class. Naturally, he combined his software expertise with his new passion and created Watchville, an application that aggregated the latest watch news in one place.

Back in 2014, watch sites weren’t user-friendly and didn’t have mobile versions. Rose’s tech expertise added a glossy finish to luxury watch news and came equipped with tools to set advanced watches in accordance with tide and moon cycles. When Watchville had tens of thousands of downloads with a large portion of users opening the app 8 to 10 times a day, Rose realized he had hit on something special.

To take his new business to the next level, Rose partnered with Ben Clymer who ran one of the most informative luxury watch blog sites, Hodinkee. Rose revamped Hodinkee’s digital presence and Clymer provided the editorial team to distribute watch news rather than aggregate it.

Prior to partnering with Rose, Hodinkee generated approximately $1.5M a year which was just enough to do payroll for their full-time writers. Within a year of being CEO, Rose oversaw a four-times increase in year-over-year revenue by creating a variety of revenue streams within the platform.

Hodinkee’s Business Model

With Rose heading Hodinkee, he turned it from a narrow editorial site into a one-stop shop for all luxury watch needs.

Hodinkee generates $100M+ annually from five revenue streams:

#1 Direct Sales

Hodinkee’s engaging watch content brings in 3M+ monthly site visitors who sign up via email and are then exposed to email marketing on the latest watches. With an average order value of $495 and a 2% return rate, Hodinkee only needs to convert 0.5% of users to generate $13.5M annually from direct sales.

#2 Buy/trade/sell program

Hodinkee charges a 20% commission for their buy/trade/sell program. While this may seem steep, watch experts generally view it as completely reasonable since this is one of the safest online luxury watch marketplaces that provides fair price valuations.

#3 Watch insurance

When it comes to online business, nothing beats recurring revenue. Hodinkee offers coverage for 150% of your watch's value at an acceptable price point. For example, insurance for an $8,100 Rolex Submariner costs $117/year.

#4 Magazine sales

In addition to online material, Hodinkee publishes a magazine priced at $38 per issue that contains crucial industry insights for investors.

#5 Paid advertisements

With 1.5M monthly unique users, 300,000 app downloads, and millions of followers across social media accounts, luxury watchmakers fight for access to Hodinkee’s community. While reading their content, you’ll see pop-up ads for companies like Omega, Rolex, and Cartier.

Key Observation: Win the Trust of Your Readers

None of Hodinkee’s five revenue streams would be profitable if their readers didn’t trust them as the most reputable source of information on luxury watches.

Rose partnered with Ben Clymer’s Hodinkee because his editorial staff was composed of watch nerds with in-depth knowledge of every notable watch brand. By taking the editorial side of the business very seriously, they acquired a die-hard community of watch geeks that use the Hodinkee platform religiously.