Hodinkee’s SoHo headquarters is expanding into additional floors this year, one of which will be converted into a retail showroom for at least 10 watch brands.
The New York-based business, which began 10 years ago as a collectors community site carrying news, reviews and advice for watch enthusiasts has morphed in recent times into an ecommerce operation selling a curated selection of watches from Grand Seiko, Nomos, Longines, Oris, Seiko, Ressence, Tag Heuer, Zenith, Hamilton and Vacheron Constantin.
The company employs around 35 people, six of which still work in editorial. The remainder of the team work in technology, sales, marketing and administrative roles.
The company recently announced the appointment of Russell Kelly as its chief commercial officer. He previously worked at Rolex as head of Tudor in America.
On a visit to Hodinkee in New York yesterday, Mr Kelly told WatchPro that it was moving into bricks and mortar retail later this year with a 7th floor showroom where customers and enthusiasts can shop for watches in an environment that he hopes will operate as a community hub for Hodinkee’s readers and customers. “We are hoping it will be open by the Fall,” he revealed.
Hodinkee is based in a historic building in SoHo, just around the corner from the new Watches of Switzerland store on Greene Street and Material Good, another luxury retailer operating without a street level shop front that works from a second storey showroom which looks more like a sumptuous boutique hotel lounge.
The Hodinkee showroom will be open to the public, and will be accessed from a street-level elevator. It will feel like a clubhouse where enthusiasts can come for advice and inspiration as well as shopping.
The concept is far from finalized, Mr Kelly stresses, but he hopes to see live podcasts, seminars and collectors’ meetings using the space.
Challenged on whether the push further into retail had the potential to compromise the editorial integrity of Hodinkee, Mr Kelly insisted there will always be a clear separation between church and state.