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Crown & Caliber sold to Hodinkee

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    Crown & Caliber sold to Hodinkee

    So my favourite online retailer for purchasing vintage watches has been sold to Hodinkee. I have to say, I am not ok with this.

    Hodinkee over the past couple of years has slid from an informative blog about watches to a full on corporate empire. They started a blog, then moved to a small online shop, then started partnering with brands for exclusive watch releases, and now have gone on to purchase a popular watch retailer. Which I guess is how businesses grow. Still, I'm skeptical. I think the quality of service offered by C&C will go down and the prices up up up.

    By the time it goes to pot though, the venture capitalists who have invested in Hodinkee will be long gone.

    #2
    This may be a tad cynical from me but I can't wait for Hodinkee to hype up a piece with some "independent editorial content", then jack up the price of said model to "meet market valuation".
    That said, I'm normally not in the market for pre-owned pieces so I'll just watch from the sidelines.

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      #3
      I think that's what bothers me too. Is that Hodinkee can now pump up a vintage watch as a 'must have' and then wow. Look at that. The watch just happens to be for sale on C&C too! Imagine that

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        #4
        dang thats unfortunate Crown and Caliber was local to me too.

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          #5
          Hate to be the party pooper here, but I hope you all realized that Crown and Caliber was already extremely overpriced for the used luxury watch market. There are tons of smaller, independent dealers with superb reputations on watch buying/selling forums (e.g., WatchUSeek, Rolex Forums, Omega Forums, etc.) that offer better deals. In addition, in my experience Crown and Caliber refused to entertain "best offers" on watches listed online, which is a bit baffling given that even authorized dealers will be willing to offer discounts below asking price on most models. And beyond that, I wasn't impressed with the level of detail they provided on the condition of their used watches. I've asked them about service history on watches, and they didn't seem to ever track that. They provided a warranty on their watches, but didn't necessarily service their watches beforehand (so the onus is on the customer to realize that the watch is keeping terrible time). Finally, it also seems like their customer service associates didn't have much (or any) background with watches and were just your typical, clueless (albeit very nice) customer service people.

          I've seen a lot of people complain about how Hodinkee has veered more and more into becoming a commercial entity rather than a pure media outlet, and I have no problems with that whatsoever. They need to make revenue in order to support their media business, and ad revenue for most media companies isn't cutting it anymore (especially given that advertisers across all industries have frequently stopped paying media companies during the pandemic). Other media companies resort to putting all of their content behind a paywall--I would rather have them sell watches on the side and keep their website free, rather than pay a subscription to read their content.

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            #6
            I do agree with you somewhat lax101 I bought my Speedy from an independent an had a great experience. I would recommend him in a heartbeat.

            C&C though just hit the sweet spot for me. I didn't have to do a lot of the leg work like I did with the independent seller. I had a guarantee on the quality of the watch. And the whole process was a little less stressful than going with the independent. Did I pay a few shekels more? You bet. Was it worth it to me? You bet!

            And while Hodinkee does need to make money, I hope they are transparent about it. For example when they find THE watch write a glowing review about the watch, only to have the watch for sale on C&C, I hope they note somewhere that they are the owners of C&C.

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              #7
              Originally posted by DocDave View Post
              I do agree with you somewhat lax101 I bought my Speedy from an independent an had a great experience. I would recommend him in a heartbeat.

              C&C though just hit the sweet spot for me. I didn't have to do a lot of the leg work like I did with the independent seller. I had a guarantee on the quality of the watch. And the whole process was a little less stressful than going with the independent. Did I pay a few shekels more? You bet. Was it worth it to me? You bet!

              And while Hodinkee does need to make money, I hope they are transparent about it. For example when they find THE watch write a glowing review about the watch, only to have the watch for sale on C&C, I hope they note somewhere that they are the owners of C&C.
              I totally get it--the #1 rule about buying used watches is always "buy the seller," and Crown and Caliber is certainly a reputable seller. Definitely not a bad idea to pay a little more based on credibility.

              Personally, I just didn't find their credibility to always match the increase in premium, particularly for the reasons I explained above - a solid, reputable, independent seller will often have more information about a used watch's condition, service history, timekeeping, etc. as compared to Crown and Caliber. WatchBox/Govberg also sells used pieces at a high premium, but I was extremely impressed about the amount of detail they were able to give me about a given watch.

              Speaking of WatchBox, Tim Mosso had an interesting video a year or two ago talking about the lack of transparency/objectivity in the watch media industry. It's unfortunate, but the reality is that most media outlets are going to be compromised given their revenue streams. Hard to trash a new watch from a brand if they're also paying for your ads.

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                #8
                When it was younger, Hodinkee had some interesting and unique stuff. As it exists today, it seems like it's for the big budget crowd, full of speculators willing to pay very high prices for their collaborations or vintage watches Hodinkee says are cool. It strikes me as a perfect place for people who are pretentious.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by lax101 View Post
                  I've seen a lot of people complain about how Hodinkee has veered more and more into becoming a commercial entity rather than a pure media outlet, and I have no problems with that whatsoever. They need to make revenue in order to support their media business, and ad revenue for most media companies isn't cutting it anymore (especially given that advertisers across all industries have frequently stopped paying media companies during the pandemic). Other media companies resort to putting all of their content behind a paywall--I would rather have them sell watches on the side and keep their website free, rather than pay a subscription to read their content.
                  That's so right. It doesn't make sense for companies to advertise on media platforms when they get better return-on-investment by paying Google and Microsoft to find you via machine learning algorithms tracking your web activity and then advertising to you directly on social media.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by lax101 View Post
                    Speaking of WatchBox, Tim Mosso had an interesting video a year or two ago talking about the lack of transparency/objectivity in the watch media industry. It's unfortunate, but the reality is that most media outlets are going to be compromised given their revenue streams. Hard to trash a new watch from a brand if they're also paying for your ads.
                    That's kind of how it is for everything now, isn't it? Even the guy who cuts boots in half on Youtube has to say something nice about them when you can clearly see the cardboard and crappy construction. "Good for the price point." Sure.

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                      #11
                      I find it hard to get good opinions these days. I have really been enjoying The Hourtime Podcast. The guys on there just sound like a couple of blokes sitting around having a beer and shooting the shit about watches. No pretentiousness. And they cover watches from the entry level of the crazy level.

                      I agree with you tankerjohn though. Many of the posters on Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, etc. want to be influencers. I'm surprised that's still a thing to be honest.

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                        #12
                        If you happen to have a RedBar watch enthusiast chapter near you, check it out. It's a fun way to share and socialize w/ a wide variety of watch lovers - very few of whom have an agenda beyond simply talking about and enjoying watches. You'll hear plenty of opinions , but I've found the participants to be kind, unpretentious and willing to share their knowledge with others.

                        The gatherings are a lot more fun in person, but the virtual meet-ups during the pandemic seem to be holding everyone over... and the convenience of joining online has provided a pretty good turnout.

                        You can find local chapters through Instagram. General blog at: https://www.redbargroup.com/
                        Sent from my CONTROL shoe phone inside the Cone of Silence

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