Hodinkee Eight-Day Travel Clock Controversy, Explained By A College Student

Small Update (scroll down for the article)

It has now been about a month since the end of lockdown in our small country, Slovenia – the government and national health organisations strict orders have insured our citizens safety to a great degree, but we’re nowhere near the end of this crisis. This article isn’t about coronavirus, but rather about us, people – and how we’re affected by it.

The fact that there are limited events and very few social gatherings made me spend more time online, discovering new people and things/hobbies I liked. For example, I took up film photography, which has been on my bucket list for quite some time now, but I never got the chance to do it. So a dear friend of mine lended me her camera, I bought film, and I started shooting right away. I still have about a third of the roll left, and I can’t wait to develop it and see the results.

I’ve also started my own podcast about education, under the name of Ljudska pamet (Human Wisdom) and have had quite positive feedback from the listeners about the first episode. I hope that all generations will find something that will encourage them to learn something new in all stages of life.

Link to the podcast:

https://ljudskapamet.buzzsprout.com/

The travel clock controversy and why it’s an important discussion

I’ve read a lot of articles during the corona crisis to be in the forefront of what’s going on. One of the websites I read that features great journalism is Hodinkee, which is actually a leading website in the world of watches. My favorite category is Sunday Rewind, where the editors gather their favorite articles of the news world from the past week.

However, their content changed significantly during this period, which made it hard for me to find good articles like I did before. I was not alone, and you could sense it in the comment section under each post. People were craving for articles which would resemble the amount of  great journalistic content from the past.

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Hodinkee Eight-Day travel clock

And last week, that led to a turning point – Hodinkee released an 8-day travel clock under its own branding, made by swiss manafacturer L’Epee. The clock was a limited edition, as they were made from 96 new-old stock movements made by Pontifa. Despite the fact that the movements weren’t new, and specifically made for their product, the clock cost six-thousand dollars. Furthermore, it sold out on the same day.

The readers were shocked about the fact that someone would actually pay such a premium for a travel clock, and surely enough at that price, wouldn’t take it on vacation. I was not surprised by the price, but rather how little details there were about what went into that watch. There were no pictures of the movements or videos about how the watch was made, which is something a buyer should look for when buying a clock. On the other hand, most of the focus was on the design perspective, and the new Decimal typeface that was used for the clock numerals.

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Decimal typeface

There were also people, who simply said that they were leaving the website, as it just became too ‘premium’ for them. Though I agreed with the fact that there are more productive ways to spend six grand, I decided to investigate further to what actually happened. The website staff kindly invited its readers to a Zoom call to discuss their controversial release, and I decided to join, just for the sake of it.

So I joined the call at about ten o’clock in the evening as it took place at 4PM Eastern Time, and we started talking about the clock. We quickly sorted out the thoughts about the clock release, and despite the fact that it was rather unfortunate, I’m convinced that it wasn’t solely their fault.

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There were very little details about how the clock was made

They got an idea to make the clock about a year ago and gathered resources and searched for makers throughout last year. This year, it finally all came together, and they could make it happen. However, the crisis limited their options on publicity of the release – their whole photo and video team was down, and everyone was working from home, which made communication more difficult. 

Consequently, the website featured even more sponsored content and watches that are available in their store, which made it more of a marketplace than a news website. Their plan is to have a balance between those two, and have acknowledged that the ‘shop’ content indeed prevailed. It was addressed by them that the marketplace part of the website has now been present for about ten years or so, and was more evident than ever during the pandemic. Even though they released even more expensive limited edition collaborations in the past, the 8 day travel clock became a deal-breaker for the average reader, and the clock wasn’t the sole reason.

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The clock development started way before the corona crisis, and wasn’t the sole reason for the readers unhappines

The Zoom call was I’d say about thirty percent about the clock and the rest was about business in general, which made it really interesting for me. Hodinkee really focused this time to help the community by giving spotlight to dealers which could eventually close due to the corona crisis, and probably even saved some of them. Similarly, they helped watch brands advertise on their website, and even became official online retailers for some of them.

What they tried to do was a good thing in general, but consequently, there was a significant shift to a more consumerist type of website, from a journalistic one that it was before. 

They were kind enough to acknowledge that, and are hopefully going to do something about that, as the community makes up for most of their income.

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Coronavirus has had a great impact on the watch industry as well as other bussinesses

I also have to say something about the attendants of the Zoom call – there were people of all ages, and had surprisingly kind and constructive comments/critiques about the clocks release or the website, which I really enjoyed. The questions were on point, and I believe were also thoroughly answered by the team. The meeting was said to last about an hour, but they took extra thirty minutes to answer all the questions, which really surprised me. 

If you read some of their articles about the watch industry during the coronavirus crisis, you’ll see that it’s on a real low point currently, similarly to many other types of businesses right now. 

I hope this article makes you think about the fact that everyone has their own background, and makes you more patient when it comes to arguments during the difficulties you might encounter during this crisis. Stay safe everyone, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this one.

Disclaimer: Images in this post are not owned by me.

(source: https://www.hodinkee.com/)

 

 

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