Much like the Patek I recently wrote about, it’s always interesting to see industry giants take a misstep – especially when it’s in the business of horology. I am but a very small fish sharing a very large pond with great white sharks like Hodinkee. And while we’ve been quietly critical of some of their blatant profiteering in the past, the Hodinkee Travel Clock this is a whole new level of blunder.
For those of you who haven’t heard, Hodinkee just released a not-inexpensive travel clock, the movement of which they claim is vintage deadstock from notable provenance. Photographers among you will also recognise the amount of grain added to the images to help sell their faux-vintage dream.
Unfortunately for them, if you so much as polish an hour marker around the wrong watch guy or girl, you’ll certainly hear about it. As it so happens, this is the same movement used by AP a few years ago in a free boutique gift travel clock.
Before you think, “Well if AP used it, it must be good”, understand that on the resale market, the AP clock sells for roughly 30% of what Hodinkee are asking for on their website ($5,900 USD). Ironically, Hodinkee so confidently stated that “…you would be hard-pressed to find a modern [clock] of this quality for anything less” – yet the photos show misaligned screws through the back of the clock and a Pontifa 73XX movement inside.
[NOTE: Hit the comments in the post above to witness some carnage.]
Personally, I have always been hypercritical of brands who fraudulently concoct an aura of value and authenticity rather than actually putting in the hard yards. It’s a condescending slap in the face to those of us who put our hard-earned cash on the table to buy these things; not to mention, an affront to the reputation of watchmakers who take pride in quality craftsmanship over the chance to profit.
I have a strange sense of pride knowing that not a single soul in my pocket of the watch community has treated this new Hodinkee travel clock as anything more than a sick joke – nor has anyone on the web it appears. If you want to see a clock done without compromise, go look at what MB&F and L’epee have done together.
So let this be a lesson to Hodinkee and any other brand who I personally feel are doing similarly deplorable things in the name of profit. May they never forget that luxury timekeeping is only profitable because we, the consumers, see the value of tradition and true craftsmanship. I hope the unfinished, unrefined, base movements in these clocks rust before they sell a single one.
To read Hodinkee’s disastrous form of a damage control statement (which included some casual racism for good measure) and check out the clock in more detail, head over to hodinkee.com.
CLOCK IMAGES: HODINKEE