Hodinkee acquires pre-owned watch retailer Crown & Caliber

February 18, 2021, 4:33 PM UTC
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Inside Crown & Caliber’s watch shop, where employees inspect and refurbish pre-owned timepieces.
Courtesy of Jonathan McWhorter/Crown & Caliber

Hodinkee, the New York–based wristwatch media and retail company, has acquired Crown & Caliber, an online retailer of pre-owned watches based in Atlanta. Terms of the deal were not announced.

Crown & Caliber was founded in 2013 by private equity veteran Hamilton Powell, and the company both buys and sells vintage and pre-owned watches using in-house analytics to price the pieces.

Someone looking to sell a neglected watch, or looking to fund their next watch purchase, can go to Crown & Caliber’s website, enter details on the piece, and receive an instant offer for the watch based on market trends. The seller then sends the watch in a prepaid shipping box to the company’s Atlanta headquarters, where it’s verified by a team of experts, serviced, and cleaned if necessary, and offered up for sale with a one-year warranty backed by the company. Retailers like Neiman Marcus, and even watch brand Breitling, use Crown & Caliber to facilitate their trade-in programs.

When Fortune wrote about the company last year, it had already processed more than 70,000 transactions and was growing at 60% annually. Powell will stay with the company.

Of the acquisition, Hodinkee executive chairman Benjamin Clymer said, “Hamilton and I have been friends for ages. One night over dinner six years ago, we hatched the idea of joining forces one day. Neither of us were ready at the time, but the idea never faded. Today, I am thrilled and honored to finally make this a reality.”

Clymer founded Hodinkee in 2008 as a personal blog about wristwatches. It has since become the world’s preeminent watch media company and in recent years has massively expanded into retail with vintage and new watches. Tapping into the pre-owned market means Hodinkee now services all segments of watch retail and can facilitate customer trade-ins.

The aggressive new retail strategy follows a recent $40 million Series B round of fundraising and the appointment of Toby Bateman, former managing director of men’s clothing retailer Mr Porter, as its CEO.

“With smart pricing tools, quick payment services, and a tremendous level of trust from their customers, Crown & Caliber are real experts in the pre-owned watch world,” says Bateman. “We are proud to welcome them into the Hodinkee business and are excited about expanding our own trade-in service and pre-owned watch sales.”