Hodinkee bests itself – this time making $1.62M in an hour.

NEW YORK — For anyone with any lingering doubts about the viability of selling $10,000+ luxury goods online, Hodinkee continues to prove that position wrong. Last week, they released the latest in their surprise collaborations with watch firms.

The brand in focus this time: Vacheron Constantin. The pricing on the watches: a staggering $45,000, limited to 36 pieces. The result: They sold out immediately.

Hodinkee continues to flood the zone in covering the watch space for today’s younger collectors and enthusiasts. Most importantly, this marks their third successful co-branded product drop since November. The first two, individual partnerships with Germany-based Nomos Glashütte and Geneva-based Zenith, also sold out in a matter of hours, and altogether brought in a cool $453K in revenue in quick succession. The Vacheron Constantin release, however, blows these earlier two out of the water completely: we’re talking $1.62M in less than an hour. (continued below…)

Remember, Hodinkee is an online publication. It’s a media company first and foremost. They are supposed to be struggling in today’s digital era, with online ad models tanking, and Facebook and Twitter acting as the big gateways. With these strong product drops, founder Ben Clymer and team continue to sidestep these problems. Here’s how:

From a media standpoint:

  • Hodinkee’s great at pushing out products that it knows are essentially grails for their readership. This particular timepiece is a classic Vacheron model that its readers happen to love. But they’ve made it a unique product by offering it — for the very first time — in stainless steel.
  • They’re a great reference point for other publishers on the benefits of doing a proper product rollout, the power of baked-in network effects, and understanding product fit with their audience.
  • They also continue to prove that the publisher e-commerce model, when done right, has the potential to be extremely potent, as both we — and Web Smith — have pointed out.

But this is just as good for Vacheron Constantin as it is for Hodinkee:

  • Vacheron gets better access to a younger audience, and great PR: “We wanted to make this digital step in order to increase brand exposure in the world and reach out to watch lovers we did not necessarily speak to until now,” Vincent Brun, the president of Vacheron Constantin in North America, told Bloomberg. Win-win for both sides.
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