Online watch publication Hodinkee has appointed Russell Kelly (pictured) to be its first chief commercial officer, as it expands its retail store.
In his new role, Kelly will oversee all the New York City–based site’s commercial retail operations, including developing new retail strategies to build the Hodinkee Shop, supervising the customer support team, maintaining and developing wholesale brand partnerships, and developing new products and services.
The appointment positions Hodinkee “not only as an editorial and news outlet, but also as a retailer looking to evolve the way consumers purchase watches and accessories,” the company said in a statement.
Kelly began his watch industry career in 2004 as sales manager, East, for Blancpain. In 2008 he became U.S. national sales director for Vacheron Constantin. In 2013, Rolex tapped him to become vice president brand manager for Tudor Watch USA, spearheading that brand’s reintroduction into the United States.
One of Hodinkee’s earliest commercial forays occurred in 2017, when it sold a specially designed $45,000 Vacheron Constantin watch. It sold out in a half hour.
Later that year, the Hodinkee Shop became an authorized dealer for eight premium watch brands.
Hodinkee was founded in 2008 by former banker Benjamin Clymer out of “pure boredom.” In 2015, it merged with another watch site, Watchville, received $3.6 million in funding, and appointed former Digg cofounder Kevin Rose to head the new combined entity. Two years later, Rose left to return to California and work for a venture capital firm and he handed the reins back to Clymer.
“Over the years, I have seen the positive effect Hodinkee has had on the watch industry, opening it up to new demographics and creating a more democratic outlet to learn and discuss watches,” said Kelly in a statement. “I look forward to further developing new products and services to better serve such a passionate community.”
Kelly started with Hodinkee on Feb. 4.
(Image courtesy of Hodinkee)