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Ben Clymer: Hodinkee founder on watch design and creating a compelling content brand

Ben Clymer: Hodinkee founder on watch design and creating a compelling content brand

Episode 99 of the Design Better Podcast

Aarron fell down a rabbit hole when the Apple Watch came out. He knew nothing about watches, their design history and the immense investment of human effort it’s taken to engineer accurate timepieces until he bought an Apple Watch. He loves wearing a watch, but notifications and tracking caused him to abandon it for something simpler and mechanical.

Anyone curious about watches will inevitably end up at, the premier publication about watches and the rich culture around them. Hodinkee was founded by Ben Clymer, who found his way into watches when his grandfather gave him the Omega watch right off his wrist. It sparked not only a deep passion for watches, but a company that has built a community of enthusiasts around the world.

You might be thinking, watches are a strange topic for Design Better to cover. But they represent a beautiful intersection of design and technology that has been pursued for centuries. They’re also one of the few trans-generational objects in our lives that connect us with the people we love, as Ben Clymer shared with us in our conversation.

We spoke with Ben about consulting with Jony Ive on Apple’s watch design, Jony’s deep dive into horology, how Ben went about creating such a compelling content brand, and his journey from being a founder and CEO back to being an individual contributor to the company he started.


Benjamin Clymer is widely considered to be a leading voice in the wristwatch industry. He is regularly quoted in major publications including The New York Times, Reuters, Forbes, Departures, GQ, and the Financial Times, and was dubbed “The High Priest of Horology” by The New York Times in 2013. Benjamin has acted as a consultant and guest speaker for Apple, and was named to “The Hypebeast Hundred” as one of the 100 most important influencers in global culture in both 2013 and 2014. As part of his entrepreneurial pursuits beyond HODINKEE, Benjamin frequently curates items for vintage watch sales. He spends the majority of his time traveling the world, jetting to everywhere from Geneva to Tokyo to tour watch factories and report on high-end watch auctions. Benjamin lives in downtown New York City and holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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Design Better
Design Better
Design Better co-hosts Eli Woolery and Aarron Walter explore the intersection of design, technology, and the creative process through conversations with inspiring guests across many creative fields. Whether you’re design curious or a design pro, Design Better is guaranteed to inspire and inform. Episodes are released semi-weekly for free subscribers, weekly for premium subscribers. Vanity Fair calls Design Better, “sharp, to the point, and full of incredibly valuable information for anyone looking to better understand how to build a more innovative world.”