Friday, November 10, 2023

Bros Before...

In reading the tea leaves from the latest Brodinkee Instagram posting, it would appear more than likely that Hodinkee has cut loose a few (or more) now "former" staffers. Following the not so long-ago purge of more than a few former loyal employees, it would seem that the good ship Hodinkee is still taking on water, and more ballast is finding its way over the side. 

It would seem that $40,000,000.00 doesn't go as far as it used to...

I continue to be amazed by the machinations at the top of Watch Town's Fourth and Fifth Estates. But then again, I am just a small-time solo act, so what do I know?

Well, I'm glad you asked!

As you may or may not know, the only major watch fair still operating in the real world instead of "IMAGINE-Land" is Watches and Wonders. More importantly, Watches and Wonders is invitation only to the press. And now the next question you might have - "How do they decide who is invited?" Well, not unlike any other decision making process that is conducted by people who are still living out their High School glory days, it is a pretty thinly veiled popularity contest with the formerly unpopular kids finally getting to sit at the popular kids table, and they now get to flex. It goes something like this:

The media / marketing representatives for each participating brand will have a regional convocation to decide press invitees. This is organized by that highly transparent and wonderfully unbiased organization known as the FHH (excuse me while I die laughing). The names of potential invitees are put forward, and (at least in the recent past) if one brand blackballs you, you will not be invited. You may well have appointment invitations in-hand from 99% of the brands, but it only takes one brand to get you banned. Simple as that. Now also curious to relate, Hodinkee and other big outlets will get 5 - 10 invitations. Think about that for a moment - one outlet will get up to 10 spots. Independent, or let's be honest, less-sexy journalists who actually write whether they are paid or not? Typically the answer by those handing out the invites at the Watches and Wonders Rose Ceremony is  "Space is limited and we just can't invite everyone we'd  like to." 

And here is where I call bullshit.

The truth of the matter is quite easy to understand. Richemont, and now by extension the other "haute" brands (which now includes ORIS?) are not really even a little bit interested in diverse coverage. Or perhaps it is fairer to lay that truth at the doorstep of the FHH. Just as they want the disciples of Watch Town to keep their eyes on their shiny objects, these brand flaks can't seem to take their eyes off of their preferred (read compliant) shiny media objects. It's a wonderfully symbiotic relationship.

So to my fellow independent journos out there, take heart. If things don't improve at some of these other big outlets, there might just be an extra press invitation or two, providing you get past the velvet rope of the FHH's beauty pageant ; )

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