Rent a Designer Watch – Does It Make Sense For You?

Rent a Designer Watch?

A designer watch is a luxury item that millions of people have purchased over the years, and the industry remains surprisingly strong, even in an age where nearly everyone carries a cell phone that’s easily capable of providing the time.  A designer watch is as much a fashion statement as it is a timepiece, which is a big part of the reason that so many people buy them.  But would you rent a designer watch if the option were available?  Would anyone?  The world is about to find out.

Grovana watches - sport gmt yellowA company called Eleven James was created for people who want to rent a designer watch, rather than buy one.  That might seem odd; after all, most of the things that we rent are things that we don’t need on a full time basis.  You rent a limousine when you need one, because you don’t need one every day.  You might rent a furnished apartment if you’re only going to live there a short time, but you’d probably buy furniture on a full time basis.  So why would anyone want to rent a designer watch?

Does It Make Sense to Rent a Designer Watch?

It might make more sense to rent a designer watch than you may realize.  First of all, designer watches are expensive.  And as we’ve previously mentioned, they’re fashion accessories.  That creates a bit of a problem.  While many designer watches do function well as fashion accessories, we’ve yet to see one that works well in that capacity for all occasions.  Some are good for daily wear, some are good for business attire, and others look their best when worn for formal occasions.  If you’re going to engage in all three types of activities, as most of us do, then you’re going to need at least three designer watches.

As most designer watches are also somewhat expensive, with some priced into the six figure range, owning more than one can be cost prohibitive for many would-be buyers.  In addition, the selection of desirable designer timepieces is huge, with thousands of models available on the market.  Which one do you buy?  Which one do you buy for your second one?  Or your third?  What if you buy a designer watch and then decide that you don’t like it?

These are all things that can make it easy to see why someone might want to rent a designer watch.  By renting one, you can wear it for a while, see how it works, see how it looks, and decide if it’s a good fit for you.  If you’re happy with it, great.  If not, then you can return it with a minimum amount of hassle, which you certainly can’t do if you purchased the timepiece.

rent a designer watch - Rolex Submariner greenEleven James’ program makes it easy to rent a designer watch, and your rental agreement actually entitles you to receive more than one.  You choose from a number of different agreements, and during the course of the year, you’ll receive anywhere from three to six watches per year, so you’d have one from anywhere from two to four months.  Once the time period for a particular model is up, you receive a new one, along with packaging to return the existing watch back to the company.


In addition to selecting how many watches you’d like to receive per year, you can also select the quality of timepieces in your collection.  The company’s collections include the Enthusiast, the Aficionado, the Connoisseur, and the Virtuoso.  Each of these has different price points, ranging from a low of $149 per month for three watches per year as an Enthusiast, to $1259 per month for six watches per year as a Virtuoso.

A number of high end brands are included in the collections, including Breitling, Audemars Piguet, and Rolex.  The lower-end Enthusiast collection includes models from Bell & Ross, Cartier and Tudor.   By selecting the frequency that you’ll exchange timepieces and the quality of the pieces themselves, you can fine-tune your designer watches to suit your tastes, and you can change them at any time.  If you like a particular timepiece, you’re free to purchase it, with a portion of the rental fee applied to the purchase.  If you’re unhappy with a particular model, you can arrange to swap it out for another one.

designer watches - vintage cartierEach time you complete a one year “rotation”, you earn points that can be applied to increasing the number of watches you receive, or reducing the price of a watch that you buy, or increasing the quality of watches in your collection.  This point system offers an incentive to maintain your subscription.

While the pricing may be steep, as $1259 per month is not in everyone’s budget, members paying that price do receive a half a dozen quality timepieces every year and this offers them exposure to a number of different watches and styles as well as the opportunity to see how they work and feel with daily wear and use.

At present, Eleven James offers watches for men and unisex styles only.  There are no models available in styles exclusively for women.

Should You Rent a Designer Watch?

While not everyone will see the need to rent a designer watch, people who like variety in their timepieces will find this program a big help.  It may also benefit people who want to buy but are somewhat indecisive, or who simply don’t have enough information about a particular model to decide if they want to purchase it or not.  Instead, you can simply rent a designer watch for a while and if you like it, you’re free to buy it at any time.

This is a fairly new program and if Eleven James is successful, other companies will likely follow.  It remains to be seen whether the public at large will embrace the idea.  After all, not everyone wants to rent a designer watch, and for that matter, not everyone even wants to own one.  Still, it’s nice to know that the opportunity is there for those that are interested.

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