So here’s a clever idea from Randy Brandoff who was former chief marketing officer of NetJets (owned by Berkshire Hathaway). He’s founded “Eleven James” which is a membership program for luxury watches. In short he’s basically taken the idea of fractional ownership of aircraft and applied it to watches.
“At NetJets and Marquis Jet, I experienced firsthand how many consumers of luxury products are increasingly interested in access rather than ownership. Private jets, vacation homes, classic cars, and many other historically prized possessions have all become accessible via various club and shared ownership programs.
Eleven James applies this principle to luxury watches: an annual membership program that provides access to a curated selection of luxury watches. Members have each watch for two months at a time – long enough to really enjoy it, but not too long for the excitement to wane. They can opt to receive three or six different watches per year – from several different price categories”
Brandoff also has the following comments about ownership versus renting:
“Collectors can experience a watch that intrigues them without committing to a purchase right away. They also get the benefits of variety that would be extremely difficult to replicate through purchases. Even if you can afford, say, 20 watches – if you own them, you have to deal with maintenance, reminding yourself to switch watches, and so on. For these customers, our membership is not an alternative to ownership, but a new opportunity to “mix it up.
People who enjoy watches but aren’t collectors can experience a wide range of luxury watches without a substantial financial commitment, or spend a lot of time researching a purchase. For some, it’s like training-wheels for wearing luxury watches.”
Brandoff’s comments above are an excerpt from this interview between him and Mark Babej in Forbes which I highly recommend reading to get the full story behind what will no doubt be another successful Randy Brandoff venture, and one that’s much appreciated by luxury watch enthusiasts.