The problem with watches is that they evolve into an obsession. You get one, feel the magic, and want another. You get that other one, and while you’re buying it you see this other one … and you want it.
Like most worthy addictions this is very expensive, but no one is alone in it. In fact this monkey has climbed on so many backs that someone created a solution: It’s a company called Eleven James.
Basically its a Rent-the-Runway for men’s luxury watches with some very sexy added perks.
Founder Randy Brandoff launched the company at the end of last year, and already it has a couple hundred members perusing the watch selection, borrowing pieces for three- to six-month periods, and attending events.
Brandoff cut his teeth in the luxury sector as the first employee for Marquis Jet. He eventually became Chief Marketing Officer and stayed in that position when the company merged with Net Jets. In other words he saw the whole luxury-share thing unfold before his eyes.
“It got to the point where I was like ‘wow this is a trend, and I’m in the front row,'” Brandoff told Business Insider.
High-end watches, he thought, would be a perfect item for this kind of sharing.
“For the six months you love it, after another six months you like it, after about a year you want to replace it,” he said.
So here’s how Eleven James works: Go to Eleven James and fill out an application — basically they want to make sure you’re not a 15-year-old with impeccable taste and no cash. Once you’re accepted you’ll get access to their member website.
It looks like this:
From there you’ll have a meeting or phone call to welcome you to the club, and then answer a series of questions (as you can see on the bottom left) to “Build Your Watch Profile.” That’s how Eleven James can send you recommendations for watches as they add to their collection. You can rate watches too, and that gives the company an even better idea of your style.
If you have trouble deciding what you like, or you have questions about watch maintenance, Eleven James also has a concierge service.
The more you borrow, the more points you accrue. You can use those points to borrow more watches or buy ones you really love.
And there are levels to this stuff; think of them as collections. An Eleven James ‘Aficionado’ selects watches in the $US7,000 to $US15,000 range. Then there’s the ‘Connoisseur’ — $US15,000 to $US30,000 range — and the ‘Virtuoso’ — $US30,000 to $US50,000 range.
This is what part of the Connoisseur page looks like:
Eleven James members will also have access to special events: Super Bowl parties, collection changeover parties, Final Four parties … lots of parties.
And people love parties (and watches) so Brandoff is already seeing that Eleven James is having an impact.
“One guy called us up,” said Brandoff, “he’s an old friend of mine and he told me: ‘First and foremost I was really doing this for you, and now I really love it and I’m addicted because it’s like opening a gift for myself six times a year, and I never give myself anything.'”
So give yourself something.
Below are two examples of what’s on Eleven James. You’re welcome.