Eleven James: A Luxury Watch Subscription Service Review

Eleven James: A Luxury Watch Subscription Service Review

Eleven James: A Luxury Watch Subscription Service Review Luxury Items

A new company called Eleven James is offering a subscription-based service that allows you to "rent" luxury watches just like Netflix. Members elect to receive either three or six watches per year for a period of two months at a time, from a choice of curated Collections (ranging from $10,000 average retail value and upwards). The program allows each Member - ranging from new enthusiasts to established connoisseurs - to experience an array of watches before their next purchase, to revitalize their existing collection, and to enjoy a level of variety on a consistent basis that would be difficult to replicate personally. Seriously, "Fractional Ownership" of a watch? Effectively yes, for as little as $249 per month delivered straight to your door. aBlogtoWatch has tested the service and offers our opinion.

Eleven James CEO Randy Brandoff came up with this idea long before he left NetJets as its Chief Marketing Officer. Eight years ago, he thought about "luxury collaborative consumption" or "an alternative to outright ownership," because he saw Marquis Jet and NetJets give broad access to all the people who wanted to partake, without writing a check for $17 million for a Learjet. Lucia Reisch, a professor of consumer issues at the Copenhagen Business School was recently quoted saying: "Everything that has to do with collaborative consumption is absolutely on the rise." In 2010 the author Rachel Botsman wrote the book "What's Mine Is Yours: the Rise of Collaborative Consumption." Clearly Randy's vision is a global trend and now the concept is being applied to timepieces.

Eleven James: A Luxury Watch Subscription Service Review Luxury Items

Do you lease a car? Well, that is "fractional ownership," without the "Ownership" part. You get to play with the car for 36 months and give it back, left with nothing but the bill for the turn in fee. You maintained the car in perfect order and Mercedes now can sell it in pristine condition. See where I am going with this? A car lease is the equivalent of going to the Avis counter, giving them a check for the first months payment, a bank fee, and registration fee all before you step foot into the car you are renting. You don't do that when you rent a car for a week so this puts Randy's concept in perspective. I always anger my friends who lease cars with this example, and they fail to even acknowledge my logic!

So, let's look at what you get if you join Eleven James. The basic premise is that you join the club, pay a yearly fee upfront (with a 10% discount) or pay in monthly installments, and get watches on a rotating basis. Currently every rotation is two months. Members choose to have a watch “all the time” which equals six rotations per year, or ''some of the time'' which allows you to have three rotations per year so you can enjoy your own watches (not the ones you rent) as well.

Eleven James: A Luxury Watch Subscription Service Review Luxury Items

Fun, right? Absolutely. Do you have to pay for service, or worry about depreciation if you tire of the watch? No. What if you want to buy that $22,000 white gold Daytona, but think it might be a tad on the small side? Well, try it, and see! Are you new to the world of Horology? Join the club, and get to know the brands and what you will ultimately choose to purchase. Or, you may find that watch rotations through Eleven James's offer you the perfect way to enjoy your new found interest.

So, What was Randy's first watch crush that might have started this? Well, he had one which many share - the classic stainless steel Royal Oak 15300 with the blue dial. So, why didn't he just buy it? He simply could not justify the price at the time. Now it all makes sense....

And, what's up with the name "Eleven James? Well, Bond... James Bond is the inspiration. Randy thought Bond was the pinnacle of the adventurous elegant gentleman. 007 was always supplied with 11 nifty gadgets, by agent Q. So "Eleven James" is a reference to the gadgets of Bond, and the watches that can lead to adventure.

What do you think?
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  • JonnyD

    A great idea in theory to finally get to wear that grail watch, but I wouldn’t be so enamoured by second hand sweat and dead skin cells on those straps or bracelets.

  • Kris C

    This idea has been discussed and re-hashed almost ad nauseum over the years on WUS, and less so in a few other places. Glad to see that someone actually brought a solution to the table.

    Wishing them the best of success, although I won’t be joining. I do think the pricing is very reasonable though.

  • Joseph Panetta

    JonnyD Watches are cleaned, serviced and the straps are changed after every rotation.  Second hand sweat is not an option any more than it is on the steering wheel of CPO Audi you might buy.

  • FlyingMoose

    My problem with their service is that I would want to try watches from different levels, but I don’t want to pay the highest level for a whole year just to try one watch from that level.  Might appeal to some people with more limited tastes though.

  • JonnyD

    Joseph PanettaJonnyD
    Hi Joseph, I stand corrected. I wasn’t aware from the article that straps were swapped out after every rotation.

  • Shawnnny

    What you happen of you were unfortunate enough to damage one of these watches?

  • wslerner

    Shawnnny That is a great question. They are putting policies in place, for damage and theft. The official launch party is on the 15th, and I will update you.

    Great question!

  • wslerner

    FlyingMooseI completely agree. I wear uber-high end watches, and I love my tool divers. I have spoken with Randy about including the fun Saturday watches with the rentals. Great question, and I would welcome more feedback.

  • wslerner

    Kris CKris, you are right. A friend of mine who used to be an investment banker looked at a similar concept years ago. It would not be funded because of the insurance costs for the watches. Clearly Randy has figured out how to do it. He deserves the credit for finally getting this done. He is a powerhouse, and a great guy.

  • wslerner

    JonnyDJoseph PanettaIt was also a concern that I had. Randy always set out to do the right thing, and put his members needs as the top priority. His EVP was at American Express, and they know how to cater to every member’s needs.

  • MarcDarcy

    Great Article about a fantastic project. 
    I am wondering though about the sourcing of the watches: does he has a deal with the brands? or does Eleven James simply owns a huge collection of watches?

  • wslerner

    MarcDarcy Excellent question, Marc. Eleven James has a collection that they own, and are constantly adding too. They even send out surveys to members asking what watches they would like to see added to the collection. All of the watches bought by Eleven James either come from the brands directly or from authorized retailers. The watch you wear will be the same as if you bought them at a top retailers. Clearly the only exception to that concerns the vintage pieces. They will be brought to the best possible condition, concerning esthetics, and mechanics, and maintained as such. You will not receive any watch you, or I would not be proud of. Some brands are thrilled by the concept, and look forward to working with Eleven James. The growth of the business and the various VIP opportunities for members is unlimited. Eleven James is creating a core group of men and women who love watches, and can afford to join the club. They will become a part of the Eleven James family, and I think the brands will be thrilled to offer special events for members. This makes Eleven James a true “Watch Lifestyle” club.

  • MarcDarcy

    wslerner thanks a lot!

  • JasonSaltzman

    Great article William, this concept is great and Randy is the perfect person to execute.  Looking forward to the success of Eleven James.

  • wslerner

    JasonSaltzman Jason, it will give me great pleasure to say “I knew them when….” I think Randy and his team will change the dynamic of the watch industry in interesting ways. It will be fun to watch! I love a good “Disruptive Technology.” Ooops, the Inventor in me just popped out again!

  • BetsyCruz

    Hi could you post some women’s Rolex watches? Please. I am an old friend of Marks. Thanks Betsy

  • wslerner

    Hi Betsy,
    The Eleven James Collection will feature Women’s watches. The launch party was a huge success, and the sky is the limit for Eleven James. I am sure they would welcome your input!  As you know, the Streisand’s were at the party.

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  • Aaron Mathews

    Found Eleven James through an informative review at theoandharris.com! This company has some ups about it, and some flaws. I think a certain niche of people will really like what they are doing.