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Startup Service Aimed at Millennials Rents Out Rolexes for a Monthly Fee

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There’s a luxury watch rental startup targeting millennials looking to make the leap from their iPhones to Rolexes to tell time.

Women can “borrow” a pricey designer dress or bag they can’t afford with Rent the Runway and Bag Borrow or Steal. Now, year-old startup Eleven James offers men a chance to rent luxury watches for a monthly fee.

From a Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco to a Panerai, the goal is to offer users choice and style without buyer’s remorse and commitment. Users can choose what type of watch they want to wear, how long they’d like to keep it and how many they’d like to receive during the year.

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The membership-based fee runs from $199 a month to a whopping $1,379 a month, or $14,900 per year. That’s because of the different prices of the watches; renting a Rolex will cost you less than a more high-end A. Lange & Sohne, for example. If the fees sound too expensive, you’re probably not the target audience.

But why bother renting when you can just look at any clock to tell time? According to founder Randy Brandoff, former CMO of NetJets and Marquis Jet, a timepiece still makes the outfit, and many people still value the “heritage and craftsmanship” of a fine watch. Brandoff added:

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“We’re seeing millennials who, as adults, are getting ever more curious. It’s a pretty big leap to go from an iPhone to a Rolex, so they want to try them out.”

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Eleven James founder Randy Brandoff

Brandoff also said that renting a pricey watch is all about access to luxury, no different from, say, an expensive timeshare. He told the New York Times:

“I experienced first hand 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.”

You rent a tuxedo, so why not a watch? It makes sense, but it’s too soon to tell if Eleven James, which is expanding to Britain this year, will catch on.

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