Which watch to buy can be a challenging question—and it’s one that isn’t always answered by just trying a piece on in store. How you’re going to wear it, and what with, all play a part in the decision. Numerous companies, from Manhattan Car Club to Rent-the-Runway, make products available on a short-term loan basis (in those cases cars and fashion) so it’s not a surprise that a watchmaker might have been taking notes. Nor is it a shock that that company is Breitling, which has proven itself to be one of the most forward-looking brands in recent years.
And so it is: Breitling has announced it’s letting clients take its watches for a test drive without committing to a full purchase. The new #BreitlingSelect service will allow subscribers to wear up to three models consecutively over a year-long period. After signing a 12-month contract through a registration process on Breitling.com, you’ll be able to select from an assortment of 60 references, including some of the brand’s bestsellers.
“We plan to extend the offering up to 100 [references] in the coming months,” Antonio Carriero, Bretiling’s chief digital and technology officer, told Robb Report. “We will take into account customers’ suggestions and requests and make sure the assortment is perfectly representing Breitling’s spirit.”
Here’s how it works. Only one watch may be in possession of a #BreitlingSelect customer at any one time and only three total will be delivered over the year-long contract. The longest any single reference can be held onto is six months, however clients can buy the watches at a discounted price. Subscribers collect loyalty points that can be accrued towards the purchase.
“The special price is determined based on multiple criteria, including the customer history with Breitling, the specific watch, etc,” says Carriero. “The access to the watch purchase is personalized and unique to each customer. Points can be redeemed, but not only the ones collected through the subscription. Additional points can be collected when buying new watches in store and servicing existing watches.”
Both men’s and women’s timepieces, including chronographs, will be available and will range in price from $3,500 to $6,500, but Breitling says that as the program develops it may up the ante on the offering over time. The service requires a one-time subscription fee of $450, along with monthly payments of $129, for a total of $,1998 in the first year and $1,548 annually going forward.
“This program is a natural extension of our ambitious digital strategy, most visible through our thriving e-commerce and our new blockchain-enabled digital passport,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern in a statement. “Both reset the way we engage with our clients, alongside our summit webcasts. With this unique subscription program, Breitling brings total freedom of choice to its aspiring customers, who can try their favorite watches in their daily lives and then decide on their favorite model. This is not only a substantial innovation in the watch industry, but also a demonstration of Breitling’s inclusive luxury approach.”
Companies like Watch Gang, Wrist Mafia, Borrowed Time Watches and Watch Lending Club all offer watches on loan, but Breitling is the first independent watchmaker to offer this kind of service in-house.
The #BreitlingSelect Subscription Service is available online through Breitling.com. It will soon also be available at the company’s boutiques and global network, although no date has currently been announced for the retail rollout.