Wristy Business: Wear a luxury watch ($50,000!) like a pro for a fraction of the cost with these high-end rental programs

July 24, 2018

There is a time to reap, and a time to sow. There’s also a time to buy a luxury timepiece. But if you’d rather rent one, you can do that, too, thanks to high-end services like these.


With a ready-to-go collection from a range of marquee brands — Rolex, Omega, Chronoswiss, and more — Borrowed Time has just the right watch for just the right occasion. Tough time choosing? Not to worry. They’ll recommend the watch that fits your needs, whether you’re off to a black-tie event or just looking to wear something new.


Rent it. Receive it. Rock it. Return it. That’s how Haute Vault describes the process. But as with other high-end services of its kind, there’s another step: you have to qualify for membership first. Once you do, you pay an annual membership fee of $350-$500 dollars. Then you can start to enjoy the perks, like, say, renting a $50,000 Patek Philippe for around $800 a week.


Neither a borrower nor a lender be? Clerkenwell lets you be both. Along with renting luxury timepieces from Rolex, Tiffany, Tag Heuer and beyond, the company also offers a “share your watch” program. If you’ve got a nifty watch that’s relatively new (read: 5-years-old or newer), Clerkenwell will connect you with verified renters who’ll pay you up to $400 per month for it.


Luxury watches are like haute couture: if you want to wear them right, you should change them with the seasons. Eleven James accommodates with a cyclical rental program. When you sign up for a membership, you select an array of timepieces you’d like to try out, and the company sends you a new one every three months.


You might not ever want to be part of a club that would have you as a member. But if you want to be a part of a club that has a lot of watches, this is the one for you. There are four access levels — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum — each of which lets you rotate through hundreds of high-end time pieces in the club collection. The difference is how high-end you’re allowed to go. Bronze, for instance, gives you a pick of watches valued under $4,000; Silver caps you at $15,000; Gold at $25,000; and Platinum gives you access to the whole shebang, along with first dibs on anything you want.