Lo-res_343320308-SWatch this: Consumers now can rent luxury timepieces, instead of buying them. In response to lagging sales, and Gen Z’s disinclination to buy luxury goods but desire to use them, some high-end watch brands are dipping their toes into the rental market. It started with Breitling, which in March began offering a subscription program called Breitling Select. For $129 a month, plus a $450 one-time fee, customers can rent three watches per year instead of shelling out thousands to own them (literally, that is: $4,500 is the average retail price of a Breitling Select). The company’s CEO Georges Kern said the new program was already accounting for 15 percent of Breitling’s e-commerce business in the United States, even if it had not achieved strong profitability quite yet. Other watch rental companies offer multiple brands for subscribers to sample. Furthermore, observers expect this market to grow. According to Bain’s “LuxCo 2030: A Vision of Sustainable Luxury” market report, rentals might constitute as much as 10 percent of luxury brand revenues within the coming decade, due to rising generations’ acceptance and interest in rental and secondhand options. As one of the authors of the report noted, “The shift from owning to having an experience is super strong.”

Source: Robin Swithinbank, “To Enjoy a Luxury Watch, You Don’t Really Need to Own It,” The New York Times, June 18, 2021; Claudia D’Arpizio, Diana Verde Nieto, Jenny Davis-Peccoud, and Matteo Capellini, “LuxCo 2030: A Vision of Sustainable Luxury,” Bain.com, March 10, 2021; Jorg Weppelink, “Renting Luxury Watches: A Great Idea or Total No-Go?” Chrono24, March 9, 2021