Can You Rent A Watch? Why, How & Where


Sometimes you want to feel how its like to place a luxury watch on your wrist. Buying one might not be a good idea since it is expensive, but what about renting? Can you rent a watch?

You can rent a watch for short or long-term leases, depending on the company you are engaging with. You can rent great luxury watches such as Rolex, Omega or Patek Philippe for an affordable price. Some rental also offer subscription package so you change watches more frequently. 

Why Should You Rent A Watch

The most significant upside to rent a watch is to gain access to the watch for the short term, without ownership problems. Aside from that, you also get to experience and test these watches out before actually buying them. 

There are more benefits to rent a watch, which we will discuss below:

You Rarely Need Luxury Watch

Unless you are a high-flying CEO or diplomat, you do not really need a luxury watch. 

You might want it, but if you cool your head and think about it, you don’t really need it.

Aside from occasional events that need you to suit up, such as weddings, graduations, wakes, or gala parties, you can get away with premium, even affordable watches

This means it might not make sense to shell out $10,000 to land that Rolex Submariner, only to wear it 20 times for the next ten years. 

You might be better off if you rent a watch whenever you need them and saving the money for more important things in life, like investing in your retirement. 

ALSO READ: What Makes A Watch A Luxury Watch?

Worry Not About Reselling

As prices of luxury watches keep climbing, naturally, people will start to think about the resell value of these luxury watches. 

It hurts to think that the $6,000 you splash out for a beautiful IWC Portofino Chronograph could depreciate to $3,900 later. 

As a result, many people will only buy popular brands such as Rolex because they tend to have better resell value. Those with more money will go for the ‘Holy Trinity’ of watches: Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, or Vacheron Constantin.

Suppose that is the route you are taking. In that case, you will miss out on the experience of owning other great luxury watches as well—for example, Jaeger Le-Couture, Breguet, Grand Seiko, Omega, etc.

If you rent a watch, you get to try and wear all these watches without worrying about depreciation. 

Access Is Easier Than Ownership

For many things in life, it is easier to have access to something, rather than trying to own it. You can apply the same thought to watches too.

With ownership, comes responsibility. You need to send the watch to servicing, have a proper place to store and wind the watch since you will not be wearing it every day.

You also need to insure the watch against theft and damages, and so much more. 

If you rent a watch, you do not even think about those. Pick up the watch from the rental, put it on, enjoy it, return it intact when your time is up. 

So much less trouble, don’t you agree?

Test Before Buying

Luxury watches are a significant splash of cash as they cost 4-figures at the minimum. As a result, we often deliberate, compare specs, and read reviews when shopping for watches.

The goal is to ensure that we get maximum enjoyment and satisfaction from our purchase. 

But what research is better than actually test wearing one yourself? Just rent a watch. Put it on your wrist, watch the hands turn, hear the ticking sound, see how the dial radiates under the sun.

If you love it, some rental companies have an option for you to buy the watch. If you don’t enjoy the watch, simply return it and try another one next time. 

This way, you can ensure maximum ROI for your watch purchases.

You Get To Wear A Lot Of Luxury Watches

This further elaborates on the access vs. ownership model. Why spend all your money to buy one watch when you can rent hundreds of them?

You get to experience having all sorts of luxury watches on your wrist with only a tiny portion of your money. 

Panerai this month, Breguet next month, Cartier the month after… Up to you to decide.

Depending on how you think, some will say that they want to get and own something physical when they pay for something. People who think this way will reject renting a watch.

But to some, they see renting luxury watches as paying for the experience, enjoyment without the fuss.

Save The Pain Of Deterioration

One of the worst pains you can experience in life as a man is to spend a lot of money on something brand new, only to see it collect scratches, dings, marks under your ownership.

And this kept happening despite your best effort to protect it. Think about your cars, MacBooks, houses, and watches. 

If you rent a watch, you spare yourself this pain. Often they arrive in your hands with slight imperfections, which is typical for a rental. So you do not worry too much about the slightest of scratches. 

Let the watch owner feel the pain. You rent, enjoy the watch, maybe accidentally add another scratch or two, and return the watch. 

How Do You Rent A Watch?

You rent a watch in two major ways, traditional and subscription. Different companies might have variations, but often they boil down to these two.

Traditional Rental 

The simplest way to describe the traditional rental of watches is to see Hertz’s car rental transferred to watches. 

You go to their store or website and select a date and time of your rental duration. The website will then show you the watches available for you to rent.

You can filter and sort by:

  • Price
  • Type (Dive, Dress, Chronograph etc.)
  • Brand (Omega, Seiko, Rolex etc.)
  • Strap (Leather, Rubber, etc.)

Once you select the watch, you will make the payment and pick up the watch or have it mailed to you.

You will probably be asked to pay for fees, deposits, or insurance, just in case something happens to the watch under your care. The charges would depend on the companies. 

Put it on your wrist, enjoy the watch, and return it when it is time and get your deposit back. 

Subscription

Subscriptions for luxury watches are the newer way to rent a watch. If the traditional rental is something you do not enjoy, you can consider to rent a watch this way.

You pay a monthly subscription fee to join the program, often for a set period. Once you sign up, you can get access to the collection of watches they have, and you can pick up any that you like. 

As long as you pay the subscription fee, you get to wear and change the watches as you see fit. 

Some companies have tiers to the subscription fee. If you sign up for higher fees, you can get access to more expensive watches. These watches are in better condition since fewer people are wearing them. 

Aside from the subscription fee, you might be required to pay for additional fees such as insurance or deposit. 

Where Can You Go To Rent A Watch

You can rent a watch from services such as:

  • Watch Lending Club
  • Borrowed Time
  • Samsom Watches

The watches available for you depends on your privilege and levels of access. 

Watch Lending Club

Watch Lending Club is a popular place to rent a watch. It works on a subscription model. You pay an ‘initiation fee,’ followed up by a monthly subscription. 

There are five levels to choose from, but you choose from four as an individual. The other level is a corporate subscription, which might not suit your personal needs.

The higher the level, the more initiation fee and monthly subscription you must pay. 

But you also get access to the best watches, and you will have priority access (wildcards) to the watches if multiple members want them at the same time. 

Higher-tiered members also get to choose what watch they want. The lowest level members get an ‘assigned subscription,’ meaning the company will assign you the watch to wear. 

BronzeSilverGoldPlatinum
Initiation Fee: $3,000
Monthly Fee: $150
Initiation Fee: $7,500
Monthly Fee: $250
Initiation Fee: $15,000
Monthly Fee: $350
Initiation Fee: $30,000
Monthly Fee: $500
No wildcards1 wildcard2 wildcards5 wildcards
Tier 1 onlyUp to Tier 3 limitUp to Tier 5No Tier limits
Assigned bookingStandard bookingStandard bookingAdvanced booking

You get to keep the watch of your choice for up to 90 days, with an additional 30 days allowed if nobody is waiting for it. Once you return a watch, you can immediately pick a new one. 

When reviewing their inventory, they have from your standard Rolexes to Patek Philippes. The watches are assigned to tiers, and your membership level will decide which tiers of watches you can access. 

Borrowed Time Watches

Suppose you do not want a long-term subscription and the expensive ‘initiation fee’ that Watch Lending Club charges. Then consider Borrowed Time.

Borrowed Time Watches offer two options – a one-time rental or a membership plan. You can rent watch for 4, 7, 10, 15, or 30 days.

With membership, you get 20% off one-time rental, a steeper special discount, and equity earning programs. It is just a fancier term for saying the more you rent, the more discounts they can give you when you rent or buy from us next time. 

The membership fee is $500, as stated on their website. 

Their watch collection is not as complete as the Watch Lending Club, with the ultra-luxury pieces missing from the collection. This is understandable, as the membership fees and rental arrangement might not suit very expensive watches. 

You still get to rent a watch from Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Panerai, Cartier, etc.

Sansom Watches

Sansom Watches is primarily a watch center, offering services such as repairs. It also sells watches and accessories. You can also rent a watch from them, which we will focus on here. 

Their rental model is the most straightforward – pay $200 to rent a watch for a weekend. 

The only thing you need to do is prepare the full price of the watch as a deposit or collateral. This is logical, as they need to ensure you do not run away with their watches. 

They do not specifically show the collection of watches available for rent. However, they mention on their website that ‘nearly everything in stock’ is rentable. 

When reviewing the watches they sell, They have a wide range of watches, from your standard Rolexes to the ultra luxury Patek Philippes. 

The ranges are just as good if not better than the Watch Lending Club, although it remains unknown if they are all rentable. 

Tips When Renting A Watch

When you rent a watch, ensure you are insured, and you take pictures of the watch’s condition before taking possession. Do understand that you are taking an expensive watch into your possession. That means liability to be careful about. 

Consider these tips to protect yourself better so that your luxury watch rental experience does not turn into a nightmare.

Inspect and Record Any Obvious Imperfections

When taking possession of the watch, take some time to inspect the watch and note any imperfections that might appear. 

Rentals are, after all, rentals, and people don’t care for them very well. 

If there are any, take pictures of the imperfections. Show and inform the company you are renting from the condition of the watch before you take control of it. 

This avoids future disputes in which the company might claim that you had inflicted the damage on the watch, when the damage was already there when you started renting it. 

Get Insurance

Enquire with the watch rental company if you get protection when you rent a watch with them.

If not, ask if there is any insurance that you can purchase to protect against the loss or breakage of the watch.

This is important in the unfortunate event that causes you to lose or break the watch; you do not have to pay for it yourself. These watches are not cheap, and without insurance, you will be talking about a significant payment. 

Sure this involves additional payment, but better safe than sorry.

Plus, by renting, you already save a considerable deal of money. You can afford to pay a little bit for the insurance. 

Stay Low Key

Some people will try to maximize their rentals by ‘flashing’ their watches, telling the world that they have something expensive on their wrist. 

It might not be a good idea to do this, for several reasons. 

One, it is very crass. You do not see rich people flash their watch and tell the world that they have a Patek Philippe Calatrava on their wrist. In fact, they stay very low-key about it. 

Secondly, you are attracting attention, and some of this attention might be dangerous. You might be exposing yourself to the attention of people who might try to steal or, worse, rob the watch from you. 

You can rent a watch for short or long-term leases, depending on the company you are engaging with. You can rent great luxury watches such as Rolex, Omega or Patek Philippe for an affordable price. Some rental also offer subscription package so you change watches more frequently. 

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of WatchPursuits.com, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

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