Can’t afford a designer watch yet? You can now rent one

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Photo: Facebook screengrab

Aspirational Singaporean men can now rent expensive luxury watches through two new “subscription watch clubs,” wherein renters pay a daily fee for the joy of using them—albeit temporarily. Costs can go as low as S $6 per day, but security deposits and membership fees definitely raise prices.

There are two such “subscription watch clubs,” which have already been operating in the country for some time now, called TenTwo and Acquired Time. Another club, Specter One, is opening this month.  

Designer brands such as Rolex, Cartier, and Tudor are the most common choices by those who aspire toward a crazy rich lifestyle, but micro-brands owned by Singaporean startups are also available, such as BOLDR, Vilhelm, Reverie and Acturus were also introduced by Ten Two. These so-called micro-brands make only fewer than 500 hundred watches every year.

The concept behind the TenTwo and Acquired Time platforms is that when a someone rents a luxury watch, it will eventually entice them to purchase one later on. Some of these watches can go for more than ten thousand dollars, such as a Rolex Submariner, which sells for over S $11,000.

This way, people with discriminating tastes can find out which luxury timepiece they like the most before plunking down cold hard cash right away, just to experience buyer’s regret later on when they realize that it’s not the exact timepiece they want after all.

Specter One’s origin story is a little different. Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Real Business Club and Singapore Institute of Management’s Young Entrepreneurship Network held a joint business hackathon at the beginning of last year. By the end of the year, a luxury watch rental business pitch was made to SMU’s Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (IIE) Incubator program, which greenlit it. This October, Specter One, true to its millennial origins, will get itself launched on social media.

Members of Ten Two pay S$ 179 monthly for a year. They can choose between such designer watches such as the Cartier Santos, which sells for S$ 8,500, or the Rolex Submariner or Tudor Black Bay, selling for S$5,000.

On the other hand, Acquired Time has levels that differ in membership price as well as the prices of the watch themselves. There are 4 levels for Acquired Time, ranging from Nomad, costing S $125 per month, all the way to the Wayfarer, at S$375 monthly. Applicants must retain their membership for at least 6 months. Wayfarer members can choose a watch like the Rolex Daytona, costing more than S $18,000.

Acquired Time also requires first-time members to pay a security deposit for any possible damages. This amount will be returned once the watch comes back to the company in good condition. Members are held liable for loss and damage.

It is still undisclosed what kind of membership levels that Specter One will have, but the company will offer a special level for those who only want to rent luxury watches for special events and do not want to opt for long-term membership quite yet.

The number of members of Ten Two and Acquired Time has not been made public.

These companies are looking at the possibility of expanding their offer to women in the future.