The subscription model – where customers pay for access, but not necessarily ownership – is familiar, but in the world of timepieces, it is not common. Breitling wants to change that with BreitlingSelect, its new subscription-based program.
More accurately, BreitlingSelect is a combination of a subscription and instalment payment plan. It starts with the wearer rotating amongst a handful of trial watches over a year while paying a monthly fee. But at the end of this period, the total fee paid can be put towards buying one of the watches worn during the trial.
Timepiece subscription isn’t novel. New York-based ElevenJames launched with much fanfare in 2013, before shutting down quietly five years later. There have been plenty more similar services offered in several of the world’s major watch markets, but few have been sustainable.
Breitling clearly believes that its subscription service can buck that trend. The crucial difference between BreitlingSelect and everything that has come before is the brand – the service is being offered by the watch manufacturer itself, which should make the economics a bit more sound.
However, the current range of models in BreitlingSelect is relatively bland, with most of the brand’s fancier models, namely those powered by the in-house Calibre 01, being unavailable. The scope is wide, in the sense that it covers almost all of the case shapes and sizes that Breitling offers, which again makes it useful for someone who wants something from the brand but hasn’t yet made up their mind.
How it works
BreitlingSelect gives members the chance to try up to three different models over 12 months, for between one to six months for each watch.
Subscribers can choose their timepieces from an online catalogue made up of models from the Navitimer, Avenger, SuperOcean, Premier, and Aviator 8 collections. After a watch is returned, the next timepiece can be selected via the same online portal.
The commitment is for 12 months and starts with a one-time fee of US$450, as well as monthly payments of US$129. In all, the bill is US$1,998 for the opportunity to wear three Breitling timepieces for a year.
But the total paid is not only a subscription fee. At the end of the one-year contract, subscribers can elect to purchase one of the watches that they tried out. The monthly subscription fees already paid can be converted into “Squad Points” used to offset the final purchase price of the timepiece, making the monthly fees a down payment of sorts on the final purchase.
BreitlingSelect is available in the United States for now and slated to launch in Austria, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland in the upcoming months.
Source: Watches by SJX