Service of It’s New to Me: Sharing Luxury Watches & Eyewear & Clever WC Access

August 7th, 2017

Categories: Fashion Accessories, Innovation, Memberships, Renting, Restaurant

I appreciate learning about fresh business practices and ideas. Here are three that were new to me.


We were at a tea shop in the Village the other week and discovered a clever way to control WC access for customers only. The login number to open the door on a lock system similar to the one above was printed on our receipt! Another customer had to point this out to us.

Rent Luxury

The next two examples relate to rentals. Most know that you can rent art, jewelry for posh events, movies, furniture, housing, cars, gowns, tents, tableware, tables and chairs for parties. I didn’t realize that there are businesses that rent high-end watches and designer eyewear!

Oh and today, what for years was called renting is today often called “sharing.”

Tick Tock

I heard about Eleven James from an acquaintance who recently started a job at “your annual membership club for luxury timepieces.” Its fees range from $149 to $800/month. Founded by Randy Brandoff in 2014, reporters Dennis Green and Hollis Johnson said his inspiration for the concept came from his former employer’s clients. As a NetJets executive he observed that the wealthy clientele of that company–that sells part ownership or shares of private business jets–loved luxury watches. Brands in the collection, according to the article, are new and vintage models of “Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, IWC, Tag Hueer, Tudor, Breitlig and more.” They are said to be worth “in the eight figures.”

On its website Eleven James promises to check, clean, resize and if necessary service every watch that members return. Members keep them from three to six months and collect points by treating them with care. The points allow them to upgrade their memberships and gain equity toward purchases.

Brandoff told the reporters that his customers fall into the “try before you buy” category; millennials discovering watches–they depend on their phones to tell time—and want to test what they think about wearing one before spending $thousands as well as recipients of corporate gifts.

I Can See Clearly Now sent me a press release in an email. On its Facebook page it describes itself as “a designer eyewear rental platform. You pay a monthly subscription and get unlimited pairs of sunglasses and optical wear [includes lenses & shipping].” According to their press release, members can “swap out pairs as desired and keep the ones they love for less than retail price.” Founded by Rida Khan, members have access to brands such as Tom Ford, Balmain, Jimmy Choo, Philip Lim and Versace.

According to the release, “Eyedesired offers both prescription glasses and sunglasses for men and women. The company carries frames from more than 100 fashion designers and brands in thousands of different styles. A basic subscription starts at $45*** per month and gives subscribers instant access to designer frames that retail from $200 to upwards of $1,000. Free single-vision lenses and shipping are included for optical rentals.” ***The website notes that unlimited sunglass rentals cost $29/month.

In addition to housing, what have you rented? If luxury watches and eyewear are your passions and money is no object, would you consider renting either or both?

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8 Responses to “Service of It’s New to Me: Sharing Luxury Watches & Eyewear & Clever WC Access”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    The practice of renting pricey stuff is great for those who hope to impress others. Not my idea of fun.

    Has anyone brought up the possibility that carelessness may result in eye diseases and a trip to the eye doctor if the glasses aren’t disinfected?

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    In a plane I once sat next to a lovely 20-something bride from the Midwest who told me how the fake Rolex her husband had bought for a few dollars [then] on Canal Street flummoxed a much older opponent in a trial. There are some businesses where appearance of success is crucial. And then there are people who love fine watches, as there are those who pay astronomical amounts of money for cars, art, jewelry which might puzzle some but not them.

    As for eyewear, I also wondered about germs which I suspect the company has addressed.

  3. HB Said:

    I think renting stuff is smart, and I’ve rented all sorts of things myself. from cars to boats, to costumes, to sporting equipment and so forth. It makes a lot more sense than owning if you are not going to use something expensive very often.

    Renting may have even saved my life many years ago during the 1950s, when I took a furlough from Army Service in Bavaria to go skiing at Sankt Johann, Alpendorf, Austria with friends. (I’m no skier, but these were the Austrian Alps in winter and I was a good sport. Besides, I wasn’t going to do anything fancy – just go up a hill on a lift and slide down it.) I rented boots and wooden skis, and off I went up a lift. Someone had shown me how to slow down and stop, but I hadn’t paid much attention. I pushed off, and almost immediately I was hurtling downhill completely out of control. I realized I had to stop and did instinctively by plowing into a snow bank by the side of the trail. Nothing happened to me, but the tips of the two skis had broken off, and I had to trudge back downhill carrying them.

    Back at the ski shop, I rented another set of skis and went back up the hill that afternoon. Almost exactly the same thing happened all over again, but this time I only broke one ski.

    The next morning, I talked the reluctant ski shop into renting me another pair pointing out that I was improving – The previous afternoon, I had only broken one ski, not two like in the morning. It did not take me any longer to break these two than it had the pair that morning before. This time, the ski shop had had enough. In self-protection, it banned me from the slopes, and by doing so, may well have saved my life.

    I didn’t suffer. I took a train south and spent the last three days of my holiday in Venice. Since then, I have always preferred my water liquid, except in drinks.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I giggle as I respond. What a story and so well put!

    I can’t add much to this except to recognize categories of traditional rentals I missed that you noted: skis, boats and costumes.

    When I rented skis in Colorado in the day they gave me the beginner’s version–very short skis. That made all the difference and probably would have saved five skis for the company you rented from. They were much easier to control. On the other hand, I was no daredevil and the first thing I did was take a lesson where I was taught how to zigzag down a slope. No zooming down steep hills for me! You are lucky you survived.

  5. Martha Takayama Said:

    It seems the tea room lock service is a way of making certain that people do make a purchase and don’t just occupy a seat to take advantage of free internet service. It sounds like the customer has to order and pay before being able to enjoy refreshments or use the internet. This seems a little awkward and I don’t’ understand if it guarantees internet protection for the user.

    I am not overwhelmed by but am very cynical about the need to spend a lot of time selecting from myriad examples of luxury or status symbol items for short term use, most of which do not even enhance one’s appearance. Garments, cosmetics (or even plastic surgery) can make one more or less attractive. The idea of sharing prescription glasses seems very confusing in view of all the times optometrists stated that previously purchased frames would not accommodate or withstand new lenses.

    I understand the economics of renting a special occasion dress or formal wear to comply with a dress code for one time use. Personally I don’t like the idea of sharing garments with strangers, and my sisters were reluctant to share within our family! I wonder also where all the incredibly specialized dry cleaners are hiding who permit luxurious and delicate fabrics to be restored to perfection after use.

    The need to find out how a time piece functions while trying to create a faux and “presidential” style image of affluence blended with power seems very superficial and immature. I am vain, love attractive clothing and accessories, makeup and good leather. I also think that less is often more and that style is not necessarily the fad of the moment.
    There is also something attractive about creatively and tastefully putting together an appearance within personal budget limits. It certainly must be less worrisome than wearing something rented.

    In the current moment it seems we might do better at thinking a little more about other matters than creating a Cinderella reality.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I think it’s a good idea for a business to control the use of its space. It pays astronomical rent and if a person can’t afford to buy a glass or cup of tea, then they should use the public library where WIFI is free. Maintaining the bathroom costs money and it’s a job nobody wants to do. Why should the general public have access to this small shop’s facilities without buying a little something?

    I have always loved to achieve a look and it is easier the more money a person has to spend but these days, there are many options at different price points. A person can look grand and not spend money for couture and luxury accessories.

    That said, some people think it is important and I support them. We all have our weaknesses. What I spend my money on might shock someone else and vice versa. I like the concept of being able to wear an expensive watch before plunking down a ton of money, if this accent is what’s important. If a person or corporation has the money, and the recipient is a lover of watches, what better gift for the person who has everything than a year’s subscription to Eleven James.

    I never thought about the point you made about prescriptions fitting eyewear. Surely the folks at have considered this complication, unless the companies that sell eyewear have sold you a bill of goods so that they can make more money on the new frames you are forced to buy. I am astounded at what Rx eyeglasses cost.

  7. Martha Takayama Said:

    Your observations about the shop and taking advantage of a small business are more thoughtful and realistic than mine.
    Also your thoughts about individual variations in taste and how to fulfill their wishes are also more realistic and understanding than those I expressed. Thank you for giving me a broader perspective and more understanding.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    A dear friend and great writer was planning to write a book on the topic of how people choose to spend their money and what one person considers frivolous is essential to someone else. Anyone with a roommate, business partner, spouse or significant other knows about this! She died of lung cancer before she could get to it.

    I’m sure that many can’t understand why Warren Buffett lives in the same house he bought in 1958 or why he has given away most of his money instead of leaving all of it to his children or why Michael Bloomberg is so generous with his $billions–why give so much away? I think Mr. Bloomberg owns only one or two pairs of shoes. The poorest looking people in the subway give beggars money. But this is a topic for another post!

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