What was the first thing anybody said to me and my co-founder after we told them we wanted to start an online business renting out watches? Well, they didn't really say anything. Instead, our pitches were usually met with blank, confused stares as if to say, "You guys are idiots. Who rents a watch?" Well, for starters...I do.
Let me state what's probably obvious. I LOVE watches. When it comes to styles and brand names, I don't discriminate.* Here's my problem though... as much as I love watches, I own very few. My current job pays decent money, but after 401k contributions, mortgage payments, and everything else, there's only so much left for an expensive watch habit.
The last time I bought a watch, I bought a Panerai Radiomir. It's a beautiful watch. Six months later though, I noticed another model - an IWC Classic Pilot. Suddenly, my six-month new watch didn't look so new anymore. But what if I could sell my watch, and buy that new IWC with the cash raised? Hmmm....not gonna happen. Pawning my 6-month old Panerai wouldn't get me close to what I paid retail. Could i afford to do so? Sure, and pawn shop owners are wonderful people, but they don't pay their bills by paying fair value for the jewelry that walks into their stores.
What about renting a watch? I'd heard of websites like Avelle.com that rent handbags, watches, and other accessories for women. What about watches for men? I googled "rent watches for men". Three websites turned up. One website said "bling" seven times in their "About Us" section. The other two were okay, but their selection of styles wasn't great. Between the three of them, the common denominator was their inability to inspire any sort of confidence or trust - there were no firm Terms & Conditions on any of the websites. I thought, there's got to be a better way to do this.
So, along with my co-founder, our savings, and some help from some very talented and loyal friends, we created Club Chronos. We've set out to build a small business that customers can rely on and trust. When you rent from Club Chronos, you'll always receive a genuine timepiece. We have no automated customer service systems in place, so your emails or phone calls will always be met with another person on the other end.
So... after three months of renting watches our way, do we have an honest, BS-free answer to the question: "Who rents a watch?
In fact, yes. So far, 37 people have rented and returned genuine luxury watches. Some rented for job interviews. Some rented for Vegas. Some women even rented for their boyfriends. As expected, we had a number of orders from stolen credit cards and a few calls from guys asking questions like "So...uh...what happens if somebody doesn't ...you know...return a watch?" Well, what happens is we don't rent watches to them in the first place because they ask obvious, asshatted questions like "So..uh..what happens if..." You get the point.
One last thing before I sign off: 1% of all Club Chronos revenues are donated to Kiva, a non-profit organization benefiting entrepreneurs in developing nations across the world. After that, 100% of Club Chronos profits are reinvested into either our customer service, technology, or the expansion of our portfolio of watches. So thank you to all of our customers - because every time you rent from Club Chronos, you make Club Chronos better.