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Breitling USA floats $2,000 try-before-you-buy watch subscriptions

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Breitling has invented a subscription service for certified pre-owned watches that encourages customers to try out up to three second hand watches in a year for just under $2,000 before they commit to buy one.

#BreitlingSelect is launching first in the United States this month, with Austria, Germany, France, UK, and Switzerland penciled in to get the offer next. No dates have been disclosed for the UK roll out.

One challenge for the offer is that it requires several paragraphs to explain it, which is never a great starting point, but bear with us …

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The deal, named #BreitlingSelect, starts with a one-time subscription fee of $450 and is followed by 12 monthly payment of $129 for a total of $1,998.

Once signed-up, customers choose their first watch, which can be delivered to their home.

Every watch in the Select collection is pre-owned, but fully serviced and refurbished by Breitling, including a new leather strap (metal bracelets will not be replaced).

The watches come from across Breitling collections including Superocean, Avenger and Navitimer. Their average value stands at $4,900, a spokesperson clarified for WatchPro.

Breitling’s hope is that, having tried on three watches, the customer will fall sufficiently in love with at least one and want to buy it.

Despite the two grand annual subscription, there is no discount when it comes to buying one of the watches, but Squad Points, a Breitling loyalty rewards program, can be put towards the purchase and signing up to #BreitlingSelect does accrue Squad Points.

If customers do not buy one of the three watches they try, $2,000 per year for a rotation of watches valued at $4,900 is still reasonable value.

A $5,000 brand new watch bought on finance from an authorised dealer in the US would take 30 months to pay off at $167 per month.

Breitling has a number of initiatives that encourage customers to keep buying and selling watches inside a ring-fenced network of its own stores, ecommerce platform and its partners’ stores.

The brand wants customers to trade-in and trade-up watches through its own network rather than sell them on eBay or Chrono24 and is rolling out blockchain-based authentication on new watches so that they can be checked throughout their decades of life. This means Breitling and its authorized dealers can profit from the buying and selling of used watches many times over.

#BreitlingSelect is an extension of this because, once pre-owned watches are back within the authorized ring fence, they should remain on the inside as people take them on subscription or buy them. Every watch will leave a digital vapour trail that can be tracked by the brand.

“Simply expressed, #BreitlingSelect gives the choice to our clients through an exemplary digital experience. Once again, we uniquely leverage our digital properties to bring additional benefits to experiencing Breitling and its iconic watches. always with the customer at the center, for a deeper engagement,” says Breitling’s chief digital and technology officer, Antonio Carriero.

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