The introduction this year of high-profile tech and design exemplars Apple Watch and Ikepod Megapode Date have gotten people in a tizzy. The humble watch has got our attention again for the first time since the first iPhone commandeered our device-lust way back in 2007. This means Netflix-for-watches startup Eleven James has emerged at just the right time. The hope for Eleven James is that the buzz spills over and down into the deep reserve and rich history of traditional watch technology -- the expert design and craftsmanship that have been calling cards at the industry pinnacle for hundreds of years.
Eleven James's website
The appeal of 'old' and retro technology in this age of smartphones bodes well for Eleven James. The new company allows members to draw on a truly huge catalog of beautifully crafted devices, giving millennials the chance to savor at a much deeper level the same standard of design and craftsmanship they have now come to demand in their always-on, app-addled and overcomplicated pocket computers.
I graduated from college only a few short months ago, and with my professional debut approaching felt the need to work out the specifics of something like my adult style. I have fading memories of famous men in old Hollywood movies mingling expensive wrist watches with sometimes-copious amounts of arm hair. Add a cigar to the image in your mind's eye for instant gravitas and machismo. But being of a new generation myself, and thus not really interested so much in the ways of male posturing, Eleven James piqued my interest by giving rise to visions of brands I've (and my friends, for that matter) never heard adorning my newly-minted adulthood, prestige ticking on to eternity in a never-ending dance of rare and dear brushed metals, musty leather in tandem with the precise, lurching click of a beautiful metronomic wrist wrap.
A sampling of the Eleven James watch collection
The next step in accessing this rarefied world was choosing a plan to dovetail my expected post-graduate debt levels. And what if I chose a watch that I was less than crazy about? Eleven James had me covered. The bevy of plans offered by the company corresponded to both my budget now and the budget I'm hoping for ten years hence. With these plans comes the option to discard a watch after a few months and move on to another 'favorite' I've recorded on my list, assuaging any commitment anxiety I had. Ladies and gentlemen this is the grand tour of horology as only your rich uncle could have imagined it even a few short years ago.
Looking into Eleven James it's easy to tell that CEO Randy Brandoff (with a surname like that, the man is a born-chief executive) has taken new Microsoft chairman Satya Nadella at his word when the latter recently opined that the chief task of a CEO is not strategy nor product development but something much more primal: repetition.
Brandoff informs us that the magic of his startup lies not in the watches per se but rather in access: access to the world of luxury the frequent delivery of haute watches into your clutching arms represents. Brandoff repeats this message like Eleven James repeats watch delivery; craftsmanship, materials, design renewed several times a year in a sleek message of your transient personal taste and style.
But what if I want to stop the dating game, end my watch-Tinder rampage and settle down? Not only is this allowed under Eleven James, but the carrousel of high-end watches may even 'teach' you your personal style and guide you to your 'mate' in one last, epic swipe to the right. Eleven James offers an ownership program for long-time customers who are ready to commit. Now that I'm wiling away the hours in professional school, I'm going to need a great timepiece to track when this lecture on property law gets a bit long in the tooth. I'm happy to report that Eleven James has got me covered.