Being separated from our watchmaking partners can be difficult. Most of what we see and hear from the brands takes the form of new releases when they are revealed to the world (or sometimes slightly before that). Without the movement of people, the rumor mill runs dry. Non-physical developments made by brands are easy to miss unless the brand communicates them directly. One brand that has made a good fist of that during this Covid-stricken era, is Breitling. And now the brand unveils a novel watch subscription program we hope will be of interest to readers, enabling an Authorized-Dealer-starved clientele to “try before they buy”.

Last year, Breitling announced its new blockchain security system. It was one of Breitling‘s new initiatives to improve consumer confidence during these trying times. With this new subscription service, Breitling offers customers the chance to test-drive three of their favorite Breitling watches over a 12-month period before deciding which one to actually buy. It is, in this writer’s opinion, a fantastic idea to fill the noticeable void created by the restrictions enforced upon authorized dealers. With customers unable to visit their local AD to try on and experience new products firsthand, sales have surely suffered.


Bridging the gap

This initiative will bridge the gap between prospective clients and watches. Hopefully, in a very different way from the security-centric blockchain system, this idea will also bolster consumer confidence. Gone will be the initial fear that you’ve made the wrong decision after having little option to “buy blind”.

Known as #BreitlingSelect, this subscription service is pretty much unheard of from an independent watch brand. While the manifestation of this move is very much physical, it can be seen as a further effort by the brand to support its digital platforms. It is, I believe, a welcome half-way house that hands the buyer more agency and puts them in far more comfortable position.

Breitling Superocean Heritage '57 Watch 18

When and where is it available?

The new service will be available to customers in the United States from March 9th. That’s today for anyone that isn’t within sight of a calendar. Other countries will follow soon after. And how do you access this opportunity as soon as it reaches your region? Simply register on, sign your 12-month contract, pay a one-off subscription fee of $450, and then monthly payments of $129 thereafter. Then you choose your first watch and it will be delivered to your home.


Which watches can I choose?

You can select three models from a specified portfolio of options. This will include some of Breitling’s bestsellers. All of the watches comprising this portfolio will be fully refurbished watches. You will have the chance to wear all three of them consecutively over a 12 month period. After that, you have the option to purchase one of them as part of a special offer, which reflects the “squad points” you have accumulated by that point.


A few words from the men in charge

“This program is a natural extension of our ambitious digital strategy, most visible through our thriving e-commerce and our new blockchain-enabled digital passport. Both reset the way we engage with our clients. This is not only a substantial innovation in the watch industry but also a demonstration of Breitling’s inclusive luxury approach,” says Georges Kern, Breitling’s CEO.

experiencing Breitling and its iconic watches.

Breitling’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Antonio Carriero, continues, “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.”


I like it. This is a smart move by Breitling. It kills a whole flock of birds with one cleverly crafted stone. The fear of buying blind, which is an ever-present concern for digital marketplaces, is removed. It fills the gap left by inaccessible authorized dealers. Neatly, it gives Breitling a way to offload refurbished (but presumably otherwise unsellable) watches. Perhaps best of all, it offers those pieces at a fair price to the customer without risking the brand’s reputation by openly shifting these watches at a discount.


Will there be cynics? Sure. You can look at this with open eyes and come down on either side of the fence. As someone who happily buys pre-loved watches and returns them to the manufacturer to be refurbished, I have no problem whatsoever with buying a watch in this way. I can’t wait to see what options make it into the portfolio. It will be fun to consider Breitling pieces I could choose to test drive over the coming months and years.