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By Chris | December 14 2013
Kings Jewelers has been in business for 101 years, so one could say they must have a pretty good sense of trends in the marketplace, adapting to changing times, surviving and thriving.
Therefore when David King talks about the future, it makes sense to listen. “The concept of high-end rentals has affluent consumers of luxury goods adapting to a fresh and intelligent approach to affordable and accessible luxury,” he says, adding, “This new mentality is a direct response to the demand from the savvy and conscious consumer.”
King whose family has been retailing luxury jewelry and watches since 1912 says many times customers compromise on what they really want because of price. “Renting can be the answer to all your styling needs,” he says.
He parallels renting high-end watches and jewelry to exotic cars, mega-yachts, private jets, vacation timeshares and vacation homes.
Luxury items be it handbags or watches can usually be rented for around five percent of manufacturer suggested retail prices for a designated timeframe, according to King. And to take advantage of what he sees as unfulfilled demand he has launched Hautevault.com described as “the luxury of jewelry and watch rentals.”
There are four membership levels that allow rentals of items retailing for between $5,000 and $100,000. As an example, a Chanel J12 Black watch retailing for $14,130 rents for $500 a week or $1,800 per month. The Cartier Pasha Perpetual Calendar that retails for $52,120 rents for $960 a week or $3,456 per month. Need a stunning necklace for a one-time gala? An 18k White Gold 30ct Rose Cut Diamond and Pearl Necklace that sells for $98,500 rents for $2,450 a week. Customers receive and return using FedEx overnight and if you want to extend the rental or buy, your rental fees are applied.
Featured jewelry designers include Antonini, Charles Krypell, Judith Ripka, Jude Francis, Leslie Greene, LeVian, Marco Bicego, Nanis, Penny Preville, Roberto Coin, Stephen Webster and Yvel while watch brands include Breguet, Breitling, Bovet, Roger Dubuis, IWC, Jaeger-Le Coultre, Rolex, Panerai, Hublot, Harry Winston Audemars Piguet, Zenith, Corum, Chopard, BRM, Dubey & Schaldenbrand and more.
King notes the success of rental sites such as Bag Borrow or Steal and Rent the Runway as how the luxury rental market has expanded beyond jets and villas.
“The commonality for all rental customers is that they are able to access a broader retinue of luxury goods. HauteVault.com, for example, is one of the most reputable companies in the new wave,” the Nashville-based King says.
However, King doesn’t see his site as simply an ecommerce website. “They are quickly becoming luxury lifestyle brands. These (luxury rental) companies recognize that customer expectations for service are at the highest level when dealing with luxury brands which is why companies like Haute Vault take a ‘white glove’ service approach to customers,” King says noting 24/7 service and staff concierges to help customers make selections.
King believes the market for luxury watch and jewelry is in its ‘infancy,’ however with a century long record of making the right moves, Kings Jewelers and its Haute Vault may well be ahead of the curve.