“[There are] a handful of employees remaining at the company,” reported senior editor Jon Bues, quoting former employees. “No public announcement has been made because Eleven James is trying to reclaim as many watches as possible as it winds down. The likely fear is that if customers know that the company is folding, they might try to hold on to the watches indefinitely.”
Following the story, Robi Cai, its former head of strategy and corporate development, wrote on LinkedIn that “the cat’s out of the bag.”
Cai had told Hodinkee that, after its main lender had pulled its line of credit, the site was unable to raise further funds, leading it to wind down in June.
Eleven James—named after James Bond—was founded in 2013 by luxury executive Randy Brandoff, who saw an opportunity to bring the “sharing economy” ethos to the watch business.
For a subscription fee, which started at $249, users could borrow $5,000-plus watches, with the option to buy ones they liked.
“It gives customers more variety,” Brandoff told JCK last year. “They can try watches. It’s a chance to date watches before they marry.”
That same year, Brandoff stepped away from the company. In November, its chairman Olivier Reza replaced him as CEO, and the company announced it was “reinvent[ing] itself as a luxury marketplace.” It introduced Watch and Earn, a consignment program, as well as curated collections designed to match users’ personality types.
Reza’s LinkedIn page says he left the company in July.
The site had raised $10 million following its launch and another $30 million in January 2017, which included a $20 million senior secured term loan from Great American Capital Partners and $10 million in equity financing from existing investors and management. In November, it sold another $1.7 million in securities.
Email requests for comments sent to Eleven James’ customer service department were not returned, nor were requests for comment from company executives. No one answered the phone at its customer service line. An executive from Great American Capital did not return a request for comment.
(Image courtesy of Eleven James)