Why make a watch factory in Detroit? Shinola doesn’t shy away from the question. Instead they lean into it: “we don’t think American manufacturing ever failed for being too good. Our worst didn’t come when we were at our best. It happened when we thought good was good enough.”
Fast forward from the days of the booming “U.S. Made” era and Shinola is doing their part to put the Detroit economy back on the map by declaring it “the new watchmaking capitol of America.” By taking over 30,000 square feet of a warehouse for production, Shinola is sourcing quality steel, leather, and mechanical components to make a level of watches that “hasn’t been made in this country for more than 40 years.” They’ve had Ronda AG, the renowned Swiss-based watch movement manufacturer come in and rigorously train the Shinola watch making team. They’re also sourcing movement parts from the same company to make the Argonite 1069 quartz movement for their first batch of watches.
On the outside, you’re looking at Horween leather straps, polished stainless steel with engraved case backs, domed sapphire crystals, and clean, illuminated dials for easy reading. Shinola’s first collection of watches, called The Runwell, comes in 40mm and 47mm sizes. These models are nearly identical, even in price ($550), but differ only in size. The aesthetic is simple and reminiscent of good old fashioned Americana–from the classic, round case to the vintage lightning bolt branding on the dial and crown, Shinola has paid attention to the details. Take a closer look at the dial and this becomes more evident in the retro fonts, numeral style, and color way of black, cream, and a hint of orange on the small seconds hand.
Shinola makes all of their watches by hand, so the initial runs of 1000 / 47mm and 1500 / 40mm have already sold out. With overwhelming support and a high demand, the company has reassured that new models are in the pipeline. And if you can’t wait to get your hands on some Shinola gear, fret not, since the company makes a whole bunch of other products right here in the USA too.
From bikes designed in-house to hand crafted journals made of linen, Shinola has a diverse line up of quality products at launch. One specialty in particular is fine leather goods. With wallets, bags, and an assortment of tech cases, they have something for everyone.
by Tom Caruso