When Shinola burst onto the scene in 2013 (the company was founded in 2011), it did so in a big way. The story of an American watch company setting up shop in hard-hit Detroit was undeniably huge and hard to ignore (in part because Shinola had behind it the full marketing might of Bedrock Brands, the venture capital firm out of Texas that also owns companies like Filson and Reel FX, among others). Rather quickly the brand built a lot of buzz and a following. In fact, other than a Sub, for a while it seemed as though the watch I would most commonly see on people’s wrists while walking down NYC’s streets was a Shinola (this was before the Apple Watch).
But Shinola was not without its detractors. From a watch enthusiast’s perspective, one of the biggest critiques focused on the brand’s price point and aggressive marketing. With regard to the former, Shinola watches are all quartz (Ronda) and range between $500 and $1,500, which is undeniably on the higher end of the spectrum for quartz. The latter then took aim at the brand’s emphasis on American manufacture, which some in the public (and the FTC) took issue with. Today, Shinola is answering some these past grievances with the Lake Erie Monster, the brand’s first mechanical timepiece and diver.