By this point, Shinola hardly needs any introduction. From media coverage to their own ad campaigns, they’ve made sure that everyone with an interest in watches and American made goods knows who they are. Should you have somehow missed all of that, or just care for a refresh check out our intro to the brand, and our visit to their NYC store. Other than getting known, one of the things Shinola has done very well is make us almost forget just how new they are. Last week, when I had the chance to see their up coming watches, it was hard for me to remember that the first time we saw these in person was at BaselWorld last April, and that they only made it to customers a few months ago.
Their next model builds off of their Runwell with the introduction of a chronograph. The design adds 2 horizontal sub-dials just above center, one for the active seconds, the other for the 30-minute totalizer, as well as a date window at 6. The design works very well with the Runwell format. The dial, which keeps the large, military-esque numerals, is busier, but well balanced. The space is used very well, leaving no gaps or feeling crowded and maintaining symmetry.
The additional hands and indexes add an instrument feeling that plays off of the already present Americana-Detroit-Automotive-Industrial sensibility behind the design. My one issue is that on the darker dials, the date window looked abrupt and didn’t blend. I wish that the window itself had been a touch rounded to reflect the case design, and that the date disks matched the dials.
I had the chance to try on a 47mm version with a black dial that featured cream markers, orange hands and sub-dials with a contrasting finish. Despite the large diameter, the watch looked and felt right on my wrist. The design is bold and masculine, but not severe in anyway. The mix of colors in this specific version was also very appealing, having a bit a of a vintage look, and a nice bit of warmth. As someone who typically wears boots, jeans and dark colors (I’m a New Yorker after all) I could easily see how it would fit in with my wardrobe.
Powering the Runwell Chronograph is their “Argonite 5021”, which is a Detroit assembled Rhonda quartz. Though they’re still a long way from mechanical (if they ever decide to go that direction), adding a chronograph to the collection is a smart move and aesthetically spot-on. The Runwell Chronograph will be available soon in 41 and 47mm, various dial colors and strap options always with domed sapphire crystals. Prices range from $750 on American made leather to $900 on their new Detroit assembled bracelet. This is a high price for a quartz chronograph, but it reflects that they are a retail brand and one with clearly a lot of overhead. Aesthetically, these watches are pretty spot-on and just unique enough to stand-out. Whether or not that balances the premium price is really up to you and your budget.