Shinola, beautiful watches made in Detroit


I need to pick up a can of this just in case I need to teach some young-uns some basic life skills…


Lovely watches. But Shinola… I can only think of shit from Shinola. Must… focus… on… watches…


Don’t know about you… but in my day we used this:

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Ya, but saying “Son, this is shit and this is Kiwi” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…


It is easy to tell shit from the black Shinola. The brown kind is a little harder.

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$800 for a generic quartz watch? Um, what am I missing? I’m all about the cool watches, but I’m a total spring bigot. With those, at least you have a connection to the classic craftsmanship of a mid-century wristwatch. With Shinola, it’s quartz blanks in retro cases at premium prices. No thanks.


I agree. It’s a nice looking watch but that’s a steep price for a quartz movement. Drop an automatic movement in there and now we’re talkin’!


however, see this NYTimes article asserting “you’re buying into the liberal idea of what supporting a distressed economy means.”

see also this Racked article asserting Shinola is “essentially greenwashing with a Made-in-USA angle.”

pretty on the outside, generic on the inside - simulacrum of authenticity, playing the do-good card - ick


Shinola watches have an excellent design aesthetic, but it’s a bit of a cynical ploy to emphasize the “Made in USA” angle when these cases are simply filled with commoditized quartz movements (not made here, incidentally).
I think I’ll save my money.

Whait! Detroit still exist?

To each their own, but ignoring the rather dubiously valid “made in Detroit” claim, I don’t find these watches “beautiful” at all – they are chunky like Soviet watches and all seem to be labeled with numbers on their faces like watches for children just learning how to tell time.

I really don’t know how the “Made In USA” claim is a problem. Since the end of the Second World War, US companies have used Swiss-made watch movements and components to assemble watches, with no problem selling them here. Examples are Benrus, Bulova, Elgin, Gruen, and Hamilton. There are many others, most now entirely foreign made or with foreign components. And the products of the earlier companies were beautifully-made and serviced watches, most (like my 1960-eras Bulova, still running well today. That we now have a company in Detroit doing the same thing, giving work to our own citizens, seems a good reason to buy them if they are the equivalent or better of any other watch–always a personal consideration. Even the lowly Times, made in our own Little Rock, Arkansas, during and after WW2, was an American timepiece established with foreign capital, by the Norwegian government, to shelter its assets from the Nazis.

Shinola… created by Bedrock Manufacturing, a venture capital firm backed by Tom Kartsotis, founder of Fossil Inc. So it’s a quartz Fossil watch on the inside, but it’s “made in Detroit” … so $800!



There really may not be a difference between shit and shinola? Is that the take away lesson?


Yes, but did any of these companies wrap themselves in the flag and pride themselves as all-American companies? If anything they prided themselves on using Swiss movements.

These are generally considered grossly overpriced Swiss quartz movements in Chinese cases.

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The Economist recently covered Shinola twice, first about the company and second as an example of ghost branding.

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Yeah I don’t understand how they can charge $800 for a battery-powered watch. They seem nice, but there are plenty of “nice” battery powered watches for many hundreds less. Even nice ones with automatic movements. I’d rather pick up an Ingersoll.

Extremely clunky design, case and graphics. Without context I would have placed this in a fairground grab machine.