Made In Detroit, A Visit To Shinola Watches

Made In Detroit, A Visit To Shinola Watches

Made In Detroit, A Visit To Shinola Watches   look inside manufacture

aBlogtoWatch takes you inside the new factory of Detroit-based Shinola. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, you’ve undoubtedly heard the buzz about a new watch brand, one that hails from within our own shores – right here in the good old US of A. The brand is Shinola, and the buzz has been loud. Deservedly so. There hasn’t been a large brand manufacturing watches in the United States for decades, and a return to that industry – particularly in a home base such as Detroit – is exciting.

There are a number of important aspects to understand about this new company, and lots of questions we wanted answered. A few weeks back, I was treated to an on-site visit at Shinola’s new Detroit factory, where I got an inside look at the operation and had my questions answered. But before I delve into the “Whats, Hows, and Whys” of the Shinola brand itself, it is important to understand a few important background points:

Made In Detroit, A Visit To Shinola Watches   look inside manufacture

Made In Detroit, A Visit To Shinola Watches   look inside manufacture

1. Once upon a time, American-Made watches were amongst the best – if not the best in the world. We’re talking pre-World War II here.

2. There really are no major manufactures left in the United States. Yes, there are some small (and very impressive) brands manufacturing in the USA, but nobody has the large production capacities capable of being a force on the global market.

3. The majority of brands still in existence from the “Golden Era” of American watchmaking, are owned by the major international conglomerates, and production has long since been moved overseas, so whatever “American History & Heritage” that these companies espouse in their marketing campaigns is for nostalgia only – most are made entirely in Asia or Switzerland.

Made In Detroit, A Visit To Shinola Watches   look inside manufacture

Made In Detroit, A Visit To Shinola Watches   look inside manufacture

With these things in mind, it is understandable why a whole new generation of watch enthusiasts would get their skirts blown up by a resurgence in American watchmaking. I mean, how awesome would it be to make quality watches in America again?! The same national pride we feel for well-made American automobiles can be applied here. It is fitting, then, that Shinola’s home base is Detroit – the heart of American manufacturing and a city in the throes of a renaissance in its own right.

The Shinola name itself is not a new one, but unless you served in Bastogne or Guadalcanal you probably haven’t heard of it. The brand is known (at least, to The Greatest Generation) as a manufacturer of wax-based shoe polish in the first half of the 20th century, which was also supplied to soldiers during the Second World War. Long since defunct, the original brand exists now only as the butt of a colloquialism coined by GIs during WWII – “You Don’t Know Shit from Shinola.”

Since their rebirth, Shinola has made their headquarters at the Argonaut building in Detroit, and last year they began offering an impressive collection of leather goods and accessories, journals, and American-made bicycles. These products are available online through their website, and will also be for sale at two new Shinola boutiques opening next month in Detroit and New York City.

Made In Detroit, A Visit To Shinola Watches   look inside manufacture

See more articles about:

Watch Brands

16 comments
karsonb
karsonb

Awesome story and I want one.

JasonDunn
JasonDunn

Now they just need to make one big enough to fit a 10-foot tall Robocop statue.

DustForEyes
DustForEyes

Great work by these guys. I wish them every success. I look forward to international releases.

Ryan B
Ryan B

It's exciting to hear about another American watch co. kicking ass and taking names. I wish them great success.

drUspeh
drUspeh

Really interesting watch! But when registering on the website is not possible to register up to U.S. address. Thus there is no international shipment. It is a pity I would have bought something for my collection.

KeithNagel
KeithNagel

love their product line. Brining back American manufacturing in the city that defines the term. Can't wait to see a mechanical entry.

MLR13000
MLR13000

I am from Detroit, and we are very proud of this development. The author was very kind, and we appreciate the positive things said about the city. The economic collapse may have hurt other big cities, but it crushed ours. Its hard to be the butt of many jokes, and made fun of on national TV. There are many people here that remember what a great city Detroit had been, and just  maybe a new industry can be the start of the turn around. Thanks for a great article.

CG
CG

I wish them the greatest amount of success... they need a custom department to link in advertising specialty watches for indy500, pikes peak, racing, skiing, US sporting federations, Olympics etc etc this would be fun to have a usa made watch for usa clients.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

I was so impressed when I first saw these a few months back that I posted a link right here in the blog.  I really like some of the designs and I think they have a lot of potential to make a great business.  Let's just hope they get the support they need to become established.

TimelyOne
TimelyOne

A bit pricey at $500-600 for a quartz movement three hander. But when I went online to see what was available, they were sold-out. You can't argue with success! Obviously, the cognoscenti know **** from Shinola.

ShinolaBrian
ShinolaBrian

@drUspeh We will be offering international shipping this summer when we release our full watch line. Thank you!

drUspeh
drUspeh

@ShinolaBrian @drUspeh Thank you! I look forward to the opportunity to get real watch from Detroit. Maybe watch industry will return to Detroit to its former power and glory. ;)

Trackbacks

  1. […] Shinola. Yes you can giggle about the name, but let's move on… Shinola was (re)formed to make the best possible products for reasonable prices, and specifically in the USA. Once a producer of shoe polish (actually they once again make shoe polish for about $8.50 per can), the still new and hot brand makes a range of items but primarily timepieces. aBlogtoWatch took you inside Shinola watch manufacture in Detroit here. […]