StockX hopes that their watch sales and data platform will be used by watchmakers to debut products, just as they are doing for the first time with Detroit, Michigan-based Shinola. StockX, made famous by its sneaker buying and selling platform, has successfully helped major shoemakers debut products on its platform with what they call an "IPO" (initial product offering). The term similarity to stock market IPOs (initial public offering) is intended. The first of these watch product IPOs on StockX will be Shinola's first mechanical watch, known as the Shinola Lake Erie Monster.
This diver's-style watch is the brand's first mechanical timepiece, as until now, all watches produced by Shinola contained quartz movements. Recall for a moment that part of the brand's shtick, is that the movements are assembled in America, with kits of parts that are produced in Switzerland. Assembling a mechanical watch versus a quartz one is in most instances a bit more complicated, but of course, the same types of watchmakers or technicians can be trained to do so.
Shinola calls the movement inside of the Lake Erie Monster (named after a mythical aquatic beast in the famed great lake with origins back to the mid 19th century), the caliber "Argomatic R-150" automatic movement. The same language to describe the origin of the quartz movements in Shinola timepieces is used for this automatic mechanical movement. Those operative statements are "Built in Detroit" and "Swiss & Imported Parts." Shinola also mentions that the Swiss movement kit the Argomatic R-150 automatic is based on is actually the Ronda R-150, which was revealed at Baselworld 2016 as the firm's first mechanical movement in decades.
For the six-year-old Shinola brand, this is a big step because now they can claim that in addition to quartz movements, their team is able to use mechanical movements assembled by Ronda. Shinola has long hinted at a mechanical movement-based watch, and the the Shinola Lake Erie Monster diver's watch is the first one. It also demonstrates the enduring power of the dive-style sport watch as having appeal to both traditional watch lovers, and the American watch consumers who represent the vast majority of Shinola customers.
The most interesting design element of the Shinola Lake Erie Monster timepiece is the caseback, which has a motif of the fantasy creature with a blue sapphire crystal stone set into the eye socket of the relief-engraved graphic. The watch case itself is in steel, and water resistant to 300m with a rotating diver's timing bezel. Case size is 43mm wide and over the dial is a sapphire crystal.
Dial design of the Shinola Lake Erie Monster watch is pleasant, with high-contrasting lume-filled hands and hour markers, against a black dial. A date window is neatly integrated into the four o'clock hour marker, and thankfully sports a matching black disc for the black face of the watch. My only complaint about the dial design at this point is the length of the hands, which are all about a millimeter or so too short given their relationship to the hour markers.
Shinola appears to include a matching steel bracelet along with two additional straps with the Lake Erie Monster timepiece. The additional straps include a black textile strap, as well as a black diver's-style rubber strap. The overall design of the Shinola Lake Erie Monster watch is conservative and familiar, but it manages to have enough visual distinction within the very wide universe of similarly equipped mechanical dive watches that are currently on the market.
This particular version of the Lake Erie Monster diver's watch is a limited edition of 500 pieces. Shinola likely hopes that this exclusivity will help create more attention on this debut mechanical timepiece, though the brand is no stranger to releasing limited edition products. Interestingly enough, five additional unnumbered pieces of the Lake Erie Monster watch will be auctioned off on the StockX platform starting on the November 7, 2017 (10am EST) launch date of the Shinola Lake Erie Monster timepiece, and lasting until November 12 (see more details on the StockX website). These five "000/500" watches will further come with some additional accessories and carrying cases to help sweeten the deal.
As is part of the StockX platform, the winning bidders of these five special "more limited" versions of the Shinola Lake Erie Monster timepiece will be able to immediately post them on StockX for resale. This is again part of how StockX works, allowing collectors and speculators alike to "own" a product, but at the same time immediately be able to re-post it for sale to another party. Proceeds of the initial auction results are said to go to local charities like The Empowerment Plan, Project ACT, and the Detroit Children's Fund. Additionally, the new dive watch is also available directly from Shinola. Auctions for the five unnumbered "StockX" versions of the larger limited edition collection Shinola Lake Erie Monster watches will begin at their retail price, which is $2,250 USD. shinola.com | stockx.com