Presentation is key for the Shinola brand, and something they excel at. When I got the watch, it was beautifully wrapped in tissue paper, with a ribbon and a sticker that said “Shinola Detroit, Where American is Made.” It was in a very sturdy cloth handled bag. There was a card attached to the ribbon which said “Thank You” then a handwritten: “We hope you enjoy your watch. Your friends at Shinola.” Seriously? Yes, seriously. So, off comes the tissue paper, and a black cardboard outer box is embossed with “Shinola.” That protective cover protects the wooden box, which is relief stamped with “Shinola Detroit” and a likeness of the factory. The box lid is beveled, has a magnet closure, and the hinges are brass. I open the box to find the most stylish black Styrofoam I have ever seen. The inset lid panel is black stained wood. The watch is inset into yet another box, which has a small container of Leather Care Balm. Underneath that box is another box. That box contains the owner’s manual, the warranty, a book called “A Journey of Quartz & Steel,” a cardboard card with a metal textured credit card -sized plaque, in relief, that says “Built By: Stefan Mihoc,” and the series number. Stefan’s name is stamped into the metal of the card, and you can see it embossed by hand. And, finally, there is a soft, hand-stitched leather envelope style pouch for storing, or traveling with the watch.
I would not have been surprised to find a card with an 800 number to call a concierge to come and set the watch the first time. How could this be? This $600.00 watch came with more thoughtful bells and whistles than any of my ultra-high end watches ever came with. No detail was left out, and the sense of pride, and dedication to please a customer upon receipt of his or her new watch, was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Shinola seems to have understood that the presentation of a watch is extremely important in the perception of its value. Unlike most quartz department store watches, this is one actually understands what the luxury buying experience is all about.
So, all of this really sets the tone for what is to come. It really made me smile and get excited about the product. Now let’s get back to the watch!
In my opinion the Shinola Runwell feels very solid and heavy. The case is in two pieces held in place by four screws at the base of each of the sets of lugs. The sapphire crystal is slightly domed, which gives it a nice retro 1940’s-type feel. The dial is matte black with large hour numerals. There is a sub dial at 6’oclock for the running seconds. The hand is orange with a nice arrow detail. The hour and minute hands are black, and nicely shaped with a bright green lume inset. The hour index markers are also lumed. The screw down crown has their simple lightening bolt logo and is flanked by a stylish crown protector of sorts. The crown is large, and has a great hand feel, and the lightening bolt sits in a perfectly vertical position to the case when tightened.
The movement is the Shinola Detroit-built Argonite 1069, which is a 46 piece quartz movement with Swiss parts. The back of the case has a plaque with four rivets that states the serial number, and has “Shinola” and “Built in Detroit” in relief. The hand-stitched (in Largo, Florida), American made, leather band has a great feel, and on each underside you find nice details. On the buckle side you find “Built in the United States, Horween Leather,” and on the other band you find “Shinola” with the lightening bolt embossed into the leather. The strap is lined with complementary, similar colored leather of the outer band. The buckle is heavy, black, beautifully curved, easy to use and has a true quality feel. And, to top it off, the back side of the buckle has the lightening bolt symbol in orange. I know this is an awful lot of details, but it is essential for the review.
As stated, I am not the typical moderately priced quartz customer. I do like Citizen watches for their high tech features such as their depth gauge diver watch, and the radio controlled perpetual calendar. There are also plenty of other watches that may look similar to you at half the price, but that is not the point or market Shinola is looking for. The comprehensive package is one of quality and luxury. As silly as that may sound to some, it is very important to me, and to other buyers who appreciate details. If you are just looking for a great quartz watch, I would turn to Citizen, as I always do.
So in summary, this is a remarkable package. No detail has been overlooked for the experience, there are no major short-cuts, and nothing else exists quite like it. It is a solidly emotional and fun watch for a high-end collector who is looking for a slick, inexpensive alternative for travel , or as a “Saturday watch” as I call them. For now, the brand has a definite luxury feel and all the right accoutrements you’d expect from pieces at a high price. Yes, the watches themselves are simple, but there is a feeling you get from the brand that is what some in the industry might refer to as “marketing bliss.” If you are looking for a basic quartz watch and price is an issue, you can find incredible bargains, but that is not the point of Shinola products. They have a targeted niche.
It is as chefs say: “made with love,” It is a revolutionary watch, because for the quality, and price, it has changed the way I think of mainstream $600 watches. The bar for other companies is now sky high for watches in this segment. It is truly inspiring, and “hats off” to team Shinola. In the future they will be introducing mechanical movements and dive watches. I can’t wait! shinola.com
>Model: Runwell 47 mm, IP Sandblasted Steel
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes, and does.
>Friend we would recommend it to first: All, who are looking for a fun, stylish, well made versatile casual watch.
>Worst characteristic of watch: None, because making the watch with an automatic movement which is what I would like, changes the price point substantially.
>Best characteristic of watch: See the story, because I would have to repeat it all over again.