October 25, 2022
This is SUPERLATIVE: A podcast about watches, the people behind them, and the worlds that inspire them. This week, our host and aBlogtoWatch Founder Ariel Adams is joined by Brandon Little, the Vice President of Design at Shinola. To start the show, Ariel asks Brandon a little bit about his role at Shinola, which leads into a discussion about the history of the Detroit-based, American brand and its more recent expansion into the luxury watch industry. From there, the conversation turns to the American watchmaking industry as a whole, along with some of the obstacles associated with bringing the manufacturing side of things back to the United States. After discussing what it actually means to be made in America, the discussion shifts to the concept of trust and why it is important for brands to build relationships with their customers, rather than just coming out with new products for them to purchase.
Ariel then asks Brandon about his experience attending a watch design academy program and the process of learning how to create timepieces that are aesthetically pleasing, ergonomically successful, and that still incorporate the brand’s unique core identity. Given that the watch industry is reliant on having fresh and passionate creative minds, Ariel asks Brandon what the industry can do to make itself more attractive to forward-thinking designers. After talking about the watch industry as a whole, Ariel and Brandon get into a discussion about Brandon’s time at Zodiac, his approach to unlocking a brand’s creative potential, and how he plans to incorporate Shinola’s unique history into the designs of the timepieces that it produces. The two then discuss what price point Shinola intends to occupy in the future, before getting into why Americans have an interest in mechanical watches, and why these reasons might differ from what compels Europeans to purchase and collect them. From there, Ariel and Brandon talk a little bit about the transition people make from first finding watches interesting to ultimately becoming hobbyists who spend money on them, and why it benefits the entire industry to facilitate this process and cultivate a greater sense of community. To end the conversation, the two talk a little bit about the future and what Shinola’s defining design characteristics will be as it continues to forge its aesthetic identity.
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