The Duck is American Shinola’s light-duty, entry-level diver’s-style watch. The Detroit-based company has other diver’s watches to appreciate (like the Monster), but The Duck series delights me with its eye-catching design, an assortment of hip colors, “beater-watch” specifications, and timeless design. This version of The Duck has a turf green color theme for the dial and strap, accented with yellow for the seconds hand and some light blue (which is an uncommon combination, but it works pretty well). Shinola offers a variety of other colors, including versions of The Duck watch which come on a matching steel bracelet.
All of The Duck watches come with Detroit-assembled Ronda quartz movements. You can see the caliber name of the movement on the dial in the form of the “713” label. It corresponds to a Ronda 713 quartz movement, which is sent to the U.S. as a kit from Switzerland, then assembled at the Shinola facility in Detroit, Michigan. “Argonite” refers to the name of the building that the Shinola headquarters is located within. The Duck is, well, self-explanatory.
While a “true” diver’s watch is normally water resistant to 300 meters, there are a great number of “water activity” watches on the market with 200 meters of water resistance. Shinola refers to The Duck as a “surf watch,” even though I don’t recall ever seeing any ducks riding the waves. Maybe they should have called it “The Gull?” Two-hundred meters of water resistance is plenty for most water sports and activities, including recreational diving and, of course, snorkeling. Given Shinola’s proximity to America’s Great Lakes, one must also consider The Duck to be a boating and jet skiing watch (which can be far more brutal activities on a wristwatch than a day wading on the beach).
Even though The Duck is a modern watch, much of the design is intended to look classic — as though it were birthed in the mid-20th century. The case shape design is certainly retro, and that also includes the shape of the crystal (which is sapphire on the watch but meant to look like an older acrylic crystal might, given its shape on the edges). Around the crystal is a uni-directional rotating diver’s bezel with a domed aluminum insert. I like the large-sized lume pip at the 60-minute mark. Like the size of the lume pip, there is a slight oversized quality to all the proportions on The Duck’s dial. These lend a friendly, almost toy or cartoon-like quality to an otherwise handsome and conservative sports watch.
The polished and brushed steel case has soft edges like a classic Rolex. It has a screw-down crown and is 42mm-wide. The size feels good and is on the welcome larger size. The watch is a bit on the thick side at about 12mm, but it does feel proportional to the width. The watch has a lug-to-lug end distance length of about 51mm. The overall comfort is high, and in a lot of ways, The Duck can make for a very competent daily wear. For me, however, this is a good “beater watch.” That’s what watch enthusiasts call a basic and pretty watch that isn’t up to the task of being a lifestyle or statement watch. Beater watches are tool watches, and we love them for their simplicity and utility. We wear beater watches for work around the house or to work out. We take them to the beach, pool, and hiking. They are what we wear to play with kids and, when we need a nice watch to take on vacation, that won’t be a theft liability. Come to think of it, some people’s collection of beater watches is larger than the number of “fine watches” they own.
Attached to Shinola’s The Duck watch is a matching green 22mm-wide rubber diver’s-style strap. The rubber feels tough and durable but isn’t as pliable as others out there. That isn’t a bad thing, per se, but it does mean that this strap needs to be “trained” a bit like a new [Shinola] leather strap does. Shinola further puts quick-release springbars on the strap so you can easily swap it out with one of their other strap (or anything else you choose that is 22mm wide). The watch comes in a nice presentation box that doubles as a Pelican-style water-resistant case. Cost-wise The Duck is at the higher end of the quartz watch market but priced below where many name-brand mechanical watches start. While it doesn’t have materials like a ceramic bezel, The Duck is made from high-end materials and offers a great fit and finish for the money. Price for Shinola’s “The Duck” watch is $650 USD. Learn more at the Shinola website here.
>Model: The Duck (Green reference 20250997-SDT-012260095 as tested)
>Price: $650 USD
>Size: 42mm-wide, ~12mm-thick, ~51mm lug-to-lug distance
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a handsome and friendly beater watch where I need to be active and look cool while doing it.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Timepiece lover seeking a quality design in a less-expensive package for sports use or gifting. Enjoyable daily wear for most people.
>Best characteristic of watch: Handsome. Functional design mixed with bright colors makes it feel like a tool and a toy; individually serialized production.
>Worst characteristic of watch: No automatic mechanical version. Enthusiasts will want a more long-term durable bezel insert material.