Shinola Grows Up


The new watches available from Shinola, the growing Detroit fashion concern, are predictably elegant and classic, sporting uncluttered faces, curved quartz, artfully integrated subdials, and the company’s trademark lightning bolt insignia. Driven by Detroit-built Argonite 5030 high-accuracy quartz movement, the timepieces are as reliable as a Dodge Ram, but increasingly boast a sleek look better suited to Mustang drivers. The Runwell Contrast Chrono, which is – at 41 mm – smaller than many previous models, is an unapologetic statement watch coated in chrome and linked to a stainless chain. It’s an executive piece, which may have something to do with Bill Clinton stopping by the factory before it became available to the general public.

But if the watches are more eye-catching than the brand’s previous models – the cream chronograph stands out as well – the company’s offer is worth a second look as well. Where most luxury watch companies don’t offer long-term warranties and outsource repairs to off-site facilities, Shinola now guarantees its timepiece for life. Other than the battery, leather straps, and metal buckles, any part of the watch will be replaced or serviced at headquarters in Detroit. A $25 handling charge is the only caveat, hardly a big deal if you expect your son to inherit your Runwell.

As the company grows – a leather facility is a recent, telling addition – Shinola seems to be putting a distinctly Detroit spin on the watch industry, flouting outdated norms and attempting to further differentiate themselves from the Swiss crowd. Yes, the beautiful new Chrono is made in America. That’s wonderful. What’s more impressive is knowing that it can be remade in American at any time. [$900;]