Shinola Watch Review

In 2011, Tom Kartsotis, founder of Fossil watch company, resurrected the brand Shinola as a direct-to-consumer luxury products company based in Detroit, Michigan. Initially selling shoe polish, the well-known company went out of business in 1960. Today, rebranded as Shinola Detroit, it offers high-quality luxury jewelry, watches, bicycles, watch straps, knives, audio equipment, clocks, board games, housewares, and many more. While some consider it a global lifestyle company, their product lines are so varied that it resembles the digital version of a general store. What makes the company important is the number of jobs it creates and the money it funnels into the Detroit economy.

In this review, we will take a look at their key product, the Shinola watch. We will also look at the specific styles and features it offers. The target audience for their watches and other products seem to be upper-income buyers with discretionary income to spend. That becomes obvious when you take a look at the prices for their products.

How Many Watches does Shinola Offer?

Currently, the company offers 104 men’s watches and 91 women’s watches in a variety of colors and sizes. Not surprisingly, these watches are well-made and are stylish. The company also does a good job of marketing and naming. Some of their watches even have familiar colors and logos on them. Those include the University of Michigan, Detroit Tigers, Radio Flyer, Michigan State University, The Smokey Robinson Limited Edition Watch, and more. Additionally, some of them have names like The Lake Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior Monster watches.

Unfortunately, the models have specific case sizes. If you are looking for a certain model, you may be stuck with only one size. That said, their case size for men’s watches range from 36MM to 48MM. By far, the most popular size is 43MM. Case sizes for women’s watches range from 28MM to 45MM and 41MM is the largest category.

How Much Do Shinola Watches Cost?

As we mentioned, these watches are designed for buyers that have some discretionary income available. Men’s watches range from $395 and top out at $1650 for the Bronze Monster Automatic. Of course, that is if the watch is not sold out. Like the men’s versions, the women’s watches start at $395 and go all the way up to $2800 for a watch with a mother of pearl face and adorned with 80 brilliant-cut VS1 diamonds. All prices are listed in United States Dollars.

About Shinola

Shinola has an interesting past and story. Tom Kartsotis founded the major accessories company, Fossil Inc. in 1984 and was the director, president, CEO, and chairman until January 2010. After that point, he re-founded the long-defunct shoe polish company called Shinola. Most Americans know a familiar expression that uses the name Shinola in a way to say someone is ignorant.

Kartsotis founded his new company in Detroit, long thought of as the home of manufacturing because of the auto companies. He also discovered he could command a higher price for his products because the company was in Detroit. Because of the classic name and style, it is sometimes hard to remember that the brand is contrived. That said, it is great to see a company that is helping to vitalize the local economy of a city like Detroit.

Where to Buy Shinola Watches?

While the company is direct-to-consumer and you can buy things directly from the website, it also has stores with their distinctive retro style in Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York. Some of them include repair/monogramming/engraving/curbside pickup.

What Kind of Movement Does Shinola Use?

The company states they use precision movement in their watches. That is actually a quartz movement system built by their partner company, Ronda AG, a Swiss maker of watch movements. Even though not all are happy about it, it does seem to do quite well for the company.

Do Shinola Watches Come With a Warranty?

Yes. Shinola metal watches are guaranteed for life. However, their TR90 resin watches are guaranteed for 3 years. All components that are covered by the warranties will be repaired or replaced free of charge. Noncovered components include batteries, straps, and buckles. Keep in mind, though, that they do require a check or money order payable to Shinola/Detroit, LLC in the amount of $25 for all warranty and repair services. The company recommends you get your timepiece serviced every 2-3 years. Of course, if you are going to get a Shinola watch, you will want to make sure that it stays in proper working order.

Are Shinola Watches Waterproof?

You will find that all of the models have a resistance of at least 3ATMs. We’ll go over the 5 different levels they offer. Those are:

  • 3ATM – This stands for 3 atmospheres of pressure. This rating is ok for light spray, perspiration, and light rain. Anything heavier will cause damage.
  • 5ATM – With a rating of 5ATM, the watch allows brief periods of submersion like hand washing, bathing, or showering. It is not advised to go past that.
  • 10ATM – With this type of rating, you can go swimming on the surface or go snorkeling. The company considers it to be waterproof.
  • 20ATM – For the 20ATM rating, you can use the watch even while skin diving. However, you may want to stay away from scuba diving.
  • 30ATM – If your watch has a 30ATM rating, it is waterproof to 300 meters. You will have no problems going swimming, scuba diving, or anything else you choose to do.

Before you engage in any kind of water activity, always set the crown in the normal position and tighten the screw-lock crown completely.

Are Shinola Watches Worth the Money?

This is a good question to ask. Let’s take look at a few things. Ultimately, the answer to this question is subjective. By some, it is considered one of the coolest brands in America. However, if he is actually trying to help Detroit and other classic American cities by using his tactics, we say more power to him.

  • Does the founder have an altruistic or ulterior motive? Only time can answer this question. Mr. Kartsotis has plenty of money and he has stated he does not need it. He mainly wanted to see if he could create a company like this and optimistically, we would like to say that he made the decision to inspire growth, provide jobs, and encourage travel to the city.
  • Do you want to buy a watch that inspires Americana? As good as the marketing is, this company is solely contrived in 2011 to make products with a vintage feel to them. The parts, are built entirely overseas and shipped completed to be assembled into the cases in Detroit. In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission filed a suit against the company for their slogan “Where America is made” because there are no Detroit made, or even American made parts.

Customer Service

From a customer service standpoint, Shinola offers email and a phone number to contact them. Unfortunately, the site does not state how soon they will answer your email. Also, the phone number has no specific hours listed. We would hope that means that you can reach them 24 hours a day.

Final thoughts on Shinola watches

Shinola is a fast-moving company that has been popular almost since it came into existence. The company makes its headquarters in and assemble their watches in Detroit. They draw heavily on the marketing strategy highlighting that point. Of course, their goal is to inspire a sense and longing and nostalgia. That said, you will pay a premium price for their watches and the other products they offer. Over time, it will be interesting to see what direction the company decides to move in. As far as the actual watches go, they provide quality products. As long as you are willing to pay the prices they offer, you are sure to enjoy your new watch.