Top 11 Shinola Watches With A Classic Design

Dec 03, 2019
Top 11 Shinola Watches With A Classic Design

For a long time, Swiss-made watches have monopolised the spotlight. People automatically think of Geneva when asked about quality timepieces.


But there is this American name that also deserves recognition. That brand is called Shinola. Shinola watches have only been around for less than 10 years, yet the brand has already made a big impact.


Read on to find out how Shinola has paved its way to becoming one of America’s known watchmakers.

Born and Raised in Detroit

‘Built in Detroit.” These are the words that are engraved on Shinola watches’ dials or casebacks. They are proud of their roots because it is in this city where the founders turned a 12,000-foot of bare space into a watch factory. With it, they had the vision to make American-made watches a thing.


But why in Detroit? If you’re American, then you would know that the city is associated with quality American manufacturing. To them, it is a symbol of hard work, resilience, and craftmanship.

Shinola Shoe Polish, Shinola, Shoe Polish

What’s with the Shoe Polish?

Does the name Shinola ring a bell? Are you thinking that you might have heard it somewhere? If yes, then you are not mistaken. Shinola used to be a brand of shoe polish.  But how does that fit in the whole history of the current Shinola?


Surprisingly, Shinola as a watch brand has nothing to do with the shoe polish. The previous Shinola brand was founded in 1877. But unfortunately, it went out of business in 1960.


After the unfortunate event, Tom Kartsotis acquired the Shinola brand as a marketing strategy. If the name sounds familiar, Kartsotis is also one of the founders of fellow watch brand Fossil. 

The New, Cool Kid on the Block

Shinola watches may not be as old as some of the prestigious Swiss brands on the market, but they do pack some punch. When great craftsmanship is paired with a genius marketing strategy, you get an American icon. So, in just a few years, Shinola watches have caught the attention of many, including former US presidents.

Former US President Barack Obama in Shinola store
Former US President Barack Obama

President’s Seal of Approval

It is no secret that former President Bill Clinton loves his Shinola watches. He regards them as elegant, informal, and very easy to read. He loves them so much that he doesn’t own just one, but three of the Runwell model. Some people even spotted his daughter, Chelsea, wearing the same wristwatch.


Shinola’s list of distinguished clientele doesn’t end there. Even former President Barack Obama is a fan. In some interviews and pictures, we can see him showing off his Runwell Sport Chrono.


Then on one of his visits to the UK, Obama gave Prime Minister David Cameron a token. It was a — you guessed it! — Shinola watch which he customised. To make it more personal, it had the presidential seal engraved on the caseback. 

Bringing Back Jobs

What is it that warrants the world leaders’ fascination with Shinola watches? Turns out, patriotism has something to do with it.


Aside from producing attractive timepieces, Shinola is one of the very few brands that assemble them in the US. With that said, it has provided jobs for hundreds of Americans since it opened in 2011. People call it a “job-creating vehicle” whose intention is to provide a living in an economically depressed city.

Shinola watchmaker making a watch
Photo from Shinola

Shinola Watches’ Mark of Quality

Can you imagine 30 people working on just a single watch? Shinola watches are not just about looks. Shinola also takes their craftsmanship seriously. Each of their watchmakers underwent extensive training through their Swiss partner.


To exhibit their confidence in their Shinola watches, they offer a limited lifetime warranty on their core watch styles. Meanwhile, their Detrola watch collection has a three-year limited warranty. 

Jack of All Trades

Watches aren’t the only thing that this brand takes pride in. Shortly after releasing their first Shinola watches, they ventured into something else.


Apart from watches, they also make a variety of products. They also sell clocks, leather goods, and even bicycles!


However, this doesn’t mean that they are spreading themselves too thin. In fact, they are equally good at making all of their products. The same can also be said with the Shinola watches’ designs — they are well-rounded.


From chronographs to field watches, here are 11 classic Shinola watches that you should check out. 

front view of Shinola Petoskey Vinton watch

1. The Petoskey Vinton 38mm

If you’re a fan of vintage or even vintage-looking watches, then you’ll love the Shinola Petoskey Vinton 38mm. From afar, the cream dial gives it a worn-out vibe which retro lovers appreciate. It looks almost like a patina. 


Its name comes from the Petoskey stone — a fossil of a colonial coral. If you look it up on the Internet, you would see a pebble with stunning hexagonal patterns. Just like the stone, the watch’s dial features a sunburst design.


The Petoskey stone varies in pattern and colour. This is why no two watches are alike. It also comes in an engravable caseback and a stainless steel bracelet to make it more personal.

front view of Shinola Islander Detrola watch

2. The Islander Detrola 43mm

Is it a carrot? No. It’s the Shinola Islander Detrola 43mm! Combining Detroit and Shinola, we get the Detrola. Simply put, this collection is the younger and more playful sibling of the Runwell.


What sets the Detrola apart from the other collections is its material. That is apart from its bright and colourful lineup. Others are made from steel, but this one is made with TR90 resin. This makes the Detrola lightweight, durable, and easily colourable.


The Islander Detrola’s youthful design is perfect for those looking for a pop to their OOTD. 

front view of Shinola Omaha watch

3. The Omaha 26 x 36.5mm

Trying to dress to impress on your first date? The Shinola Omaha 26 x 36.5mm is as classic as it gets. It got its name from the Omaha-class cruisers in the U.S. Navy. Just like its namesake, it features an elegant style that can still withstand extreme environments.


On the outside, it is fitted with a glossy milky white enamel dial. This makes it a contrasting backdrop for the black Arabic numerals and indexes. Just above the 6 o’clock position, it has a sub-dial that tracks the seconds.


These are all powered by the Argonite 1069 movement, which is a high-accuracy quartz movement that’s hand-assembled in Detroit. These are all encased within a sapphire crystal, which helps keep your watch scratch-free.

front view of Shinola Runwell Automatic watch

4. The Runwell Automatic 45mm

The brand’s signature line deserves a spot on this list. Even former President Bill Clinton wears one. The classic and timeless appearance of the Shinola Runwell Automatic 45mm will appeal to many. Meanwhile, the sandblasted black PVD case is neutral and versatile.


Its course vellum texture allows you to appreciate the printed numerals and indexes. If you flip it over, its caseback features a small window. With it, you can watch how the gears of the watch move to power it.


But that’s not all. If you think it’s beautiful on the outside, wait until you see the inside.  You will surely appreciate its automatic movement, the Sellita SW200-1. The 26 jewels that surround the movement help reduce friction and maintain accuracy.

front view of Shinola Runwell Sport Chrono watch

5. The Runwell Sport Chrono 48mm

Say hello to the buffed-up version of the Runwell. The Shinola Runwell Sport Chrono is specifically made for action. It offers a lot of features like the date indicator and stopwatch function, among others. Inside, the Argonite 5050 movement powers all of these complications.


To keep up with the wearer’s adventures, it is made with solid stainless steel, protects it from scratches so you don’t have to worry when you’re out hiking with it. This watch is perfect for the stylish adventurer.

front view of Shinola Canfield watch

6. The Canfield 38mm

‘Adaptable as a chameleon’ is something that can describe the Shinola Canfield. Just like the reptile, it can blend in well with a lot of your outfits. This is thanks to its classic and timeless style.


If you think that’s versatile, wait until you see the quick release pins. This makes it easy for you to change straps to give your Shinola watches a different personality in an instant.


The matte white velvet dial is versatile and clean. The watchmakers equipped its hour and seconds hands with Super-LumiNova. This special technology will make them glow in the dark. Whether you’re in a moviehouse or a cave, this makes it easy for you to tell time.

front view of Shinola Bedrock watch

7. The Bedrock 42mm

No, this isn’t the home of the Flintstones. Its name actually came from Bedrock Manufacturing, Shinola’s parent company.


If you think the other models are too rugged for you, then check out the Shinola Bedrock 42mm. This is the brand’s first dress watch. 


It features a black glossy dial that will fit in during formal settings. Its polished case is also made slim so it would easily fit under your shirt’s cuff. But don’t worry because you can also wear it casually. That’s how versatile it is. Whether you’re dressing up or down, the Bedrock will never disappoint. 

front view of Shinola Lake Michigan watch

8. The Lake Michigan Monster Automatic 43mm

If rugged is what you want, then look no further than the Shinola Lake Michigan Monster Automatic 43mm. When it’s named after one of the Great Lakes of North America, you know it’s the real deal.


The Lake Michigan Monster is specially made for divers with its depth rating of 300 metres. Its sapphire crystal is anti-reflective and anti-magnetic — perfect for extreme settings.


It is also equipped with a unidirectional bezel. Divers know how important this is to keep track of time underwater. The blue rubber strap expands to keep your wrists comfortable while diving.


On the outside, its blue dial is inspired by the stunning ice formations across Lake Michigan. 

front view of Shinola Lake Huron watch

9. The Lake Huron Monster Automatic 43mm

If you want a nice alternative to the Lake Michigan Monster Automatic, the Shinola Lake Huron Monster Automatic is another good pick. Like the other diver watch, this too can withstand an extreme amount of pressure.


It looks similar to Lake Michigan, but instead of navy blue, it features a bright orange dial. This makes it easy for divers to see it underwater. The summer sunrises on the shoreline of Lake Huron inspired its colour.


One fascinating thing about this watch is the 12 o’clock marker. It is shaped like the diver down flag used to indicate that there is a diver underwater.

front view of Shinola The Guardian watch

10. The Guardian 36mm

Tired of round Shinola watches? The Guardian 36mm is your answered prayer! People call it Shinola’s first-ever square-shaped watch.


If you’re from Detroit, then its name might ring a bell. They named it after The Guardian building — the tallest brick building in the world back in 1929. Right now, people consider it a national historic landmark.  


Just like its namesake, this elegant and sophisticated watch gives off a vintage vibe. Its rounded-off corners make it truly unique and interesting.

front view of Shinola Willard Program Watches

11. The Willard Program

If you still haven’t found the perfect watch for you, then stop finding it. It’s time to start making it. Shinola’s Willard Program lets you build your own watch. Yes, from the strap up to the dial.


If you’re wondering who Willard is, here’s a fun fact. The Build Your Watch program was named after Willard Bixby, the founder of the shoe polish brand from which Shinola got its name from.


The first step is to choose your case. You have more than 10 designs to choose from. From as small as 36mm up to 47mm, they got it. You can also choose your favourite colour from white, black, silver, or blue.


Once you’ve figured out which case you like, the next part is choosing the strap. The fun part is they have a variety of straps to choose from. From leather, nylon, and steel among others. Each strap can give your watch a distinct personality.


With the endless possible combinations, you’re sure to find something that you like. It truly is a watch that is tailored specially for you.


Trying to go for a simple look? Check out these Top 14 Skagen Watches For The Minimalist

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