Shinola Watches Review (Is the Brand Any Good?)

Photo of author
Written By Alan

Would you believe a G-Shock I was gifted in 2014 by my grandpa started my lifelong journey of a watch geek?

🕑  Last Updated: October 12, 2022

Watches are all about telling tales. They are passive witnesses to our exploits, joining us on our journey throughout life’s experiences. They are our mechanical friends that are always there for us. Stories, unsurprisingly, stoke our interest in timepieces and help us decide which models are best for us.

Few watchmakers appreciate the significance of a good narrative like Shinola, which was founded to prove that dynamic manufacturing is still possible in America’s heartland.

Shinola is a lifestyle company that sells high-end apparel and accessories. Tom Kartsotis is the creator of Bedrock Manufacturing Co., an investing firm.

Shinola (spelled as shy-nola) has been teaching local employees to hand-assemble their watch mechanisms since 2011. This is headquartered in Detroit’s historic Argonaut facility, a converted General Motors research organization.

Shinola’s product catalog has broadened considerably since the launch of its first watch, the Runwell; its organization and level of expertise have grown, and Detroit has profited handsomely.

Shinola has gone beyond watchmaking in recent years, working with other local producers to provide American-made clothing, music, and lifestyle items ranging from hand-forged kitchen knives to bikes and vinyl tape recorders.

Shinola’s devotion to linking every model they create to a compelling tale, on the other hand, does not appear to be changing.

In this Shinola watches review we’re going to be covering everything in detail about the brand and its history. What made them famous – and is it a luxury brand worth buying?

As an affiliate, Timepieceking might earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) for purchases made via links in the article.

Shinola History

Shinola was the title of a shoe polish firm in the 1870s. The firm collapsed after being unable to continue under the direction of numerous proprietors. Eventually, in 2011, the Bedrocks brand was renamed Shinola, formally establishing the Shinola watchmaker firm as we know it today.

Since then, Kartsotis has envisioned selling low-cost, high-quality timepieces produced in the United States rather than their Swiss counterparts.

Shinola’s manufacturing debuted near Detroit, signaling a deliberate effort to leverage the American brand for the American dream. Kartsotis also nailed the marketing approach required to spread the brand’s name throughout the world.

Shinola took a bold step to work with General Electrics, which dealt with its own set of problems at the time.

In return for Shinola’s marketing techniques, the parent firm Bedrocks negotiated for GE to impart technical know-how to Shinola’s employees. Consequently, Shinola led the path to become America’s trendiest watch brand to date, according to some in the media.

Shinola’s watches were first introduced in the year 2013. The Runwell Special Edition, their debut collection, sold out within a week of its release. Shinola followed up with the Great American and the White Brothers Limited Edition Series due to their popularity.

Shinola has often figured out a way to be motivated by creative architects and designers since the popularity of these ventures.

Shinola’s client base grew with each latest release, necessitating a growth of design, style, and technology.

The Presidential Seal

Bill Clinton, the former President of the United States, took a trip to the Shinola factory in 2014 and purchased 14 timepieces.

Shinola’s reputation increased even more in 2016 when word surfaced that another past President, Barack Obama, was wearing the American brand.

Furthermore, the former US President, Barack Obama gifted the then-PM of the UK, David Cameron, with a custom-made Shinola men’s wristwatch with the Presidential seal.

The Jack of All Trades

Shinola is known for its watch strap manufacture and collections, complementing its reputation as a luxury and fashion manufacturer.
You may also choose from various straps, including leather, stainless steel, nylon, and rubber. Shinola has perfected the technique of producing leather items throughout the years. They are made by highly qualified and talented workers in-house.

Shinola sees value in its accuracy and attention to detail by producing 500 straps every day. Watch straps are painted in three to four layers, polished utilizing state-of-the-art technologies, and finished with hand painting techniques to guarantee that each accessory retains the same degree of artistry and magnificence as the rest of the company.

Shinola currently has the potential to make 500,000 watches each year. In addition, the brand has established itself as a fashionable watch for people of all ages.

Are Shinola Watches Any Good? Quality Review

Engineering watches that depict style and design as their main prospect are craft that many watchmaking brands master. To manufacture watches that last more than long is something Shinola has mastered over the years.

Before reviewing their collections, we will examine Shinola watches in terms of Durability, Movements, and Warranty it has to offer to the customers. Are these features enough to set them apart from the rest? Let’s figure out:


What’s a good watch that doesn’t age well with time? Shinola ensures watch manufacturing of the highest quality by utilizing stainless steel material made of carbon alloy fused with chromium-nickel.

By offering undeniable steel strength, Shinola watches can stand firm against sharp edges. They can resist rust, corrosion, and moisture with ease.

It doesn’t stop here for Shinola, though. The Shinola watches sale includes everything from men’s stainless steel timepieces to women’s minimalistic leather straps! With the help of ceramic, nylon, silicone, Shinola watches offer immense high-yield durability.

And once you add titanium into the mix, these watches can provide the equilibrium of weight and function combined with stress-resistant and hypoallergenic qualities. Who wouldn’t want a titanium watch now?


Shinola’s watches have always included a quartz movement, which employs a power battery to deliver an electric current via a quartz crystal to make it rotate.

Electrical pulses produced from such vibrations, in exchange, operate the motor that rotates the wristwatch displays and keeps accurate time. On the other hand, the autonomous movement oscillates using the motion of the wearer’s arm, placing strain on the mainspring.

Shinola’s first automated movement, the Argomatic R-150, was developed and built by our Swiss partner, Ronda AG. For almost 70 years, Ronda has been one of the world’s leading watch movement makers.


Shinola claims that each of its products is built that would last a “lifetime or longer.” Every watch supplied by this company is warranted for life via their limited warranty agreement, which backs up this construction promise.

Excluding the clasp, battery, and leather clasp, this warranty covers all elements of the watch. If something else on the watch stops operating due to faults in material or craft, the timepiece will be fixed or exchanged free of charge.

If an identical version of the wristwatch is not found, an equal-value wristwatch in a comparable design will be given in its place.

Customers must produce a photocopy of their purchase or the entire warranty card supplied with the wristwatch as evidence of purchasing when filing a warranty claim.

Both warranty and repair services must also be accompanied by a $25.00 service and delivery charge, subject to change.

Existing Shinola customers can visit this page for extra information about this warranty or contact customer service for support by clicking here!

Shinola Watch Collections

Shinola has created a broad selection of timepieces from 2011 to the present that is appropriate for people of various ages and preferences.

Shinola has moved into new designs and improved technologies while maintaining historical traditions while maintaining the quality and technological know-how untouched.

Once you’ve decided on the sort of watch that’s right for you, go to the Shinola website to browse their wide variety. Here’s a short rundown of Shinola’s most popular collections. You can watch the Best Shinola Watch from the detailed review below:

The 41mm Runwell

The 41mm Runwell is a vintage Shinola timepiece and one of their first styles. It’s sleek, robust, and practical – a concise contemporary American aesthetic. This Runwell has a green face and a luminescent look (a glow-in-the-dark color on the hands and hour indicators) for low-light readability.

Although there’s not a big second-hand to complement the hour and minute, a modest, sweeping second-hand subdial features orange accents directly over the 6.

The Runwell is propelled by Shinola’s Argonite 1069 movement, which is nicknamed after the Argonaut architecture. It’s designed to – you got it, ‘run well,’ and age excellently as well.

The casing is made of high-polish stainless steel, ensuring that the watch lasts a long time on the wrist. The screw-down onion crown provides elegant functionality, and the simulated sapphire crystal is exceptionally scratch-resistant.

Its laser-etched inscription on the back of the watch instantly reminds you of automotive production, a deliberate tribute to Shinola’s long history with the famous “Motor City.”

The Runwell’s high-quality leather strap is also worth mentioning. Shinola’s collaboration with Chicago’s Horween Leather Co. resulted in these great wristbands, hand-stitched in the United States.

Overall, the Runwell Automatic Collection is an homage to automation, built with the most remarkable accuracy. Rather, it uses wrist movement to generate energy, as well as a 38-hour battery backup.

This collection is an authentic tribute to the engineers of the automatic watch movement of the 1770s for watch enthusiasts who sincerely admire mechanical watches for their artistry. The series is available in various Shinola watch bands and dial sizes, with an average cost of $1200.

Yamasaki Limited Edition

Shinola is a firm believer in cutting-edge technology. Shinola’s acute eye recognizes the elegance in design creation, whether it’s in timepieces or buildings. Shinola offers the Great American Series in its place. A series that pays homage to American architects and designers.

The Yamasaki Limited Edition Watch 38MM, which costs $1000, pays homage to modern designer Architect Minoru Yamasaki. His globally renowned architect is known for defying convention by opting for a more minimalist and symmetrical architectural approach.

Above all, the Yamasaki Limited series reflects the architect’s artistry and talent to honor his heritage.

The Maya Angelou Limited Edition Watch, The Muhammad Ali Watch Centre, Henry Ford Pocket Watch, and Jackie Robinson Collection are among the other Great American Series collections. As of now, just the Jackie Robinson collection is available for purchase.

As part of the series, the Guardian collection and the Statue of Liberty will be released soon. You may put your name on the queue for future releases on the website.

Shinola Detrola

Shinola’s newest line, the Detrola, looks to be aimed at a youthful clientele, one that is less focused on creating the approachable vintage aura that the Runwell line has nailed and more intent on having a good time.

The Detrola is $395 and comes in seven various hues, spanning from the not-so-playful all-black Model D to the maybe overly-playful Islander version, which has many green, pink, and orange.

If we had to select one Detrola watch to evaluate, it would be the black one. Who doesn’t adore the Shinola Detrola black beauty?

Every one of the seven colors has a silicone strap that is comfortable to wear on the wrists. The date window is a beautiful feature that’s elegantly integrated into a wristwatch at a price range where you’d have to excuse them if they didn’t include it.

When it came to luminous hands, your smartphone does tell time. No, you should not withdraw it from your pocket while watching the movie. This one will do just fine!

Just one case size, 43 millimeters, is available for the Detrola. The Shinola symbol, which incorporates the lightning bolt object, the name Shinola, and Detroit underneath it, is positioned precisely beneath the 12.

Shinola used a clever method to make painted-on markings appear as though they were applied, enhancing the watch’s overall appearance.

Shinola Monster

The Shinola Monster Automatic Collection is a piece of tried-and-tested undersea equipment for drivers and swimmers. It includes 4 primary watches which are perfect for underwater adventures.

The Monster Automatic Series comes with a design for those deep divers in mind who needs a timepiece down inside the sea. Consequently, the 4 watches have been formally issued within the Series following significant testing of the scenarios.

The reason why we would side with Lake Superior is the authentic design and elegance that it offers. The watch has a stainless steel band and a glossy black face. Not only is it water-resistant, but the watches also have classy dials too.

What is Shinola Wilard Program?

Stop looking for the ultimate wristwatch for you if you haven’t discovered it yet. It’s time to go to work on it. The Willard Program from Shinola allows you to design your timepiece. From the band to the dial, absolutely.

Here’s a fascinating tidbit about Willard if you’re curious about who he is. Willard Bixby, the inventor of the shoe polish business Shinola, was the inspiration for the Build Your Watch initiative.

The first step is to decide which case you want to work on. There are more than ten different patterns to select from. They had it in sizes ranging from 36mm to 47mm. You may also choose from black, white, silver, or blue as your preferred color.

After you’ve decided on a casing, the following step is to decide on a strap. The best thing is that there are so many different straps to select from. Nylon, leather, and steel are some of the materials used. Each strap has its own individuality and may offer your watch a unique look.

You’re likely to discover something you like among the countless potential configurations. It genuinely is a watch that has been custom-made for you.

Is Shinola a Luxury Brand?

While one would agree that modern luxury is more about uniqueness, intrinsic excellence, and even a do-good mission on the side of companies than it is about exorbitant prices.

One would contend that Shinola’s continuously growing costs also enable the luxury moniker to sit very firmly on its cape. Nonetheless, $1,000 is a far cry from the five-figure per-watch prices prevalent in the luxury watch market.

Shinola’s brilliance had been its opportunity to produce and publicize ideals that mattered to millennials, such as American-made, pricing openness, and the development of fair and welcoming environments for its employees.

Shinola created its very own, massive silo-like multiverse with humorous commentary – that immediately mirrored the ideals of its followers, rather than wanting to blend into the broader watch market as a mid-priced producer of stunning timepieces (because how many of them are there?!).

All in all – Luxury? Yes. Smart? Absolutely!

Are Shinola Watches Waterproof?

Every Shinola watch is intended to withstand the least 3ATM (100ft / 30m) of immersion. The waterproofness grade of your wristwatch may be placed on the back of the watch.

A timepiece’s waterproofing safeguards the movement against dirt, water, and the danger of harm if it is submerged in water. Please check the chart for acceptable exposure levels for multiple water classifications.

While the watch is exposed to water, do not attempt to change the placement of the crown. Water might get inside the casing, leading the movement to break down.

Before contacting water with a wristwatch with a screw-down crown, ensure the crown is in the correct position and properly secured.

Do not utilize Shinola Runwell chronograph features on watches with Shinola Runwell contrast chronograph capabilities when submerged in water since water may seep into the casing and harm the movements.

Shinola Watches Review: Conclusion

Are Shinola Watches Any Good? Conclusion

If you’re searching for a stylish everyday wristwatch, the typical Shinola watches review will suggest this brand to most people.

Although this brand’s marketing techniques may appear misleading, particularly given their “Made by” labels or “Made in America” wording, there is no doubting the openness of their production procedures or their commitment to aid Detroit.

Without a profound grasp of the subtleties, the British perspective is that this is a success story. When you dig a little further, you’ll find a lot of criticism, but it’s generally unjustified. These are the timepieces that have graced the wrists of famous personalities such as Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, and Neil Young.

These timepieces are somewhat expensive, but it’s worth it for those who want to promote this incarnation of the American Dream. If that describes you, a new Shinola watch will be perfect for you!

Leave a Comment