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Shinola Watch Review: Should You Have One?

Welcome, timepiece enthusiasts! As a seasoned connoisseur of watches, I am thrilled to dive into the world of Shinola watches with you. 

Known for its bold designs, Shinola has made quite a splash in the watch industry. But beyond the buzz, you may wonder, what’s the real deal with these “Built in Detroit” timepieces?

In this post, we’ll unroll the scroll on a quick Shinola watch review— dissecting the intricate craftsmanship, evaluating their value, and ultimately helping you answer the all-important question: “Should you buy a Shinola watch?” 

And whether you’re a seasoned collector or a curious newcomer to the world of horology, I promise to make this journey as informative, engaging, and enjoyable as possible.

So, let’s dive right into the fascinating world of Shinola watches!

Are Shinola watches good?

Shinola watches are indeed good, especially when considering a few key factors. They are assembled in Detroit, USA, and each worker involved in the assembly process is extensively trained, resulting in a well-built product with high-quality components. 

The brand offers a range of styles, catering to diverse aesthetic preferences. The company’s commitment to supporting the local economy and providing jobs in Detroit is also commendable and adds a certain emotional value to owning a Shinola watch.

The watches are robust and durable, made from sturdy materials like stainless steel and sapphire crystal, with some models even offering water resistance up to 300 meters. 

The movements used in Shinola watches are sourced from respected Swiss manufacturers Ronda and Sellita. While initially, the brand only offered quartz watches, they have expanded to include mechanical and automatic movements in their range, enhancing their products’ overall quality and value.

Shinola’s designs are unique and bold, not mere homages to other brands, enhancing their appeal. Their most iconic line, the Runwell collection, offers a fresh take on field watches and is particularly worth checking out.

However, it’s important to note that while the watches are assembled in the U.S., many components come from foreign countries. This doesn’t necessarily detract from the quality, but it’s essential to understand this aspect when considering the brand’s “Built in Detroit” marketing.

In terms of pricing, Shinola watches are more expensive than some other brands in the same category, partly due to their marketing strategy and partly due to their commitment to local manufacturing. However, compared to Swiss luxury brands, they are more affordable.

One area of concern is Shinola’s after-sales service, which has received mixed reviews, particularly regarding international shipping and warranty policies.

Does Shinola watch hold its value?

Shinola watches are not designed to be investment watches that would appreciate value over time, like Rolex or other luxury timepieces. 

While they deliver value in their unique ways—such as their vintage design, all-American backstory, and effective marketing campaigns—they do not fall into the same category as luxury brands known for their investment potential like Patek Philippe

This means that if you’re looking for a watch as a financial investment, with the expectation that it will hold or increase in value over time, there may be better choices than a Shinola watch. Instead, Shinola watches are more about personal style, craftsmanship, and a connection to the brand’s unique story.

Who wears Shinola watches?

Notable individuals known to wear Shinola watches include former U.S. President Barack Obama, R&B artist Usher, and former President Bill Clinton. 

Obama and Usher both own the Shinola ‘Runwell’ watch series​​. Bill Clinton has been spotted wearing a Shinola Runwell at a public event and is known to be a significant supporter of the brand. He even once bought 14 Shinola watches in one shopping trip as gifts​​. 

These high-profile wearers reflect the appeal of Shinola watches across a wide range of individuals.

Where are Shinola watches made?

Shinola watches are assembled in Detroit, Michigan, USA. However, it’s important to note that while the watches are assembled in the United States, many of the components of the watches, such as the hands, dials, and movements, are sourced from foreign countries, including Switzerland, Thailand, Taiwan, and China. 

Shinola can use “Built in Detroit” but not “Made in Detroit” for its watches. For a product to carry the “Made in the U.S.” label, most of its components must also be made in the U.S.

Who owns Shinola watches?

Shinola is owned by Bedrock Manufacturing, a Texas-based investment group. The brand was revived by Tom Kartsotis, the founder of the Fossil Group. Kartsotis wanted to bring back the Shinola brand to provide jobs and boost the local economy in Detroit.

Where to buy Shinola watches?

Shinola watches can be purchased from a variety of sources:

  • Shinola’s Official Website: You can buy directly from their official website. They offer various models and provide detailed information about each watch.
  • Authorized Retailers: Shinola watches are available in many high-end department stores and jewelry shops. Ensure you are buying from an authorized retailer to ensure authenticity and to be covered by the brand’s warranty.
  • Online Marketplaces: Websites such as Amazon and Jomashop also sell Shinola watches. However, these platforms might be considered part of the ‘gray market.’ While you may find competitive pricing here, the warranty conditions might differ, so checking the warranty policy before purchasing is advisable.
  • Shinola Stores: Shinola has several physical stores across the United States and other countries where you can see and try the watches before buying.

Remember, ensure the seller is reputable wherever you buy to avoid counterfeit products.

Should you buy a Shinola watch?

As a luxury watch expert, my advice on buying a Shinola watch depends mainly on what you seek in a timepiece.

Shinola watches offer some unique benefits. They boast high-quality craftsmanship, emphasizing good-quality materials like stainless steel, sapphire crystal, and occasionally lightweight titanium. 

The watches use reliable Swiss movements from well-respected manufacturers, including Ronda and Sellita, which means they will likely be robust and accurate. Furthermore, their designs are unique, bold, and more than homage to other brands.

However, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Shinola watches are priced higher than other brands in the same category, primarily due to their “Built in Detroit” marketing and the brand’s positioning as a contributor to the revival of Detroit’s economy. 

This means you may be paying a premium for the brand’s story and American assembly rather than the watch components’ inherent value.

While Shinola watches are not investment pieces like some high-end luxury brands, they hold their value relatively well thanks to their desirability, vintage design, and successful marketing. Still, consider other brands if you’re looking for a watch that will appreciate significantly over time.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Shinola’s after-sales service has received mixed reviews, with some customers citing limited warranty coverage and difficulties with international shipping. It may be worth considering if you’re buying from outside the U.S.

In conclusion, if you’re attracted to the Shinola brand story, appreciate the design and craftsmanship of their watches, and are willing to pay a little extra for a timepiece assembled in the U.S, A Shinola watch could be a good choice for you. 

However, if your priority is getting the most horological value for your money or seeking a watch that will significantly appreciate value over time, you may explore other options.

Images credits: 

Sarah Salimah

Sarah has been interested in watches for as long as she can remember. She loves watches and writing about them and enjoys experiencing the feeling of high-end models. She was born in Ohio, went to school for art history, and has a genuine enthusiasm for reading literature, walking, and sometimes playing padel.

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