|Famous for||Famous for being Detroit’s only watch factory|
Shinola feels like a brand that has been around a long time thanks to its retro styling however it only came onto the scene three years ago. It is the brainchild of former Fossil co-founder Tom Kartsotis and is owned by his new company Bedrock Brands. Shinola managed to make its name by setting up in Detroit, and also claiming to be its knight in shining armour, at a time when the city was on its knees, economically speaking.
As a brand it stood for good, honest, American-made products (the brand also makes leather goods and bicycles), however, in the past couple of years it has come under scrutiny for the fact that the watches aren’t actually ‘made’ in Detroit, as it claims, but are merely assembled there; the parts come from fellow Bedrock Brands stable mate Ronda. However, if you can get beyond the cynical marketing and faux hipster styling, Shinola’s watches are pretty cool.
The Runwell, Brakeman and the double-strap Birdy are the real standouts and the prices aren’t terrifying, if a little high for a quartz – Shinola, as yet, doesn’t do automatics. Although papers such as the New York Times have pointed out the cracks in Shinola’s Detroit hipster schtick, this is a brand that is trying to do something clever, and, if its flagship boutique in New York City is anything to go by, its succeeding.
Did You Know? The founding management at Bedrock Manufacturing chose the name ‘Shinola’ when the World War II era colloquialism, “You don’t know sh*t from Shinola,” surfaced in a conversation. Unexpectedly, the joke generated a serious discussion about restoring the Shinola brand, and so the name stuck!
Brand Friends: Bill Clinton and voice of Gossip Girl Kristen Bell