Motor City watches
How a new American watchmaker is helping to keep Detroit alive and ticking
Posted: 28 Oct 2013
Shinola officially launched earlier this year, but Americans of a certain vintage already knew the name. Shinola was once a brand of shoe polish, defunct since 1960, though its name lived on thanks to an old saying: "You don't know s**t from Shinola". It has a certain ring. And it worked: the company's first run of 2,500 Runwell watches sold out in 10 days. But it's not just watches - the portfolio also includes retro bicycles (the Bixby cruiser/city bike is particularly lovely), leather bags, notebooks, a shoeshine kit including a re-issue of the old polish and even Shinola cola. All with a trademark vintage feel. And people can't get enough of the stuff, says CEO Steve Bock. "Today we have the capacity to manufacture 500,000 watches per year," he says. "It's early days, but we could expand to over a million watches in this one facility."