Shinola Watch Review: 10 Best Picks From the Brand

NanaDC watch reviews

Established in 2011 by CEO Tom Kartsotis, Shinola Detroit is an up-and-coming lifestyle brand gaining acclaim for its watches.

Its Detroit-based parent company, Bedrock Manufacturing Co., partnered with Taiwan-based dial maker, BAT Ltd., and Swiss-based quartz movement producer Ronda AG, to create high-end timepieces meant to compete with Swiss ones.

The question is: Are these watches made in America good enough? Read all about Shinola's watches below to find out.

Shinola Runwell Automatic 45mm: Best Overall

The Shinola Runwell Automatic combines the classic aesthetics of the original Runwell with cutting-edge Swiss automatic movements [R] to create a watch that's both precise and beautiful.

Its deep blue dial is clean and elegant, displaying crisp Arabic numerals, Super-LumiNova hands [R], and a tiny calendar aperture function [R] at three o'clock. This is enclosed by sapphire crystal glass and a stainless steel case for durability.

Shinola The Runwell Automatic Movement Blue Dial Men's Watch S0120141492
2 Customer Reviews
Shinola The Runwell Automatic Movement Blue Dial Men's Watch S0120141492
  • 45 mm Round Stainless Steel Case with a Screw Down Crown
  • Blue Analog Dial and a Date Window with a Sapphire Crystal
  • 22 mm Brown Leather Strap with a Buckle Clasp

Meanwhile, the back of the watch showcases the Swiss Sellita SW200-1 movement at work. Its 26 jewels reduce friction to maintain accurate timekeeping.

Like other Shinola watches, it's possible to replace and customize the straps, but we quite like the brown leather look paired with the silver and blue dial—it's classy but still casual enough to be worn every day.

Now, this watch is one of the more expensive Shinola ones, but it's still relatively affordable compared to other luxury automatic watches. If you're willing to shell out a little bit more for the full Shinola experience, though, we highly recommend getting this one.

PROS
CONS
  • Double domed sapphire crystal finish
  • Swiss automatic movement
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Many design options
  • A bit expensive

Shinola Canfield Chrono 43mm: Best Value

It's hard not to be impressed by the design of the Shinola Canfield Chrono. The watch is sleek, slim, and understated, so it pairs well with any outfit.

Our pick is the model that reminds us of a clear and tranquil night sky. Its midnight blue dial and embedded subdials, sandblasted blue PVD case, and natural-colored leather strap make for a color combination that's both easy on the eyes and universally flattering.

Shinola Detroit 43 mm Canfield 2 Eye Chrono Midnight Blue/Natural Leather Strap One Size
5 Customer Reviews
Shinola Detroit 43 mm Canfield 2 Eye Chrono Midnight Blue/Natural Leather Strap One Size
  • 43 mm Round Stainless Steel Case with a Push / pull Crown
  • Blue Analog Dial and a Date Window with a Sapphire Crystal
  • 20 mm Brown Leather Strap with a Buckle Clasp

Since it runs on a quartz movement, it's more affordable than the Shinola Runwell Automatic. What's great is that it still has the date window plus added chronograph [R] functions too!

If you're not particular about getting a Swiss automatic movement watch, then consider the Shinola Canfield Chrono for something both stylish and functional.

PROS
CONS
  • Double domed sapphire crystal finish
  • Chronograph functions
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Many design options
  • Not a statement watch

Shinola Detrola 43mm: Best Budget Pick

The Shinola Detrola reminds us of a fun, younger brother or sister: It's bold, playful, and energetic, but not tacky at all.

We love the multiple color combinations to choose from for the dial, case, and silicone strap—perfect for different styles and personalities.

At just $395, it's also one of the lowest-priced watches in the Shinola line. This means that some of its technical specifications vary from the more high-end ones, but we don't think it significantly affects its performance.

If you just want a reliable, fashionable watch for simple timekeeping, this is definitely a good option for you!

PROS
CONS
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Many design options
  • Affordable
  • Mineral crystal finish may be more prone to scratches
  • 3-year limited warranty

Shinola Runwell 41mm

Famous for being the watch of choice for former U.S. president Bill Clinton, the Shinola Runwell is what brought attention to the brand in its early years.

Everything about it is clean and simple: Its slate blue dial displays clear, white Arabic numerals, and it's enclosed by sapphire glass and a steel case. An interesting twist in its design is that it also features a separate subdial to measure the seconds.

Like other Shinola models, the Runwell is available in different case sizes, colors, and strap options, but we especially like the 41mm one for a more delicate and classic look.

With no-fuss features, good quality, and a timeless design, the original Shinola Runwell is a great entry-level option for those purchasing from the brand for the first time.

PROS
CONS
  • Double domed sapphire crystal finish
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Many design options
  • Lacks a date window
  • Some users feel the price point is quite high for a quartz movement

Shinola Monster Automatic 43mm

The Shinola Monster Automatic is a beautiful dive watch [R] with a ton of great features—you just have to be willing to spend for it.

Like the Shinola Runwell Automatic, the watch is powered by the Swiss SW200-1 automatic movement, with its 26 jewels for accurate timekeeping.

The difference is, this watch also has a depth rating of 1,000 feet, a unidirectional bezel [R] for divers' safety, and an anti-reflective coating for visibility underwater.

In terms of design, it has a more rugged and sporty feel. We like that it has thick, Super-LumiNova index markers [R] too, so you can always tell the time—even in the dark.

If you expect to use your watch a lot for diving, you'll definitely get a lot of use out of this one!

PROS
CONS
  • Single domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  • Swiss automatic movement
  • 30 ATM water resistance
  • Very functional
  • Many design options
  • Expensive

Shinola Runwell Sport Chrono 48mm

At 48mm, the Shinola Runwell Sport Chrono is huge.

Users who prefer something a little more subtle may find that there's too much going on in this watch.

Shinola The Runwell Sport Chrono Blue Dial Canvas Strap Men's Watch S0120121778
  • 48 mm Stainless Steel, Aluminum Case with a Push / pull Crown
  • Blue Analog Dial with a Date Marker and Scratch Resistant Sapphire Crystal
  • Black Canvas Strap with a Buckle Clasp

Unlike the other watches on this list, it has three subdials instead of two to support its chronograph functions, so the display may seem a little messy.

However, its quality is great: The watch case is constructed from stainless steel for extra strength, the glass is double-domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and an accurate quartz movement powers it.

48mm is certainly not for everyone, but as it's one of the few watches in the market that come in that size, it's perfect if you want a big, bold statement piece on your wrist.

PROS
CONS
  • Double domed sapphire crystal finish
  • Solid titanium case
  • 20 ATM water resistance
  • Many design options
  • The display can look a little messy
  • Some users feel the price point is quite high for a quartz movement

Shinola Birdy 34mm

The Shinola Birdy is the first watch on this list specifically made for women. In contrast to the massive Shinola Sport Chrono watch, the Shinola Birdy is slim, dainty, and delicate, but still highly functional.

We like the Birdy model in pearl white and rose gold, particularly for its elegant design.

The clean, white dial features rose gold Arabic numerals and a date window at 3 o'clock. This is attached to a three-link steel bracelet with traditional-looking wire lugs. Meanwhile, gold PVD detailing ties everything together beautifully.

PROS
CONS
  • Double domed sapphire crystal finish
  • PVD gold plating
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Many design options
  • The small 34mm case size and thin 8mm strap may feel too delicate for some users

Shinola Vinton 38mm

The Shinola Vinton is a nod to Detroit—specifically to a building in its financial district [R].

Since all the watches from the brand are made in Detroit, we think it's fitting that this watch is a classic representation of the Shinola image.

Shinola Detroit 38 mm Vinton 3HD Midnight Blue/Silver Bracelet One Size
1 Customer Reviews
Shinola Detroit 38 mm Vinton 3HD Midnight Blue/Silver Bracelet One Size
  • 38 mm Round Stainless Steel Case with a Push / pull Crown
  • Blue Analog Dial and a Date Window with a Sapphire Crystal
  • 18 mm Silver Stainless Steel Band with a Fold Over Clasp

In fact, it reminds us a little bit of the Runwell, but with a more vintage feel. Its midnight blue dial is enclosed by a steel case that can be engraved at the back, while its watch strap is a brushed and polished three-link silver bracelet.

At 38mm, though, it may be quite small for most men.

PROS
CONS
  • Double domed sapphire crystal finish
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Small case size

Shinola Guardian 41.5mm

Like the Shinola Vinton, the Shinola Guardian is named after a prominent landmark in Detroit [R]. This watch is reminiscent of a vintage design as well, with its distinct rounded square shape.

The dial design stays pretty simple: Clean Arabic numerals and a date window at 6 o'clock make for easy readability.

Shinola Men's The Guardian 41mm Watch, Tan/Cool Grey, One Size
2 Customer Reviews
Shinola Men's The Guardian 41mm Watch, Tan/Cool Grey, One Size
  • Adjustable Band
  • Band Width 0.75in / 2cm
  • Water resistant to 50 meters.

In terms of functionality and quality, it doesn't differ much from other quartz watches made by the brand. Overall, it's reliable, durable, and relatively affordable, so if you like this type of design, consider picking one up!

PROS
CONS
  • Single curve sapphire crystal finish
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Its design can feel a little dated

Shinola Duck 42mm

The last watch on this list is made for the fun and adventurous: The Shinola Duck, named for its surf-rated features.

This watch shares some features with the sporty Shinola Monster Automatic at a more affordable price.

It has a depth rating of 20 ATM, so you can go swimming and surfing with it. It also features extra-thick sapphire crystal glass, a unidirectional bezel, and a durable, expandable rubber strap made to withstand the elements.

Like other watches from the Shinola brand, you can customize its strap as well, so you can switch it out for a steel bracelet when transitioning from daytime activities to nighttime events.

Versatile, functional, and durable, the Shinola Duck is a great all-around watch to have!

PROS
CONS
  • Flat sapphire crystal finish
  • 20 ATM water resistance
  • Very functional
  • Not suitable for diving

The Story Behind the Shinola Brand

The brand's official parent company is Bedrock Manufacturing Co., but Shinola CEO Tom Kartsotis is the man behind Fossil, whose fashion watches are also made in America.

He created this separate brand name, Shinola, to penetrate the (usually Swiss-dominated) high-end watch industry. To achieve this, he needed to make a good product and tell a compelling story.

The watches are advertised as made in America, but the parts are actually sourced from Asia and Switzerland, then assembled in Detroit.

This doesn't make them of lesser quality, but some critics have argued that the low costs of these mechanical pieces don't warrant luxury-level prices.

Nevertheless, these watches are generally durable, accurate, and perform their intended functions well.

For Kartsotis, the selling point also lies in the Shinola story, which he discovered after listening to a focus group.

By incorporating the city of Detroit, its workforce, and its previous economic struggles into the Shinola brand heritage, he was able to tap into a large market of eager consumers willing to support local.

He even set up shop in an old General Motors facility, which improved brand image and brand recall in the eyes of many customers as well.

Is Shinola a Luxury Brand?

Despite being a newcomer in the industry, Shinola is generally considered a luxury watch brand.

Its watches may not be as well-known as other high-end names', but it shares key luxury brand values such as exclusivity, superior performance, innovation, heritage, relevance, and sophistication.

Each watch is made thoughtfully—not just considering its design, but also in terms of its materials and craftsmanship—and the prices and customer reviews reflect that.

Do Shinola Watches Hold Value?

However, whether their watches hold a high resale value is a different matter altogether.

While most luxury watches typically keep or increase their value over time, it's too early to tell if a Shinola watch will be worth a lot in the future.

Currently, the prices offered for the brand's watches in the resale market are low—they're on the level of fashion watches rather than luxury timepieces like Rolex, Omega, and Tissot.

This can be concerning for many consumers, especially since the cost of a Shinola watch isn't too far from the price of a secondhand one from a higher-end watch brand.

Ultimately, if your goal is to see your watch increase in value over the years, you may want to stick with more classic heritage brands, so your investment pays off.

Where Can You Buy Shinola Watches?

You can purchase these watches directly from their website [R], or you can check out their physical stores all over America.

Alternatively, you can find watch resellers and distributors online on Amazon, eBay, or other e-commerce sites. Preferably, it's best to buy Shinola watches on Amazon.

Before purchasing any of their watches from resellers, don't forget to check for authorization on the official Shinola website to ensure authenticity.

You can also read the watch review on the sellers' websites as an added precaution. After all, watches are an investment, and you want to be sure you're getting your money's worth!

Shinola Watch Services and Warranty Policy

All metal watches have a limited lifetime guarantee, while the TR90 resin watches have a three-year guarantee.

This means that all defects (excluding the battery, strap, and buckle) will be repaired free of charge during that time. If the damages are beyond repair, then Shinola will issue a new one.

However, the company still recommends having your watches serviced every two to three years to ensure the quality is maintained over time.

A Brief Summary

Shinola is truly a brand with deep roots in Detroit and America.

For us, this strong culture is reflected in its product design, marketing, and overall aesthetic, giving it a unique, universal charm of its own.

So, if you're looking to experience the brand for the first time, the Shinola Detrola is a great budget pick—it's bold, playful, and casual for everyday wear.

On the other hand, if you have a little more to spend on aesthetics and function, go for the Shinola Canfield Chrono for subtle elegance at its finest.

Ultimately, though, if you're willing, splurge on the Shinola Runwell Automatic. We think this model best represents unparalleled Swiss quality and the classic, timeless style of the Shinola Detroit brand.

Conclusion

While Shinola isn't yet up to standard with the most high-end, luxury brand names in the industry, it's doing exceptionally well considering the design, functionality, and affordability of its products.

So, if you want a taste of luxury without the exorbitant prices, definitely consider adding a Shinola to your collection.

Links, prices, and images were pulled from the Amazon API. Last updated on 2021-01-18.

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