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Shinola Puts Motown Watches in Motion

By Victoria Gomelsky, Editor-in-Chief
This story appears in the June 2013 issue of JCK Special Reports
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Shinola Puts Motown Watches in Motion
The Runwell watch in 40 or 47 mm stainless steel case; $550; Shinola, Detroit; 888-304-2534; shinola.com

Most Americans born before 1980 recognize Shinola, a shoe polish marketed in the first half of the 20th century, for being name-checked in an alliterative figure of speech: “You don’t know s—t from Shinola.” But if Heath Carr has his way, the newest generation of Americans will associate the brand with well-built ­American-made watches. Revived in 2011, when Carr, the head of Bedrock Manufacturing in Dallas, purchased the intellectual property rights to the heritage brand—including its ­lightning-bolt logo—­Shinola now makes quartz timepieces (and bicycles!) in a 30,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art factory inside Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. Due to make their global debut at this month’s Baselworld fair in Switzerland, where Shinola will show 45 SKUs retailing from $450 to $850, the watches employ parts that are supplied by Swiss movement maker Ronda but are 100 percent assembled in the college’s historic building, the ­Argonaut, which lends the Argonite movement its name. “The movement is the engine of the watch,” Carr says. “What better place to make the engine than the Motor City?”

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