Why Are Shinola Watches So Expensive? (3 Main Reasons)

When it comes to luxury watches, which brand do you think of? A list of Swiss brands might pop into your head: Rolex, Omega, Breguet, TAG Heuer, Patek Philippe. However, one timepiece of American origin quickly changed that – the Shinola.

Shinola is a relatively new brand that has quickly established itself in the luxury watch network. Currently, their products are considered to be a bit more expensive than most timepieces. 

At the moment, you won’t find any of their models for less than $550. Perhaps many people wonder, “Why are Shinola watches so expensive?”. Stay tuned to discover what makes them valuable.


Overview Of Shinola Watches 

What made Shinola’s success?

When talking about this Detroit-based luxury watch brand, its efforts cannot be ignored. In just ten years in the luxury timepiece industry, the company has achieved tremendous and commendable success.

Shinola watches are designed to be practical and elegant, befitting American presidents – literally. This American timepiece brand offers a wide selection, from vintage-inspired bestsellers to funky and colorful new lines.

They even offer their buyers a program in which they can design the piece to their liking.

This brand is all about handmade goods with an unwavering commitment to crafting products built to last. Not only that, but they also have a significant role in the community and focus on local manufacturing. All their extraordinary things have created both the material and spiritual value of Shinola’s soul watches.

A Brief History of the Luxury Brand 

Shinola has only been around for a decade so far, but what it has done to make a name for itself is astounding. This timepiece brand was officially founded in 2011 by Tom Kartsotis, who co-founded Fossil. 

In fact, the name Shinola comes from a famous 1900s shoe brand acquired by Tom Kartsotis.The reuse of an old name instilled in the company a sense of nostalgia early on, which is also an essential part of their marketing.

In 2012, the company moved into the 12,000 square foot historic Argonaut building in Detroit’s New Center area. Before going into watch production, the production team underwent intensive training by the company’s Swiss partner, Ronda AG, which specializes in the mass production of quartz watches.

Their first products launched into the market were the 40mm and 47mm Runwell in 2013. Success came quickly beyond the company’s expectations when more than 2,500 unique edition pieces were sold out in less than a week.

Each day, the company produces between 500 and 700 watches and regularly introduces new lines.

3 Reasons Why Shinola Watches Are Expensive 

Shinola watches are so expensive because they are assembled in the USA, and this company’s employees are paid well above minimum wage, with benefits (Shinola Employee Benefits 2013 ).

Of course, even though they are still a new name, many other factors contribute to their high price tag, as demonstrated below.

Gorgeous Deluxe Quality

As a matter of fact, only when the quality standards of luxury are achieved can the value of a watch be enhanced.

The stunning elements that make up a Shinola, such as the Hadley-Roma-made top strap and the curved sapphire crystal, are not the only characteristics that help this watch brand increase its wearability among trendsetters.

The brand has skillfully combined those fashion ethos with the brand’s mission to stay true to its roots by ensuring all components are assembled in Detroit. All of this makes this fabulous timepiece an authentic ‘‘blue-collar coolness.’

Influential & Famous Customers

‌Shinola’s popularity and success are enhanced when they have influential guests.

First, there’s former President Bill Clinton; he wore the Shinola Runwell 47mm watch at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The former president has owned at least three Runwell models and calls the piece “elegant and informal.” Reportedly, Clinton’s collection already includes 13 Shinola timepieces, most of which he gave to other people.

Another US former president is also a big Shinola fan, which is Barack Obama. Even an article titled “Here’s What You Need to Know About President Obama’s Badass Shinola Watch” published by Esquire contributed to raising the brand’s reputation.

The photo above is the former US president pointing to his beloved Shinola watch upon leaving his visit to the Detroit headquarters. That is the Runwell Sport Chrono 42mm, which is now sold out.

Symbol of Patriotism and Renewal Collection

Shinola watches are seen as symbols of patriotism and innovation in the United States. Therefore, it is not surprising that both former presidents love the brand.

In a 2014 speech, Bill Clinton once said, “We need more American success stories like Shinola in Detroit.” And here is how the brand won such a precious title.

Though not born in Detroit, Kartsotis has remained steadfast in his commitment to the city. That is the mission to create jobs in the city that is struggling economically.

Kartsotis once shared the view in the New York Times that: “We’re not a watch company. I did not want to build another watch company. This company started as a job-creation vehicle.”

‌This company has more than 300 employees in the Detroit factory, about 200 other employees worldwide, and more than 30 employees assembling a single timepiece at present.

In addition, all of its watches are made in Detroit, which makes Shinola one of the most luxurious American-made watch brands, and they are proud of it. Each of their timepieces is stamped with the words “Built in Detroit.”

In fact, not all parts of Shinola products are made in the USA. It has partnered with three different companies, including Bedrock Manufacturing Co., founded by Kartsotis, the Swiss firm Ronda AG and Taiwan-based dial maker BAT Ltd. So while some of the parts are not made in the US, the complete watch with all the parts is made here.

The company has stated that Shinola designs each of its products in Detroit and globally sources the “best possible components.”

Therefore, these watches are worth the price!


All in all, this article has summed up 3 reasons why Shinola watches are expensive and gathered some essential information about this American watch company. 

We think the value of a Shinola timepiece should not be limited to its price tag but also to the humanity and pride it deserves. 

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Last Updated on October 8, 2021 by The o.d.m team