Shinola was originally founded as a small-scale shoeshine manufacturer in 1907. The business boomed during WWI, and the company achieved pop culture status for the WWII-era colloquialism, “You don’t know s*** from Shinola.” The company was re-imagined in 2011 with the goal to make quality products—right here in America. Shinola partnered with a world-class watchmaker based in Switzerland to create a state-of-the-art watchmaking factory in midtown Detroit. Shinola then began training Detroit locals—many of whom had once worked for the auto industry—on the delicate process of movement and watch assembly.
The engine that drives Shinola watches is the Argonite movement—a complex machine requiring precise assembly of Swiss-made components. The movement is named for the heritage-rich building which houses its watch factory—the Argonaut, where GM’s legendary design teams produced countless industrial innovations, from the first fully automatic transmission to the first heart-lung machine. The objective of Shinola is to embody that same innovative—and drive the industrial legacy forward with every product.
The long tradition of Detroit watchmaking has just begun.