Former President Bill Clinton is one of many who are jumping aboard the Shinola bandwagon. Handmade in Detroit, Shinola is enlivening the city with its watch and bike manufacturing company. Shinola has been receiving a lot of recent press among politicians and fashion enthusiasts alike. Not only do the watches come with a lifetime warranty, but they are meticulously crafted and very affordable. After President Clinton was invited to tour the factory he was reported to have purchased fourteen watches as gifts, and had his own custom made watch with the presidential seal. Clinton has been sporting the watches to high profile events and skyrocketing publicity had resulted for the company along with other Democrats and Republicans alike. Not only has Shinola become a much-needed bipartisan fashion statement, but they have also become an icon for the regrowth of American industry through the arts.
Of course, nobody is more enthused than Shinola CEO Steve Bock, who is thrilled to be supported by President Clinton. He had no expectations for his Detroit handmade crafts living up to such a big name. At the same time, Bock remains laid-back in his attitude toward the industry, adopting the old ideas of good craftsmanship being the best sales pitch. Republican Governor Rick Snyder is the latest high profile endorsement for the company. He has been more than excited to be representing Michigan with every bill he signs into law. The company is quickly becoming a symbol for the rebirth of American manufacturing, especially in the once prosperous “Motor City.” Even Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr wears a Shinola watch to promote the hometown company. The watches have become symbols of pride and promise not only in Detroit but across the state of Michigan and New York as well where a flagship store was recently opened.
Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said on Friday that “it’s about jobs and the talent and craftsmanship of the workers who made it happen.” Located in a once-struggling area of the city, Shinola has provided numerous jobs and opportunities for growth making that part of the city lively and hip again.
Each watch ranges from $475 to $975, which, compared to other luxury brands such as Rolex and Cartier, is an incredible deal for a similar or perhaps better product. Shinola’s main message is to be accessible to all, a familiar message coming from Detroit, always upheld as the beacon for the middle class. Shinola CEO Steve Bock talks about the lifetime warranty also included in the purchase of the watch. “If you average the price tag per wear, it’s almost free” boasts Bock who is interested in selling only the highest quality of merchandise from a city that was known for the same in decades past.
The watches have quickly become a staple for businessmen and politicians alike. Everyone’s vying to show their support for the recently misguided American Dream. The peak of Shinola sales began when Detroit’s finest were invited to a high-profile Chamber of Commerce event and they realized that more than half of them were sporting the now familiar watches. A hashtag began trending worldwide that night, #showyourshinola, and the momentum has yet to slow down. Handmade in Detroit, a long-held tradition, lives on through Shinola’s watches.
By Sindhu Reddy