By on January 25, 2014

shinolatudor

Starting with the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race, the highest levels of sports car and prototype road racing in the U.S. will operate under a single series. The Grand Am and American LeMans Series racing organizations have merged and are now operating as the United SportsCar Championship, sanctioned by IMSA and controlled by the France family that owns NASCAR and a number of first tier racetracks around the United States. Tudor, Rolex’s less expensive (but still costly) brand of luxury watches, signed on to be the USCC series title sponsor, which will create an interesting situation when the trophies are handed out after the USCC race in Detroit on May 31st. While the USSC has Tudor as a series sponsor, another company that makes watches, Shinola, is a sponsor and “key partner” of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Shinola is the official timepiece of the CDBIGP, it provides all of the timekeeping services for qualifying and racing on Grand Prix weekend and winners of all of the races will receive commemorative Shinola watches. Races that weekend include two IndyCar races, a Tudor United Sports Car Championship race, a Pirelli World Challenge series race and a race of Robbie Gordon’s Stadium Super Truck series.

It’s pretty obvious that Shinola is taking a page from Rolex’s use of motorsports to sell pricey timepieces. Stick and ball athletes want a championship ring. Sports car racers want one of the Rolex watches given to winners of the Daytona endurance race.

Shinola’s sponsorship of the Detroit Grand Prix makes a lot of sense for both the company and the race organizers. Shinola, a brand name revived from the former shoe polish company by Fossil watch founder Tom Kartsotis, was founded in part to take advantage of Detroit as a brand. All Shinola products are branded “Shinola Detroit” and Kartsotis leases a floor in the Taubman building of the College of Creative Studies in Detroit’s midtown section, where they assemble watches from Swiss movements and Chinese components. That building is also known as the Argonaut Bldg and it formerly housed General Motors Laboratory and Harley Earl’s design staff at GM. Shinola bicycles are also assembled in Detroit and the company has gone from 4o local employees to 175 in less than a year. Detroit, the city, the culture and the image, are important parts of Shinola’s overall branding as is sourcing as many American made supplies as is possible. In addition to watches and bicycles, Shinola sells high quality leather goods.

The word “Detroit” is symbolic of a lot of things, the Big 3 domestic automakers and a bankrupt hollowed out city come to mind but if there is one thing Detroit is, it’s authentic. That’s what Kartsotis found out when he commissioned some consumer research. Study subjects were presented with three pens of apparently equal quality and told that they were made in China, the U.S.A., and Detroit and were priced at $5, $10, and$15 respectively. “People picked the Chinese pen over the USA pen because it was cheaper,” Kartsotis said. “But when offered the Detroit pen, they were willing to pay the higher price point.” With Detroit so much a part of their company’s image, it’s not surprising that they worked out a sponsorship deal with the Detroit Grand Prix organizers.

When Tudor’s deal with the USCC was announced, I wondered what impact that deal would have on Shinola’s sponsorship of the Detroit race. That question was answered today when the CDBIGP held a promotional event with some race drivers in connection with family day at the Detroit auto show. Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball were there from the IndyCar series, as were Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim, who will be racing for hometown Cadillac in the Pirelli World Challenge race, along with Todd Napieralski, who races a Camaro in the same series. Before meeting with the press and then with the public, the drivers were taken on a tour of the Shinola facility and presented with watches. Perhaps that explains why there weren’t any drivers from the Tudor sponsored USCC race at the press event.

Tudor USCC racers may not have gotten a freebie watch today, but as part of today’s event the announcement was made that Shinola would again be the official timepiece and timekeeper of the race, and sponsor the Shinola Victory Circle at this year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Mention was made that “all race winners during the course of the weekend will be presented with a Shinola”. That means that the folks at Tudor and their bosses at Rolex will get to watch someone else’s watch get presented to the winners in a race series they sponsor, in front of a sign bearing the Shinola logo. Somehow I’m pretty sure that Tudor’s post-race press release will not mention the winners’ timepieces and it will be interesting to see if race organizers cover up the Shinola logos behind the podium during the Tudor USCC race’s award presentation.

Now while both Tudor and Shinola sell watches that this guy more used to $10 Timexes would consider expensive, they don’t actually compete in the same market segment. Shinolas are quality watches, made in limited, numbered runs, but they cost between ~$500 and $1,000, far from the horological high end. Tudors, our watch collecting Editor in Chief pro tempore tells me, start at about $5,000. If you’ve ever seen post-race ceremonies, you’ve probably seen the “hat dance” that goes on, with the top finishers being handed baseball cap after baseball cap to make sure that all the relevant sponsors get their logo on the winners’ head. Perhaps in time we’ll start seeing different brands of watches getting slipped on and off the winners’ wrists.

shinolathumb

Shinola leather, coming to a steering wheel near you soon?

Kartsotis and his company have invested millions in setting down roots in the Motor City, making Detroit part of their brand and becoming part of the business community here. One role in that community that until now Shinola has not taken on is that of a supplier to the auto industry but that may change. At the Grand Prix press event a Shinola rep handed me a thumb drive, the standard form for press kits these days. It was wrapped in the Horween leather used in Shinola’s products and it was embossed with the Shinola logo. The quality of the leather was such and it was sewn in a manner that made me ask if it had been wrapped and sewn at their Detroit facility. She told me that indeed it was. When I asked if they were looking into making leather steering wheel wraps she just smiled.

shinolalincoln

Shinola does already have some form of business relationship with Ford Motor Company. The watch company has made a limited edition watch commemorating the Mustang’s 50th anniversary, and a significant part of the Lincoln display at the NAIAS was set aside for a Shinola boutique with examples of many of their products. It wouldn’t surprise me if in the not too distant future we see a Lincoln Shinola edition with leather trim supplied by the Detroit startup.

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72 Comments on “Interesting Time To Come With Two Watchmaking Sponsors At the Detroit Grand Prix...”


  • avatar
    pragmatist

    ahh the craziness of sponsor madness.

    Watch companies can be on the extreme side. (if I remember the details correctly) one Jamaican athlete in the recent Olympics was prohibited from wearing his personal (good luck?) watch with the Jamaican flag colors because it wasn’t the sponsor’s brand.

    The funny thing is that many people have more than one or 2 watches, buying one does not mean you’re not going to buy another one (unlike cars).

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      When a company pays a celebrity a lot of money to endorse its watches, I think it’s eminently reasonable to request that he not appear in public wearing another brand.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I have a Shinola, it’s pretty nice. What I really want is a Tag Monaco, but I’m not quite ready to drop $4-6k on a timepiece yet.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    When I first noticed the Shinola watches I I was interested, but then I noticed they are quartz battery powered, not automatic mechanical. Hard to justify anything over $100 that is quartz. Swatch group is supposedly cutting back on selling its Swiss, automatic mechanical ETA movements to outside watchmakers, but ETA watches are available in the same price range as these Shinola watches. Under $200 for the ETA Swatch Irony. And Shinola could have always gone to the Chinese like the Kenneth Cole automatic mechanical watch line.

    • 0 avatar
      philipbarrett

      Exactly, buyer beware is certainly the mantra of high dollar watch purchases. Almost all “luxury” brands outsource their movements from the same 2 (rapidly becoming 1) source.

    • 0 avatar
      mrhappypants

      Yep. $500-$1000 for a watch whose second hand doesn’t sweep? There are new automatic swiss watches with ETA movements in that price range.

      • 0 avatar

        You can get a Seiko5 with an in-house automatic movement and day-date complication for $50 on Amazon. I’d way rather have that.

        • 0 avatar
          Macca

          ^ +1. Or even go for an Orient watch, which is owned by Seiko. They produce their own automatic movements in-house and were the inventors of the power-reserve meter to indicate remaining mainspring winding.

          I’ve never understood the draw to expensive Swiss quartz watches. Many of the Tags and such that I observe from coworkers are quartz – seems like such a waste.

          Even the mundane Swiss automatics seem like overinflated bling for folks who don’t know any better. Now a super-complex Patek Philippe or Ulysse Nardin tourbillon seems like a good bet for estate planning, but I guess I don’t get the draw to a run-of-the mill Submariner for $5k.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Your comment made me check out the Orient web site. Thanks.

            The Bambino really speaks to me with its early-60s Bulova-esque vibe. Very pretty, very reasonable.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Orient is good stuff, but some of their watches are Chinese assembled. So long as a watch is assembled in China, you may as well bought your watch from walmart.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wear an Orient Mako automatic diver’s watch daily, purchased used on Ebay 2011. The watch states Japan movement. I bought it because I own several vintage mechanical and quartz Orients and like them. They were very popular in Southeast Asia and the Philippines. The Orients prior to Sekio were unique, check ebay if you’re looking for a different kind of watch.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Thanks, 28-Days. I am now perusing mechanical Orients. Cool stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          As long as the product number has a ‘J’ in it, the Seiko isn’t a piece of sh1t.

        • 0 avatar
          mrhappypants

          You’d “way rather” have a $50 watch than a $500 watch. That’s like “way rather” having a Corolla than a 3-series.

          Why not say you’d way rather pay $50 for a watch? If you’re going to be cheap, embrace it.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            I would take a corolla over a 3-series any day. I’m of a practical bent, and I’ll take bland and reliable over what BMW has to offer every day of the week. The BMW image clashes with my personality, and the sportier tune of the suspension doesn’t do much for me on the straight roads of the Midwest. Corolla FTW!

            My cellphone replaced my watch years ago, but I’m tinkering with a Pebble Smartwatch. I’m still not sold on the value proposition of the smartwatch, but the SDK is a kind of embedded-programming fun I haven’t had since college, so tinker I will!

          • 0 avatar

            I’d take the Seiko5 over a lot of Swiss watches that are just ETA movements with a lot of $$ spent on branding.

        • 0 avatar
          Eric 0

          You can also get a $2000 grand Seiko quartz watch that will be very nice indeed. (Granted the automatics cost even more,) but the Japanese don’t seem to equate quartz with cheap, and automatic/mechanical with luxury the way we do in the west. It is a shame though that Shinola doesn’t also offer mechanical movements. They would fit much better with the fake-retro appeal to history of Detroit thing.

          • 0 avatar
            juicy sushi

            I think that’s partly down to having invented most of the technology for that. They know how much effort went into making a superior technology, and aren’t ashamed of having done so. If you want mechanical, Seiko have plenty of those as well, and at stupid price points to match.

        • 0 avatar
          juicy sushi

          I was just about to make a snarky post saying that I’d just stick with my Seiko 5.

          You too the words right out of my keyboard…

  • avatar
    skor

    “…..and controlled by the France family that owns NASCAR…”

    What!? NASCAR owned by cheese eating surrender monkeys!? I’m never going to another NASCAR event again.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    I do find it a bit strange that mechanical watch makers seem to want to tie their chronographs to auto racing when nothing of significance in auto racing is timed mechanically. No one is actually timing with a wrist chrono, certainly not drivers or pit crews.

    But it’s all about a fabricated retro influenced image.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I’d rather have a smart watch so that I can discretely check sports scores. Functionality over fashion.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        My ‘gearhead’ watch is an analog G-shock … I don’t have to worry about it when reaching under the hood, or digging my Jeep out of a mudhole.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          In those situations, I don’t wear a watch. Reaching under the hood usually involves tight spaces and cleaning my arms is bad enough – I don’t want to deal with cleaning a watch. For sports, I usually strap a smart phone to my arm. A lightweight case for cycling – armored waterproof for riskier sports.

          I want to pick up a smart watch for social and business occasions where I might want to stay “plugged in”, but want to be discreet about it.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I never wear a watch, I always know what time it is to within 5 minutes anyway. The one watch I do own is the classic Saab “Turbo Gauge” watch bought for peanuts at a Saab convention years ago. It has probably had a dead battery for many years. That watch is about useless for telling time, but it does look pretty cool.

            If I am going to pay $5K for something, it had best have a steering wheel!

  • avatar

    At Aventura Mall in Miami, there is a separate store for virtually every luxury watch brand that exists. I’m kinda amazed to see it, it looks like there are more luxury watch makers than automakers, despite the fact that the market is much smaller.

    The craftsmanship on the Tudor looks significantly nicer than the Shinola. (Of course it should at the given price points). I wonder how many contestants are disappointed to see the Shinola in their gift bags instead of the Tudor.

    How much do they get for promoting the watches, anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      I won’t buy a Shinola until they switch over to an automatic mechanical movement, but I would rather wear a Shinola than a Tudor. A Shinola says “I support Detroit and/or manufacturing startup companies”. A Tudor says “I spent a lot of money on a watch but still could not afford a real Rolex”.

      There are tons of great choices for a Swiss automatic mechanical watch short needing to compromise (expensive but not a real Rolex) with a Tudor, like Tissot and Hamilton:

      http://www.swatchgroup.com/en/brands_and_companies/watches_and_jewelry

    • 0 avatar

      First it was the Omega boutique, now Rolex has their own and even Corum opened one up. Do you live around there? I have a lot of family in the area.

      • 0 avatar

        I live in West Palm Beach, but Miami has a vibrant creative arts scene that I really enjoy participating in.

        Did you know that Aventura Mall actually has slightly higher retail sales than the entire City of Detroit? That’s right, one mall.

        There is, however, a tragic lack of $100 houses in Miami. Actually, Miami has essentially nothing in the way of affordable housing at all. Even the lousy parts are pricey.

        D

  • avatar
    CliffG

    I don’t think I could wear a Shinola, because of the old phrase (probably military and probably related to their shoe shine days) regarding “s**t and shinola”. Every time I looked at it I would think ” hmm, s**t and shinola”. Luckily for them the old guys like me who remember that are fading into the distance…

    • 0 avatar

      The actual phrase is an insult, as in “he doesn’t know sh!t from Shinola”. The brand was never associated with fecal material, rather the brand name was used to mock people who couldn’t tell sh!t from shoe polish (and I’d bet that before the Shinola brand was originated, people would say that as well – it’s just as alliterative).

      • 0 avatar
        cwallace

        Thank you, I was afraid I was the only person who immediately thinks of that with every mention of Shinola. That was a favorite phrase of my Michigan-native grandfather.

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          i’m not from the US but even i know the shinola saying

          there’s very few ‘new companies’ that make watches worth buying

          there are actually very few electric watches worth buying outside of citizen ecodrives and exotics like omega x33s

          when i say “worth buying” i mean spending more than $100 on

          i have no problems with anyone buying a cheap $50 japanese quartz

          $500 quartz? yeahh…. nah

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I wear an Elgin 671 movement (stainless and pearl) with a formfunctionform USA made chromexel band. Last movement made in the states. All other watches are pretentious garbage, IMHO.

    I would pay good money for a Shinola if they started making their own movements. How sweet would it be to own the first American made movement in over 45 years?

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      Strap on an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, and see how fast you reconsider the “pretension aversion”. The Co-Axial movement is pretty remarkable, it’s a lot smoother than typical automatics (including Rolexes, especially Rolexes.)

      • 0 avatar

        My Uncle has a regular Co-Axial Seamaster, it’s lovely. I still like the Rolex range before they went to the BRIC-spec wide lug case. At least their movements are in-house and rugged.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I wouldn’t be able to justify the expense nor am I lucky enough to know someone who can afford one. I’m still not over the late 60’s when Elgin lost its way and couldn’t fit in between Seiko and whatever WWII neutral watch maker was trendy at the time. The movement inside my watch is rather ingenious, and it’s even more striking that it’s components were all mostly fabricated and assembled right here in the states.

  • avatar
    PeteRR

    Is it shin-ola or shine-ola? I’m assuming the former.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Shinola as a Detroit luxury goods brand doesn’t make sense to me. It’s a Rochester NY Shoe polish. Why not Crowley Milner & Company or Ernst Kern. They’re Detroit brands and I think the copyrights are clear. There are probably others as well.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    The hazard of getting old is I can’t remember anything right. Thanks, Ronnie.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I am a former Rolex owner. Worst premium watch I’ve ever had. I currently wear a Tissot I inherited that is from the 1930’s – a trouble free timepiece. I never bought into the electric watches, as I was lucky enough to have a Father who grew up idolizing the complications of the early 1900’s. I have a Mathey-Tissot from that era I take out to show off occasionally, and an early IWC he also purchased with a GM bonus check in about 1938. On a divergent note, am I the only one wondering why the Corvette’s at Daytona seem to be running at such a low RPM? It sounds as though they’re running about 4-4500 at racing speed. Allowing for my uneducated ears, perhaps 55-6000? My old Lincoln sounds better at 4500 and it has almost 100k miles on it, but its DOHC. What is Chevrolet doing that has the powerband at such a low engine speed? Maybe endurance-spec? I am really curious, I am not trying to cast aspersions on GM in any way. I am a pushrod fan, and the things they accomplish with this architecture astound me.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    I would argue the entire swiss watch industry is a giant con, but at least if you buy something like an $8,000 Rolex (that probably cost $400 to manufacture) you’ll probably be able to get a lot of that money back when it comes time to sell.

    But a Shinola watch is basically a $50 quartz watch you’d get at JC Penney that they’re trying to get top dollar for.

    The fact that part of it is made in Detroit (but not the actual watch movement) doesn’t really impress me.

    • 0 avatar
      zbnutcase

      Funnny you should mention that. My best watch ever is my current one, an all stainless steel Armitron. Japanese movement. Dead nuts accurate. Killer band. 5.25oz weight. Bought for $60 at a Fathers Day sale in June 2008 at none other than JC Penneys. Did replace the battery in March 2012, first time ever. Still going strong. And looks like it cost $500 or more. And, the more you pay for a watch, the less accurate it is! :-) Beats the snot out of my previous Citizen….

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Rolex doesn’t sell watches, they sell exclusivity.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    When it comes to “high end” watches, it better not be quartz and obviously must be automatic. I’ve seen people buy $2,000 watches with a quartz movement, which makes absolutely no sense at all.

    I’m a Tag Heuer and Omega guy myself. Never liked Rolex because of the way they look on my wrist, like an old man watch. IWC makes some nice watches as well, but the movement isn’t a nice as a Tag or an Omega, despite the higher prices.

    So, Shinola can get bent with their quartz watches.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I collect watches and I would probably never buy a Shinola, it just does not appeal to me. I have Longines, IWC, Movados, Raymond Weil, Rado, Breitling and Chopard and others. My next watches will be a Lange and a Bell & Ross. Never liked Tag and would not be caught dead with a Rolex, to me that automatically screams new money. I did briefly own a Submariner, but that thing was a damn brick. My favorite watch is my Breitling Aerospace Titanium, if I had to only own one watch in life, it would be that watch. I am also partial to my $15 Casio calculator watch and I miss my diving watch that I had when I was a kid came with a mini scuba tank. I had a Tissot T-Touch for a little bit, that was a pretty cool watch too, I might re-buy one again. I am still trying to force myself to like Panerai.

    The whole quartz vs automatic fight never interested me, wear what you like. Also if you are arguing that you cellphone clock is good enough for you or that a $50 watch is all you need to buy, then the high-end watch market is not for you and not aimed at you.

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      Well said, I at once loathe men who say “whaddaya need a watch for, just lookit yer phone”, and appreciate that they so readily self-select themselves as rubes (thanks PeteRR for the word I was looking for.)

      Your shoes and your watch are important markers. Think about this the next time you meet someone- you’ll subconsciously look for clues from these two things. Pick whatever brands you want, but plan accordingly.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Your shoes and your watch are important markers”

        It goes both ways. I can think of many situations where going around in a four-figure watch would be a poor choice.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        ” Pick whatever brands you want, but plan accordingly.”

        Interesting point. Though on consideration, I suspect that in many cases I’d rather be seen with my G-shock. Somehow that’s me.

        [On a side note, I was reading an article by an escort lady, who said she checks the watch a potential client is wearing to gage his potential]

      • 0 avatar
        Spartan

        Personally, I wear a watch because I’ve always appreciated nice timepieces. Also, when you need to know what time it is in a meeting, it’s just tacky and unprofessional to pull out a phone. And more often than not, I don’t have the ability pull out my phone when I’m in a meeting that requires me to leave my phone outside the room for privacy and security reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Love Rado I have several.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    There is to me, no watch more esthetically pure than the black dial Sinn UTC Flieger models. Sadly though (by his own account) when Helmut Sinn sold the company, the first thing the new owners did was drastically raise the prices of the entire line.

  • avatar
    Eric 0

    For me a lot of the fun of watches comes from their obsolescence. Product categories usually get really cool and interesting after they become functionally obsolete. Look at how crazy-awesome turntables got after the CD killed the Vinyl LP. For a man, a watch was traditionally part time-keeper, part signaling device, much in the same way a car is part transportation device, part signaling device.
    How much emphasis one places on function vs signaling is both personal and situational. Once I got a cellphone I gradually stopped wearing a watch, and relied on my phone only for about 5 years. But as I got older, and failed to grow up, I started to feel like I should have a grownup man’s watch. When I started looking, I was startled at how big and gaudy watches had become in only a few years. The ubiquitous cellphone had eliminated the last pretense to functionality, so watch makers had to double down on looks, and they sure did. These things had gotten huge. I went the other way, and looked to vintage military watches as the ideal combination of function, aesthetics and semiotics. From there I quickly found my way into vintage Rolex, (having always thought of Rolex as the tackiest yuppy-scum signifier going.) After hunting for a year I recently purchased a 1970 Rolex Submariner in excellent condition, for about the same price as a brand new one costs. (About 20x my original budget when I began my search for a watch.) I still use my cellphone to tell the time, and sync the Rolex to it every day.

    In a way men are lucky to be able to still wear a watch. Women have so many types of jewelry they can wear, at every conceivable price point. Men have to boil it all down into a single watch. And now that we don’t need them to tell time, we can wear them purely as jewelry, which is as it should be. Arguing a Timex or a phone keeps more accurate time than a Rolex, (which keeps terrible time) is like arguing that a Corolla is a much more practical family car than a vintage Ferrari. It entirely misses the point. We like watches to have automatic movements for roughly the same reason Nascar cars are still carburated.

    In the future, when 99% of cars are electric and self-driving, the few driver-driven internal combustion powered cars remaining in production will be insanely cool. The last company to make such a production car will probably be Morgan. I’ll get one to match my Rolex.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This article aggravated my dormant watch collecting habit. Ebay thanks you but I don’t :)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Most of the time I wear a $10 copy of a Swiss Army watch on the weekends and around the house. I have real Swiss Army watches, Seiko watches, a few old windup watches,Skageen, Bulova, and Stuhrling. I actual prefer the real thin quartz watches. I would never spend over $100 for a watch. Most people don’t even wear watches.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I have a few old the old “thin” windups, a Bulova, a Movado, and a Doxa I can see on the desk, along with a even thinner quartz Seiko, Citizen, and Pulsar near those. Truthfully for a while now I’ve just been wearing a diver automatic and occasionally switch to a Seiko world timer, for formal wear this Rado automatic or Movado quartz museum watch. I find the diver to be the best all around watch because its band is rubber and the watch itself is waterproof so I never have to remember to take it off in the gym (ruined more than one quartz that way).

  • avatar
    zbnutcase

    And, as far as Shinola goes, I will stick with Armitron, thank you. God they look CHEAP. They probably are made by an Armitron wannabe.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    This is barely “Detroit Made”; overseas movements and overseas cases are being snapped together in a building that happens to be in Detroit. All the real manufacturing work ain’t done here. Saying this is made in Detroit is like saying a Land Rover is Made In The Dealership because the engine (and all the electrical parts) got swapped out there.

    Though I, for one, don’t mind the quartz movement at all. It does speak towards actual practicality vs. complicated just to be complicated mechanical movements. I really don’t understand why anybody would favor a mechanical movement. They are more complicated, more expensive, more fragile than all but the cheapest quartz movements. And even a quartz watch out of a cereal box is more accurate. If Mercedes were to take an engine design out of the 1920’s, put it in a modern car, and pretend it was the most advanced engine they ever made, they’d be a laughing stock.

    That’s not to say there is no such thing as pride in craftsmanship, and I have no problem with nostalgia for the technology of the past, but there’s no way in which a mechanical watch is superior to a half-way decent quartz one. (Okay, unless you consider a $5 battery every 7-10 years to be a real huge drawback with your perfectly fine watch you bought at Macy’s for $100 or so.)

    • 0 avatar
      NN

      This is interesting, however, assembled in Detroit by a shoe-polish brand company is not strong enough in a business where branding and origin/authenticity is everything. No one needs a watch to tell time anymore, it’s jewelry, and this is like a cubic zirconium. If the movement and components were US sourced then it would be very compelling, no matter what the brand name is. But until that point, this seems more of an attempt to “wash” the authenticity of the product with a final assembly in Detroit, almost sounds like this watch maker is run by the UAW. How ironic! Luxury requires authenticity and this is too easy to see through. Though I’m glad to see 100+ jobs created, I’d argue the people selling Swiss watches at high margins probably make a better living.

      I wear a $300 Tissot that I bought 4 years ago, after having worn a quality Swatch Irony for 10 years. I could care less whether it is mechanical or quartz, the simple, elegant design and the craftsmanship of fine quality metals and casing is what attracts me…plus, the authentic Swiss origin. I would strongly consider a US made watch if one actually existed.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I’m so oblivious to watch culture. I wear the watch my wife bought me when we were dating. That was 9 years ago and it still works. This article and comments have certainly made me do some google, ebay, and amazon searches though.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    As the owner of several fountain pens and one mechanical watch, I have a lot harder time justifying the watch. Both require more work to use than their modern counterparts, they are more fussy and fragile. However, I have never written with a ballpoint, roller ball, or gel pen that came close to the ease of writing with a fountain pen. On the other hand, I have quartz watches that I can leave in a drawer for 9 months, and when I pull it out to wear (usually for a job that I don’t want to bang my mech watch around on) it’s dead nuts accurate. A $5000+ mechanical chronograph can’t come close to matching that kind of accuracy. I’ve regulated my watch to +/- 1min/week, but that’s still not great.

    I think there is a lot to be said for the craftsmanship in both items, but when a tool can’t do it’s job as well as the new tech, it’s awful hard to justify the massive expense.

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  • DungBeetle62: Don’t know whose apple my Dad polished but in the early 80s after a parade of awful Cutlasses...
  • JD-Shifty: lowest gas prices were under Clinton. But that’s none of my business. We’ve seen wild price...
  • Buickman: anyone notice AutoNews has eliminated their comment section?

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