The Shinola Canfield
Fawning over US industrialisation and promising to “make America great again” have become particularly on trend in recent months, but American watch brand Shinola don’t just talk the talk. Creating world-class manufacturing jobs in the downtrodden US city of Detroit, the brand is playing a key role in reinvigorating an economy, and a community, left in tatters. And Shinola is doing it in style.
Shinola is fairly new to the yard, established in 2011 on the principle that consumer products should be built to last, and that said products should and could be made in America. Shinola was originally known for creating shoe polish, an all-American brand shining the shoes of a nation in the great age of American production. The brand went the way of much of Detroit’s auto industry, folding in 1960, leaving a city in decline, and eventually declared bankrupt. Until Tom Kartsotis, ex-chief at Fossil, took the name so well known in the States (the expression “You don’t know sh*t from Shinola”, had remained in common, if slightly dated, parlance), and attached it to the first company in decades to produce watches at scale in America.
And what watches. Contemporary but with a vintage feel, these timepieces take a mid-century Modernist approach to design, resulting in utilitarian, refined pieces with a signature style. The Runwell and Birdy collections have enjoyed widespread success as pieces of nifty new-Americana, popular with creatives, watch-lovers, and followers of the zeitgeist alike.
And this year, Shinola introduced The Canfield to their roster; available in both 43mm and 38mm case sizes for both men and women, with a top load case construction that allows for an open dial viewing area, and slim, diamond-cut hands. The model also sports a signature coin edge detail on the case, with wire lugs and Shinola’s exclusive Argonite font. The smaller case size also has a patent-pending swing lug construction and pairs a thin strap and stitch construction with a vintage oval buckle. Each piece is water resistant to 5 ATM and boasts the Shinola standard; scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Shinola’s Argonite 1069, 5021 or 715 movements. It’s top loaded design means it sits closer to the wearer’s wrist, with a wider dial that’s both sleek and modern.
Because The Canfield’s top load construction requires an increased level of sophisticated assembly techniques, Shinola’s craftspeople were trained through a rigorous coaching program with detailed hands-on instruction; marking an advancement in the brand’s production of increasingly complex movements. These are truly handcrafted watches, with level of quality that should be patriotically inspirational to all American manufacturers; guaranteed for life and built, as Shinola say, to last even longer.