Over the years, we’ve been reluctant to take any money from you, our readers, despite your many generous requests to offer it. This website has never been anything but a vanity project. It doesn’t serve as a portfolio, nor does it help us curry any favor with OEMs—quite the opposite, as the virtual army of people who comb every word of this blog for ammo to use against us with our employers, family, and friends continually demonstrates.
We tried Google ads for a while. They didn’t even cover our hosting costs, and they were distasteful. So no more of that.
Some of you have suggested Patreon. That feels even dirtier than Google Ads to me. Transparently, both Jack and I earn well above the national median income, and there’s no reason why anybody should pay us money directly in these times when so many people are unemployed and in greater need than we are.
However, I was recently offered the opportunity to help promote one of the brands that both Jack and I have written about at length, and a brand that I have personally spent more money supporting than any other (with the exception of Ford and Genesis) in the last 8 years. That brand is Shinola.
We’ve talked about Shinola here, here, and here. I bought my first Shinola watch, a blue 41mm Runwell, in January of 2016 and I bought my most recent one a few weeks ago. In between those purchases, I have bought 14 other watches, multiple wallets, business card holders, belts, and even hats. I constantly scan eBay for deals. I have my own personal contact at the Grand Rapids store who shoots me off any photos of interesting models. When Shinola launched their first automatic version of the Runwell watch, I immediately ordered serial number 5, in honor of my father’s number at Notre Dame, my number in high school sports, and my son’s number on his club soccer team, and it has become my everyday watch. I have everything from that top of the line $1100 automatic Runwell to a $395 resin body Detrola, as well as a Guardian, a Bedrock, a Canfield, 2 Canfield Bolts, a Black Blizzard, 2 Brakeman, and 6 Runwells. You can see much of my personal collection in the very poor photo at the top of the page.
So, yeah, I believe in the brand. Which is why I am completely comfortable offering my endorsement of it to you, our readers.
We talk about how important it is to buy American here. Shinola comes as close to being “American” as any mass watch manufacturer since 1969. The most important thing they have done, in your author’s opinion, has been to return manufacturing jobs to Detroit. They partnered with Ronda AG to train workers in Detroit to assemble watches, bringing back a skill set that was literally lost in this nation. They built so many watches in their first year that they couldn’t source all of the necessary straps, so they built a strap factory that now builds 140,000 straps per year, all in Detroit.
Is it 100% American? As we’ve discussed in the past, no. Movements are still Swiss. Some components are still Chinese. But pricing has stayed level, and new models are being introduced regularly, including the Duck (which I have on order), new versions of their Monster Dive watch (I lust after the Bronze and Harbor Monster) and several others.
If you find yourself wanting any Shinola product, please use my affiliate link here and accept cookies. Any purchases you make in the 30 days after you first click, we will receive a small portion of the sales, which we will apply toward our hosting costs. There is a Mother’s Day promotion, so if you haven’t bought your mom or wife anything yet, you can do it there and get it to your house tomorrow, provided you order now.
As new models and products are introduced in the future, we’ll feature them here, as well. Feel free to follow my Instagram as well, where I’ll be featuring some photos on rare occasion.
I hope that you feel comfortable with this method of supporting RG. I want to be completely transparent with all of this with the intent that you’ll be able to get a great product that I have personally spent several thousand dollars of my own money on—not some bullshit free “brand ambassador” watch rental program that some of my colleagues in the automotive press are pimping. I’m not getting any free product. I’m showing you pictures of watches I actually bought.
If this makes you feel a little icky, I get that, too. But please understand that if we didn’t believe in this brand so strongly, we wouldn’t do it.