Two weeks before Apple began selling its new Apple Watch, Shinola Detroit took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal. Above a large photo of its analog watch, The Runwell, was the tag, “The Watch That’s Too Smart to Try and Be a Phone.” The Runwell starts at $550, the same price as the smaller-sized Apple Watch.
“Smart enough that you don’t need to charge it at night,” the cheeky ad continued below the image. “Smart enough that Version 1.0 won’t need to be replaced next year.”
Critics carp that Shinola’s watch innards are imported from Switzerland. But as Jesse Hicks pointed out on The Verge, “America hasn’t made watches in serious quantities since the late 1960s. There remain a few specialty outfits in the U.S., but the real action is still overseas, particularly in Switzerland.”
You have to start somewhere. And Shinola—which bought the rights to the name of the old shoe-polish company—actually does manufacture products in the city limits of Detroit. The fashionable watches range up to $1,650. Not that this ex-Michigander can afford one while living under the thumb of California taxes, but my favorite is the $1,000 Henry Ford Pocket Watch. The back reads, “BUILT IN DETROIT. U.S.A. Movement with Swiss Parts.” Contrast...