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It Came From Lake Erie: Shinola’s First Dive Watch and First Automatic


When it comes to mythical sea creatures, Scotland has nothing on Detroit. Most of us are familiar with the Loch Ness Monster, first sighted in a lake in the Scottish Highlands in the Sixth Century A.D. but not revealed to the world at large until 1933. Fewer may be aware of the so-called Lake Erie Monster, spotted as early as 1783 and an enduring legend in the U.S. Great Lakes region. It was only fitting that Shinola, based in the Great Lakes metropolis of Detroit, adopt the name for its newest timepiece, which represents not one but two firsts for the brand: its first dedicated divers’ watch, and its first watch outfitted with a mechanical self-winding movement.

Shinola Lake Erie Monster - LE - map
The Shinola Lake Erie Monster Limited Edition features the Shinola brand’s first automatic movement.

The Shinola Lake Erie Monster Limited-Edition Timepiece was conceived, according to the brand, as a tribute to “the explorers, sailors, pioneers, and divers who have spent centuries discovering the wonders of the nation’s largest fresh water lakes” as well as “the natural beauty of the Great Lakes.” This mission statement is in keeping with the staunchly pro-“made in America” identity of the company, which was founded in 2011 by an investment group led by former Fossil Watch CEO Tony Kartsotis, in part to bring back manufacturing jobs to the long-beleaguered city of Detroit.

Shinola Lake Erie Monster - front
The watch meets the industry standard ISO 6425 criteria for divers’ watches.

The watch, whose 43-mm stainless steel case’s profile is designed to evoke the lines of historical sailing ships, is engineered for serious underwater use: it is rated to depths up to 1,000 feet (300 meters) and has a double-domed sapphire crystal with nonreflective coating. It has undergone a battery of in-house tests at Shinola’s watch factory in the Motor City to meet the ISO 6425 international standard for divers’ watches, and has a unidirectional rotating bezel with a ceramic insert. Super-LumiNova-coated indices provide high contrast — and thus high underwater legibility — with the black enamel dial, which marks the 12 o’clock hour with a “diver down” flag.

Shinola Lake Erie Monster - dial CU - lume
The black enamel dial has large, luminous indices and hands.

For its first watch with an automatic movement, Shinola chose the Argomatic R-150, manufactured by Ronda, a well-known, prolific purveyor of quartz movements for various watch brands that only recently re-introduced mechanicals into its repertoire. (Ronda also supplies movements and movement parts for much of the rest of Shinola’s watch collections, all of which use quartz movements.) The R150 has a Swiss lever escapement, 25 jewels, and a 40-hour power reserve when fully wound. The movement ticks behind a solid steel caseback that features a relief engraving of the eponymous sea monster, complete with a genuine blue sapphire eye and the watches limited edition number. Like all Shinola watches, the Lake Erie Monster is assembled entirely in Shinola’s Detroit watch factory.

Shinola Lake Erie Monster - Caseback
An engraved image of the watch’s namesake sea monster appears on the caseback.

The Shinola Lake Erie Monster Limited Edition Timepiece retails for just $2,250, in a handsomely packaged set that also includes a Princeton Tech diver’s flashlight, a divers’ map of the Great Lakes, and an additional black rubber strap and black fabric strap that can be easily swapped with the stainless-steel bracelet with the included tools. A purchase will also grant the buyer membership into Shinola’s so-called “Foundry,” a select group of customers with access to exclusive shopping opportunities and discounted shipping. In addition to the 500 pieces being sold at Shinola retailers and at the Shinola website, there will be five even more exclusive, un-numbered pieces launched as an “IPO” (Initial Product Offering) on the Detroit-based online platform StockX, proceeds from which will benefit the empowerment plan and Detroit Children’s Fund — and which will likely be as rare as sightings of the monster itself.

Shinola Lake Erie Monster - packaging
The Lake Erie Monster comes with a divers’ flashlight, diving map, and additional straps.

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16 Responses to “It Came From Lake Erie: Shinola’s First Dive Watch and First Automatic”

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  1. That looks pretty cool to me, I’m happy they are making watches a little more upscale now. I think I might order one, myself. Not many US watches to choose from. I also like what RGM has done.

    Reply
    • Randy Rogers

      RGM aside, don’t let Patriotism get confused with reality, “Made in”, “Manufacture”, “Assembled” are mutually exclusive, components sent to Detroit from wherever in the world to be put together, does not equal American Made. Think Buick in China.

      Reply
  2. Randy Rogers

    Underwhelming, “to copy may be the most sincere for of flattery”, but create something different, Crown Protector, Shape, over-valued for Brand positioning as brand tries to garner $ against lost Units.

    Reply
  3. Watchmechanic

    A $2000 dive watch with a case back held in place by four tiny corner screws? Seriously? This screams “watch case made in China (assembled in America by the guys who saved money having the case made in China by the lowest bidder).

    Reply
  4. Another absurdly over-priced piece from Chinola. For this price a person can buy any number of excellent watches that are far better value for money.

    Reply
  5. Hardly likely that I will sniff at a $1000 watch offered for more than twice the amount.

    Reply
  6. Danny Simenauer

    Shinola continues to impress! Beautiful watch for serious divers made in America. Shinola continues to show its attention to design and making high quality watches. Now please come up with a “Tank” style watch for men.

    Reply
  7. Will the R-150 movement be assembled from Ronda parts in Detroit, or purchased by Shinola as an assembled movement and cased in Detroit?

    Reply
  8. The name “Shinola” I believe is poorly chosen as it reminds some of us of the old saying “sh#t and shinola” that is not a positive image.
    Giving away a flashlight further diminishes the brand. what’s next, a turkey for thanksgiving?

    Reply
    • tim

      If you understand the “grit” of Detroit, you get the name and is actually a very positive image. I got a crappy hat after purchasing a $5k Breitling and a fancy keychain after purchasing a $9k Panerai. A diver flashlight to complement the watch is a great idea that will be used in or out of the water. Seems like you don’t really understand the market.

      I happily just purchased this piece. Primarily because I’ve been waiting for Shinola to release an automatic, partly because I lived in Detroit for 10 years and appreciate what they do for the community, and partly because I’m happy to pay a bit of a premium for a timepiece that has some nice, subtle offerings at this price point (like ceramics). And it comes with 3 straps – DONE!

      Can’t wait for it to show up in my mailbox!

      Reply
    • BalloonTireRider

      The saying is “You don’t know “SHIT from SHINOLA”. Seems fairly apt to me…

      Reply
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