When Shinola started making watches under the venerable shoe polish brand name a couple of years ago in near-bankrupt Detroit, everyone seemed to be thinking “What the hell…?” Since then, Shinola has proudly yelled to the world that American manufacturing isn’t dead, even in a town that seems decidedly deceased.
The Runwell, Shinola's flagship timepiece, is a growing family of watches with a workman air. A bit industrial, a bit old-timey American pocket watch, the Runwell comes in two sizes (41mm and 47mm) and gives the distinct impression that the guy wearing it would bloody your nose for making a wisecrack either about his girl or American manufacturing. To be entirely clear, it's powered by a quartz movement that uses Swiss-made Ronda AG parts, but give Shinola their due. Their small team of 13 or so young watch staff hand-assembles every watch in their Detroit facilities.
An ever-increasing range of finishes, colorways and strap/bracelet variations provides a surprising range of style variability; Shinola even recently introduced a black-on-orange dial version that wouldn't be out of place on the wrist of a burly biker. When we reviewed the watch in July we pointed out its wearability, even in the 47mm size. It’s eminently readable, especially the white-on-black dial version, with small seconds at 6:00.
If tackling the rejuvenation of watch manufacturing in America isn't enough for you, Shinola also proudly manufactures American-made bicycles, leather goods, and journals. They’ve just opened a flagship store in New York City, and their headquarters is housed in the historic GM-built Argonaut Building in Detroit. It would appear the folks who run Shinola have captured something uniquely American: a blue collar work ethic coupled with an entrepreneurial can-do attitude. The Shinola is an extension of that, and we're not about to bet against it.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers