Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hey Shinola -- You Know What Watch Enthusiasts Want

Watches are going out of style, we've all got the time on our phones, so watch ownership is becoming less and less about practical things like keeping time and more and more about intangibles like things that people like, and maybe they can't explain it rationally, and maybe they don't even try. They just like X, and that's basically the whole story. People who spend more than a little on watches these days tend to like mechanical watches. (Mechanical means driven by springs rather than batteries.)

Shinola, the shoe-polish company and part of the well-known old saying, has been making what looks like a huge comeback by expanding into things like bicycles and, for example, good-looking watches. I mean those watches really look sharp.

But last I'd heard they still all ran on quartz batteries.

The other day I happened to see a brand-new Shinola store and went inside for a look. The store is on a downtown corner and outside on the corner above the door next to the sign is a sharp-looking clock, looks a lot like those watches. Inside they had various knickknacks and a coffee bar with muffins and whatnot, and lots and lots and lots of those cool-looking watches.

All running on quartz batteries. And there's nothing wrong with that, from a practical point of view. Those kinds of watches tend to keep very good time. But like I said, watch ownership is becoming less and less about clear-cut tangible practical things like that. And I know that Shinola knows that people want mechanical watches because the salesman began to answer my question about mechanical watches practically before I was done asking it: no, there were no mechanical watches yet, no, he didn't know exactly when Shinola might start offering mechanical watches for sale. Just exactly as if he heard that same question many times a day.

What more can a person say about this?

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