I get email updates from a company called Shinola and their latest offering, a Henry Ford pocket watch, caught my eye. The video on their website shows a very nice T touring and is worth checking out just for that.
The reason I thought I'd post this here is that the company has a cool story. They only started up a few years ago and are handmaking time pieces in an old factory in Detroit. They also handbuild other items like bicycles.
There is a resurgence in this country of the desire for handmade things that are made in the USA, especially amongst some young people. Go to any metropolitan area and you'll find the same thing. Check out Best Made Co. out of NY. They are handmaking quality felling axes.
I wonder why they chose that name. Were they aware of the old saying?
That's pretty cool. I wonder if it is a real mechanical watch or just a battery powered stepping motor in a nice case.
Dave - I'm not a watch expert, so here's what their website has to say about it:
"The engine of a Shinola watch is the Argonite movement—a uniquely U.S.A. movement that is produced in our Detroit factory from nearly four-dozen Swiss-made parts. The complex assembly of each movement—a process that hasn’t been undertaken at this scale in the US in decades—requires highly-trained craftspeople skilled at manipulating miniature parts utilizing custom-made tools and optical magnification equipment. The movement is tested at every step of assembly to ensure it’s performing to stringent specifications.
Once the movement is tested, it gets attached to the dial, the hands are set, and it’s secured in a stainless steel case. Then the case gets closed and the backplate is attached. Each fully-assembled watch undergoes pressure testing to check for an atmosphere-proof seal and proper fitting of the stainless steel case, gaskets, and sapphire crystal. Following mechanical testing and a close visual inspection, the watchcase is fitted with high-quality straps of US-made Horween leather or stainless steel. The end result is a beautiful timepiece that is built to last, and built right here in America."
This should be posted in the Paint thread. The Model T is good example of a good paint job over poor body work. Many won't see past the shine but the panels look like the ocean. As far as the watch, a bit pricey to me ($1000) but I don't carry a pocket watch. Heck, I don't even wear a wrist watch anymore.
What old saying? Or shouldn't I ask?
"He doesn't know s#!t from Shinola."
On the specifications page, it talks about battery life, so I'm assuming this is a gussied-up quartz movement. Cool idea, but a real mechanical movement would be much more appropriate. $1,000 for a quartz watch seems a bit steep.
Mike, Is this what you mean.???? The old saying is referring to the "idea", that if you can not tell the difference when they are on your "shoe" that you may not be very "bright" or smart.
For those who don't know the difference, Shinola looks like this.
Looks like Donnie works faster than I do.
I can't imagine what caused those folks to choose that name for their company. I'm sure that's a nice watch, but I certainly wouldn't want one with "Shinola" proudly displayed on the dial.
What's really important is that you can tell crap from granola! Breathe mint anyone?
Yea, they make that too.
I guess i'm a little let down.When it was said Henry Ford and watch i hoped it would have been one of the 300 Hamilton 992's Henry bought for the DT&I RR.I'm sure this offering keeps better time but i'll stick with my 23j Hamilton Railway Special.Bud.I never did see the price?? Bud.
Bud, it's going for $1,000. Too pricey for me but sure is beautiful
Thanks Tim!! I think i better pass!! Bud.
Whether it's worth $1000 depends on what it really is. I tend to lump watches in four categories.
First there are the quartz, battery powered watches. These are the sub $100 specials or at least they should be. Despite the misuse of the word "movement" the only thing that moves is the stepping motor shaft and they are not a real watch. Actually, the left side of the photo Donnie posted above contains a real movement of sorts. Stamping Ford script on it before it cools could add value but doesn't change what it is at the end of the day.
Next are the "Japan Movement" watches. Costing around $150, they are real, mechanical watches but, the quality, durability and serviceability are questionable.
After that come most swiss watches. Costing a wide range of prices, these are very high quality but generally are built around a generic, swiss movement. If the Henry Ford watch is built using parts like this, it may be good value for the money.
Then there is Rolex, "The king of watches". Rolex makes their own movements in house. Quality is an obsession and they will spare no effort or expense to make the best. Their watches take years to make and are priced accordingly ranging from $6000 to more than $300000 each. Obviously, this is not the Henry Ford watch.
I don't care how well it's made, how long it took to make, or what it is made out of, NO watch will ever be worth 4 figures to me, much less 5 or 6. That's just crazy. I get that other folks may appreciate things like that. Not this kid.
To each his own of course. BTW, the watch that goes for $312,000.00 last I checked, is made of pure platinum, covered in fine diamonds and the dial is made of meteorite. You can say part of your watch is from space! Pretty exclusive stuff. You won't like the price of maintenance either. The current cost for cleaning and oiling is north of $500.00. All the money goes into making the watches and to charity as they are a non profit organization.
With all the counter fitting and fakes i think i had better stick with my gold railroad watch! If i walked into the Rolex store in my bib overalls would they wait on me?? Bud.
Dave Wells is correct. The Tissot PRS 516 on my wrist right now is one of those Swiss quartz movements, but it certainly didn't cost $1,000. I also have a watch with the mechanical "made in japan" movement, an Invicta. It keeps ok time but cost $90. So, for the Shinola (which is mostly hipster fodder), $1,000 seems a bit steep as I could have 2 more Tissots (a company with history back to 1853), or at least five nice 23j pocket watches for the price of the Shinola.
A few years back a Waltham Watch Co. 17 Jewel, Model Premier from the 1940's was offered at auction. Henry Ford signed the watch, and of course the estimated value of the watch could have bought a few Model Ts. If you want a pocket watch that Mr. Ford may have carried around and feel like a captain of industry yourself, you can find a real American made mechanical movement Waltham for around $150.00. Example of the same watch sold...
Nothing about that watch warrants $1000. Gonna be one of those things you buy and never get your money out of. It is a quartz movement. Google it for lots of information about the company. The link below is a pic of the movement.
The Henry Ford watch appears to be geared towards being a collectors piece, considering the stuff that comes with it, the packaging, and the limited production. You can get a stylish wrist watch on their site for half that.
I'm glad to see something being made in the US that hasn't been for a long time, even if they are only "assembling" the watches. Sure, I could buy one of comparable quality for less from a mall kiosk. But I'll buy something made in America, even at a premium, all day anyday.
The hipster comment did make me laugh though even if it's lost on most people who read this.
Perhaps the name was chosen on purpose. For those who know the difference, there product is not $#!t. But then on the other hand, no one who would spend $1000 on a watch would ever admit it was $#!t, even if it was.
While we're on the subject of pocket watches, I'll post a couple of pics of the one which belonged to my Granddad. He was born in 1899 and fought in WW-I. He was one of the best men I have ever known.
It too is a Waltham. The movement looks very similar to the one posted above, but there are some differences. The case is very plain, as would be his preference; I guess it's gold but don't really know. On the inside of the back it says "Colonial Series" and "Waltham." Do any of you watch gurus know a span of years when these were made? It's one of only two or three small articles of his that I have. Its monetary value doesn't matter to me; it's priceless.
My grandfather was an model T ambulance driver in the Great War. That is until he was hit by artillery fire carrying wounded back from the front. But he survived and carried this Elgin pocket watch, made in 1921 until his death in 1960. I wear it sometimes when driving my T.
I like your profile pic, Steve. (Nice watch too.) I seldom wear any clothes which have a pocket for a watch, but I do have some "bibs" in my closet. Guess I'll have to break them out.
I have always been fascinated with old clocks and pocket watches. I'd love to tell you my 1868 National Watch (forerunner to the Elgin Watch Co.) belonged to my great-great uncle Martin Elliott, who served in the 14th Wisconsin Vol. Infantry during the Civil War. But I bought if off ebay a while ago, and the owners told me their grandfather, who used to work for the railroad in the Chicago area during the depression, found it on a boxcar after running off a bunch of hobos. It is Sterling Silver and keeps near perfect time. I wear it as often as I can, as long as my blue jeans have a big enough small pocket on the right side.
Nice watch Bill. I've got one similar made in 1871 that I wear occasionally too.
Mike - Thanks. I wear a suit and tie daily, but when I get home I usually jump right into my bibs like you see in the pic. I always were a pocket watch, but for daily use its a modern version. On special occasions I switch to grandpa's watch or another from my small collection.
The information available on the internet is mind-boggling. I found some history of the Waltham Co. and was able to date my Granddad's watch by its serial number. It was made in 1918, midway between my '15 and '21 Model T's! (On-topic info ) I expect he got it when he returned from the war. I had no idea the watch was that old, and that only makes it more special.
I also learned that it is marked "A.W.W.Co. (American Waltham Watch Company) Waltham Mass.", that it has a 17-jewel movement, and that the case is gold-filled.
TMI, I know, but I was curious to know more about it and encourage others to dig into such things. The information you want is out there, right at your fingertips.
I've looked but i can't find my 25 year old watch book.Usually better watches are at least 21j and lever set.A person needs to open the back to tell the model and sn. Bud. ps/bs It's sad to say but the cheap quartz is more accurate usually than some of the best railroad watches.Bud.Other than the thought of a watch the cell phone tells you the correct time?? Bud.
As I said a number of you are "a captain(s) of industry", you have a real American made mechanical watch movement -- like the Model T.
I enjoy my trusty Rolex. I only wish I could look at the movement anytime I want like with a Waltham. Mine keeps near perfect time but yes, sadly, nothing will keep up with the clock on the cell phone. I just pretend it doesn't exist.
Thirty years ago i started carrying a pocket watch because i could not see a digital out in the sunlight.After a while i wanted better so i bought a railroader.I have yet to get a cell phone.Bud.
I'm 31, grew up with cell phones, and I still insist on either a wrist watch or a pocket watch every day. A real watch is just one of those things that a man should always have with him.
"A real watch is just one of those things that a man should always have with him."
So is a pocketknife, but there are lots of places you can't carry one. I went to our local federal building a while back to pick up some IRS forms for workman's comp insurance. I had a knife in my pocket, as always. They had me put everything from my pockets into a little basin, then told me I couldn't enter the building with the knife. I said they could just hold it for me until I ran upstairs and got the forms. No deal. I had to take the knife to my truck and leave it there while I went into the building. I felt so much safer being in the building after that!
Mike, I had a similar experience at a Red Wings game. I ALWAYS have a jackknife/pocket knife in my left pants pocket. In fact, my family will tell you my rote response to "do you have your knife with you" is "Do I have my pants on???". I don't even think about it anymore, so when my brother-in-law and I attended a Red Wings game in November, I was stopped at the entrance by security. They told me under no circumstances was I allowed in with a weapon and had to take it back to my car (which was parked a LONG way off in the bitter cold) or hand it over with no return. Well, I went back outside, found a construction barrel amongst many, and discreetly hid it there. After the game, I found it exactly where I had left it.
To security people, a pocketknife is a weapon. To us regular folks, it's a tool.
The Model T in the Shinola ad for the Henry Ford pocket watch is owned by Mike Skinner from the Metro Detroit area. Mike is incredibly knowledgeable about the Ford family and company. He has a room in his house totally devoted to Ford memorabilia.
It was the car that caught my eye! Very nice!
Wonder how he got hooked up with them?
Dan B -- Mike is very active in the Henry Ford Heritage Association and the Piquette Plant so he has a lot of contacts.
This 1850's National Watch Co. (Elgin) belonged to my Great Great Granddad. He was a successful business man in LaCrosse, Kansas. He owned the lumber yard and the Bank. The watch still keeps perfect time.
Did you ever notice that on a clock face or watch face that uses Roman numerals the number 4 is IIII instead of IV?
Yes, it's known as "The clock makers four". They still do it as you can see on my watch above and probably every watch and clock there is. No absolute reason is known but, it fits evenly on the dial with all the other numbers.
Mike, just a bit of info on the National Watch Company. According to the Renaissance Watch web site, the National Watch Company was founded in 1864 in Elgin, Illinois. They have a complete listing of serial numbers and their corresponding manufacture date, and if I'm reading your watches serial number correctly (239369) it would have been made between 1872/73. Nice looking watch too! Is it gold plated?
If you click on the link "Are all your products made in America?" It gives the origin of the components.
Thanks Bill, I meant to type 1870's not 1850's. I have a letter from the Elgin Watch Company dated October 19, 1932. The letter is in response to a letter my Great Great Granddad had written. I assume that his letter was complimenting the company on producing a great product. In Elgin's response to him they state that this watches movement left the factory on September 25, 1879 and they also state that their very firs watch serial number 101 left the factory in 1867.
Here is a photo of the letter to my Great Great Granddad Shotts.
Earlier I commented that I had a National Watch Co. watch from 1871. My memory was a little off, it is from 1870. It's a key wind, key set grade 69 watch in a Silveroid case.
I have another early key wind ser. no 40830 it is very similar to what Bill and Steve have, I have written down that it was produced in 1869.
Here is an Elgin pocket watch I believe it is dated to around 1911
Beautiful watches guys, I know we're OT, but they are cool and go so well with a T. I really like the classic Roman numeral face style. I found it just a little disappointing when I read that when the standards for a "Railroad" grade watch were formally established, Roman numerals were prohibited. Perhaps some railroad men had difficulty discerning the numerals in dim light which may have contributed to a railroad tragedy.
Jason -- I've never seen any reference to Ford script in an oval before the model A's came out late in 1927. But of course I haven't seen everything.
If you can date that watch by its serial number (the number on the works, not the one on the case) to earlier than 1927, that would be an eye-opener.
Henry Ford was a watchmaker by trade. Also you can send an antique watch dial to a dial company and have any logo painted on it. International Dial Co. does custom work, refinish, etc.
Consequently, any old watch on eBay may have a logo on it that is not original.
Sorry,but i don't buy that! Working/repairing a few watches is far from being a watchmaker by trade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bud.
Mike it dates to 1912
I put the letter in with my cell phone. If I look at the thread on my phone it is not sideways, but if I'm on the computer it is, so I will turn it so it can be seen a little better.
Very cool to see that letter to go with the watch Mike. A priceless heirloom for sure.
I agree that adding logos was and still is done. Some were made new to another company's specification. Others were added later. Here is an example. It is a Waltham 7 jewel watch from about 1902. It has an Indian motorcycle logo on it. But this version of the Indian logo didn't come out until the mid-1930s. So the watch was updated at some point. Nevertheless, it is a cool watch and one I carry occasionally.
About 10 or 15 years ago someone was selling original watches with new faces. These faces could be bought, installed on the watch, with vintage automobile names and logos. The person selling these watches often failed to mention the faces were new.
An interesting piece on logos and pocket watches.
Watches With Car or Motorcycle Logos
""t is common to see these logo dials selling on places like eBay, and some of them are just plain funny. Another was a Harley-Davidson logo on a cheap junk Elgin that was made in the 1870's. If you believe that one is original, I've got a bridge to sell ya. I've seen the exact same looking logos show up on watches that date from anywhere from the 1880's to the 1940's. Yes, there are quite a few different types of Harley-Davidson logos, but the different types aren't restricted to any particular time period. I saw one watch dealer's website that ALL (100%) of the low grade watches had some type of logo on them, but NONE (0%) of the high grade watches had logos.""