Once again, I find that Thanksgiving is coming up on the calendar, and I have a new Shinola on my wrist for review. Â This is a happy coincidence, as Iâ€™m often headed back home for the holiday, which is just up the road a bit from where Shinola is based (you can check out our visit to their factory right here). Â This is the first truly square case for the brand, so letâ€™s see what the Shinola Guardian has in store.
TheÂ Shinola Guardian is actually named for a building that is an icon in Detroit – the Guardian building. Â It was built in 1929, and at that time, was the tallest brick building in the world. Â These days, it finds itself on the registry of national historic landmarks, and now, inspiring (at least the name) a watch.
As I mentioned at the outset, theÂ Shinola Guardian is the brandâ€™s first truly square watch. Â Yes, the Shinola BrakemanÂ did approach that look, but a cushion case is not a square case. Â With theÂ Shinola Guardian, you have the square case with itâ€™s rounded-off corners, complemented by the wire lugs. Â The use of those lugs does give the watch more of a vintage feel, which is thematically appropriate for being named after a building of the roaring 20â€™s, I suppose.
For our review, we actually spent time with two versions of theÂ Shinola Guardian – the larger 41.5mm one (with itâ€™s 24mm strap) sat on my wrist, while the 36mm version (with a 20/18 strap) hung out with my wife. Â Other than the dimensional differences, there are a few other changes between the two watches. Â They do use slightly different movements (705.3 Argonite vs 715.3 Argonite; both quartz), and have differences in the sapphire crystal topping the case (single curve on the larger one; double-curved on the smaller model). Â Those are relatively minor though, in terms of differences, and of course they work well for a his-n-hers combo.
For the largerÂ Shinola Guardian, we checked out the white dial, which contrasts nicely against the black numerals, indices, and lume-filled hands. Â For the smaller model, we saw the dark blue dial, which was contested with gold-tone elements, and overall was a look that my wife rather liked. Â For my time with the watch, I felt that it fit quite well to my wrist (and is not overly tall), and the daytime readability had no issues. Â I do wish that the date window was a bit larger, and that the numerals on the dial were actually lumed as well, but thatâ€™s the way it goes.
Overall, I do like how Shinola has kept the branding down on their watches, and theÂ Shinola Guardian is no exception. Â Sure, you do have the logo (and lightning bolt) on the upper portion of the dial, but otherwise, you just have the subtle lightning bolt on the screw-down crown, plus another one hiding on the underside of the buckle (see that in the gallery below). Â This sort of branding restraint is nice to see, and I think helps with the mission this watch has of being flexible enough for all occasions.
In the end, theÂ Shinola Guardian, in either sizeÂ ($750Â and $675), makes for an interesting option. Â First and foremost, that square case stands out – both within the Shinola catalog, and amongst other watches at similar price points. Â Overall, the watch carries a sort of modern vintage vibe that will resonate with people, and by keeping things thin (a major benefit of quartz movements after accuracy) it makes for a lighter (86g for the 41.5mm) and comfortable watch. Â While I do not know that theÂ Shinola Guardian would supplant the Brakeman as my favorite from their catalog, it is definitely in my top three from the brand. shinola.com
- Brand & Model:Â Shinola Guardian
- Price:Â $750 (41.5mm), $675 (36mm)
- Whoâ€™s it for?:Â You like the Shinola story, but want something different than the â€™same oldâ€™ round case
- Would I wear it?:Â Sure thing
- What Iâ€™d change:Â Get those indices and numerals lumed first, and then explore a larger date wheel/window (or remove it)
- The best thing about it:Â The modern vintage look and feel that you get from the case, lugs, and dial design
Tech Specs from Shinola
- Case: Â Stainless steel, with single curve sapphire crystal (41.5mm) or double-curve sapphire (36mm)
- 41.5mm: Â Argonite 705.3 quartz movement, hand-assembled from 46 Swiss and other imported components.
- 36mm: Â Argonite 715.3 quartz movement
- 41.5mm: 24/24
- 36mm: Â 20/18
- WR: Â 5 ATM