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Introducing Shinola Bronze Monster

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While I have been a fan of a number of Shinola watches (in fact, talked about an interesting new one just the other week), the Monster series was one of the most interesting ones. Those saw the brand break from the mold they set for themselves and create a classic – yet recognizable as a Shinola – Swiss-powered dive watch. It started with a limited editionand then a regular production model (which we reviewed here). Now, they’re back with a new version – the Shinola Bronze Monster.

On one hand, the Shinola Bronze Monster is a familiar watch – it’s the one we’ve seen before, still powered by the SW-200 movement, but wrapped up in bronze, rather than stainless steel. Now, bronze is a funny material – it can look shiny as all get-out, but if you don’t take care of it, you’ll get that patina (read: oxidation) happening. And if you don’t mind it, it’s actually protecting the surface of the metal. What this mean is you get a watch that will have a finish that’s custom to both your wrist, and the environment you’re in.

It also means that tying things to the water is a simple affair. Shinola is – along with making some interesting watches and lifestyle products – great at crafting stories to go with their products. Many brands do this, and sure, it’s fluff, but when it’s done well, it’s just another layer to the cake. In this case, Shinola hearkens this watch (well, it’s bronze case) back to the days of Prohibition:

During the time, the people of Detroit developed highly sophisticated and effective methods of bootlegging alcohol from their neighbor across the river: Canada. Fishermen and pleasure boaters, with great familiarity of the waterways, joined the ranks of rumrunners along the “Windsor-Detroit Funnel,” crossing the river at all hours of the day. People developed underwater crossings, partially submerged houseboats and even a pipe underneath the Detroit River that connected a Windsor distillery outlet to a bottling plant in Detroit—the liquor flowed straight from the Canadian distillery to the Detroit bottle. While Prohibition was a failed experiment, especially along the Michigan-Ontario waterway, Detroit proved itself a city of ingenuity with a spirit of grit.

Just goes to show – when the government does something that folks just plain don’t agree with (you know, going against the will of the people), industrious folk in blue-collar towns like Detroit will buckle down and get done what they feel needs doing. Fortunately, you don’t need to start your own illicit pipeline to afford one a Shinola Bronze Monster. The full kit – which includes both a leather and a nylon NATO-style strap – will run $1,695. Yes, this is a price jump from what we saw with the prior Monster, but that premium is (no doubt) coming from the material used. While I’ve moved on from bronze watches, I’m glad to see them iterating on the design – and keeping that medallion on the caseback firmly in place. shinola.com

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Shinola Bronze Monster
  • Price:$1,650
  • Who’s it for? You fancy yourself a bit of a rum runner – or like to think you would have been
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? No, bronze isn’t a material that really does it for me these days
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Play with the dial color. Sure, black works, but how about a green, blue, or even greenish blue, to further call to mind the Detroit River?
  • If I could make one MORE design suggestion, it would be: If you’re trying new materials out, why not go for titanium?

Tech Specs from Shinola

  • CASE:
    • Bronze (steel case back) with single dome sapphire crystal and anti-reflective coating.
    • CASE BACK PLATE: Signature Iconic Caseback Plate with Laser-Etched Serial Number
    • CASE SIZE: 43mm
    • CASE THICKNESS: 13mm
    • CROWN CONSTRUCTION: Screw-down
  • DIAL:
    • Black with Super-LumiNova hands, numbers and indexes to maximize readability.
  • MOVEMENT:
    • SW200-1 automatic movement with Swiss and other imported parts.
    • FUNCTIONS: Hours, minutes, seconds, date indicator.
    • MOVEMENT TYPE: Three Hand Date
  • WATCH STRAP: Brown leather and olive NATO-style
    • STRAP WIDTH: 22mm
  • DEPTH RATING: 30 ATM
  • CRYSTAL: Single dome with Anti Reflective coating

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