Jan 28, 2013 at 02:24 PM
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Can Partnerships Help Launch New Watch Brand Out of Detroit?

The new Shinola, aka not your grandfather's brand of wax shoe polish, is reinventing itself with new products and partnerships to match. The brand, which came into early 20th century lexicon thanks to the colloquialism: knowing s**t from Shinola, was in 2011 bought by the founder of Fossil, who is relaunching with a whole new line of products. Last week, Shinola announced it would be sponsoring auto racing, which may seem odd for an ancient shoe polish until you consider that the deal is actually part of an effort to launch a whole new line of Shinola products including premium watches, bicycles, leather goods and journals.

Launching its online shop, shinola.com, in March of this year, Shinola will follow-up with distribution at specialty and jewelry retailers and upscale department stores nationwide by the Fall. In early Summer 2013, Shinola will also open flagship stores in Midtown, Detroit and Tribeca, New York.

"The opportunity to combine a new, modern American brand and world-class watchmaker, headquartered in Detroit, with the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, was a perfect marriage of precision and innovation," said Jacques Panis, Shinola's Director of Strategic Partnerships. "Both organizations symbolize the best of American ingenuity on display here in Detroit. We love this town and are happy to be a part of it."