Shinola Detrola The Champ: Benefiting Detroit’s Healthcare Workers Amid The COVID-19 Crisis
In August 2019, Detroit’s own Shinola watch company launched a new, more affordably-priced collection of of fun, colorful watches called Detrola.
The unisex collection is a decidedly more youthful design, most evident in its 43 mm TR90 resin case with stainless steel core and flexible, quick-release silicone strap (which makes it perfect for wardrobing). The high-grade resin used for the case is lightweight, durable, resilient, and easily colorable. Inside the case is Shinola’s quartz caliber called Argonite 705, which is assembled in Detroit.
Based on the style and shape of the brand’s successful Runwell model (including the automatic version launched in 2019), Detrola is geared more toward color, materials, and fun than serious watchmaking. It balances style with affordability much the same way Swatch does.
Shinola’s The Champ has a cause – but not the original one
Shinola is quite good at releasing timepieces along themes, some of which are current events, but most of which have to do with local pieces of Michigan or U.S.-based history. And being a product of Detroit myself, I love those connections.
The Detrola Champ, however, was originally planned to honor the Olympic spirit and should have launched in step with the 2020 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony in Tokyo, which would have taken place around July 23, 2020 if the summer event had not wisely been postponed to 2021 due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
I can just imagine the conversation that Shinola’s higher-ups very likely had: “what now??” being the main theme.
But in true Shinola tradition a setback was turned into a strength, and The Champ was repurposed for what the brand calls “the real champs”: Detroit’s healthcare workers.
My original hometown took one of the virus’ hardest hits in the United States (though not to compare with New York/New Jersey). Metropolitan Detroit represents the vast majority of Michigan’s 54,679 cases/5,228 deaths (as of May 25, 2020).
So now Shinola is connecting the launch of The Champ to a sizable donation of $197,500 to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), a philanthropic organization that protects, nurtures, and creates efforts leading the way to positive impacts and change on the community. Since its inception, the foundation has distributed more than $1.1 billion to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties.
At this time, the CFSEM has joined the fight to help to provide COVID-19 support “for specific needs in the community that are not being addressed through other efforts.” You can also donate to this fund; click here to check out how.
Shinola explains the choice of this organization: “The Community Foundation . . . has a significant track record of leading important initiatives – from playing a major role during the city’s bankruptcy to now helping Detroit’s health care organizations fighting COVID-19.”
Shinola Detrola The Champ
Shinola has moved up the release of The Champ so that pre-purchasing can begin on May 28, 2020 with targeted delivery remaining late July, pending the ability of Shinola’s Detroit factory to reopen, which will only take place when it is safe for that to happen. The company assures me that assembling The Champ will be the very first order of business.
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer just extended the stay-at-home order for southern Michigan to June 12 and the state of emergency until June 19, 2020. “We owe it to the real heroes on the front lines of this crisis – our first responders, health care workers, and critical workers putting their lives on the line every day – to do what we can ourselves to stop the spread of the virus,” she explained.
As the Detrola The Champ was originally planned to honor global athletes and the spirit of the Olympic Games, the multicolored dial features a striped pattern of red, gold, blue, green, and black in addition to the Shinola and Detrola logos. The 43 mm case is only available in cream-colored TR90 resin with a stainless steel core.
The quartz Argonite 705 movement is hand-assembled in Shinola’s Detroit factory, and the whole watch is topped off by a K1 crystal and a black silicone strap.
“Detrola,” by the way, was a Detroit brand founded in 1931 that made affordable radios and cameras during the Great Depression. Some of the colors used in the old brand’s products have inspired some of the new Detrola watches. And some of them also sport fun Detroit-inspired names like Model D (a nod to Ford) and Pine Knob (a nod to one of Metro Detroit’s best concert venues, now called the DTE Energy Music Theater).
The Champ, priced at $395, is limited to 500 pieces and is now available to pre-order on Shinola.com. And in case you hadn’t yet done the math: $395 x 500 = $197,500, the exact sum that Shinola is donating to the CFSEM.
For more information, please visit www.shinola/champ.com.
Quick Facts Shinola Detrola The Champ
Case: 43 mm, TR90 resin with stainless steel core and lugs
Movement: quartz Shinola Caliber Argonite 705
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: 500 pieces