Shinola pulls its inspiration from a myriad of sources, often using obscure moments in history to set the stage for their watches. Their latest watch, the Bronze Monster Automatic, uses the backdrop of the 1920s and Prohibition, specifically the antics of rumrunners on the Michigan waterways.
Detroit was a major hub for international liquor smuggling during the Prohibition era. A network of rum-runners crossed the Great Lakes from Canada to Detroit, delivering the in-demand goods. Fisherman and pleasure boaters adapted their trade to smuggle in the bootleg, and by 1929, Detroit was estimated to be supplying three quarters of the county’s illegal alcohol. That’s the setting Shinola uses to market the Bronze Monster Automatic.
Resembling other Monster watches, the Bronze Automatic differentiates itself with a bronze, 43mm case. As a rumrunner watch, water resistance is a requirement, so this watch has a depth rating of 1,000 feet. And, drawing on 1920s aesthetics, the Bronze Monster uses a leather strap or a Khaki G10 nylon strap rather than the three-link metal bracelet of other Monsters. The bronze bezel is unidirectional and has a black inlay that features Shinola’s trapezoid marker and applied hour markers with a white outer minute ring. At four o’clock, you’ll find a date window.
The movement is an automatic SW2001, which has a 38-hour power reserve and 26 jewels. This isn’t a watch that sits idly waiting. Instead, as automatic movements do, it requires you to be moving—like when you’re smuggling barrels of moonshine across the Great Lakes—to power itself. The movement is hidden behind a solid steel case back.
In making the Bronze Monster Automatic, Shinola has struck on a true representation of an adventurous time in American history. The Bronze Monster Automatic fits the description of that time perfectly—dark, hardy, and filled with a spirit of grit.