The President Is Really, Really Proud Of His Shinola Watch

The Detroit company gets a big shoutout.
01/21/2016 04:49pm ET | Updated January 3, 2017

President Obama visited Detroit on Wednesday for the auto show and to decry the water crisis in Flint, but before heading in to check out the cars, he made a pit stop at Shinola.

Pronounced "shine-oh-lah," the high-end boutique draws on the Motor City's manufacturing history. Instead of motors, though, Shinola hand-builds classic bicycles, leather goods, and what seems to be Obama's personal favorite: watches.

US President Barack Obama points to his Shinola watch, which he already owned, after visiting a Shinola store January 20, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan.

The company opened in Detroit in 2011, promoting itself as a pioneer in the rebirth of American manufacturing and the "first company in decades to produce watches at scale in America."

The president said Wednesday he already owned a Shinola watch before his visit and was there to buy a journal. Nevertheless, he repeatedly mentioned his watch to reporters.

In an e-mail to The Huffington Post, Shinola spokeswoman Trish O'Callaghan said the president owns a Runwell Sport Chrono watch with a leather strap (which isn't currently available on Shinola's website).

Since its founding in 2011, the company has grown to employ around 540 people. Roughly 400 of those employees are in Detroit, 240 of whom work directly in manufacturing, she said.

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