Watch Material Care & Expectations

Your Shinola watch was designed to be lived in, worn out, and well-loved; in this article we'll share some tips for extending the life of your watch while keeping it looking and performing its best along the way.  

Our core collections are made from some of the highest-quality, enduring materials available, including:

  • 316L Stainless Steel (Surgical Steel) - strong, hypoallergenic, beautiful in a variety of finishes
  • PVD Coatings - durable coatings applied through Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD)
  • Sapphire Crystal - the most durable watch crystal in the industry and second hardest mineral on the planet

Please see the chart below showing expected wear for each material and tips for caring for each throughout the lifetime of your watch.

  Expected Wear Tips to Maintain
Stainless Steel
  • Over time, stainless steel is susceptible to:  
    • Scratching
    • Scuffing
    • Denting
  • Avoid damaging activities - avoid wearing the watch while engaging in activities that may be damaging to the watch
    • Weightlifting, washing a car, yard work, etc. 
  • Reserve a specific watch for rougher activities   
  • Polish your watch - Send stainless-steel watches in for polishing about once a year 
    • Doing so can lessen the appearance of scratches or light scuffs and improve the overall look of the watch
  • Store properly - Always store the watch in it's box or a in a soft and protected place 
PVD Coatings
  • PVD Coatings are susceptible to:
    • Showing wear faster than stainless steel
    • Scratching
    • Scuffing
    • Changes in color due to oxidation (especially on rose gold PVD)
    • Wear due to repeat friction over time (rubbing)


  • Store Properly - Store the watch in the box or in a soft protected place
  • Be mindful of other jewelry - Avoid wearing a PVD watch with bracelets and jewelry that may rub against the watch's finish
  • Avoid friction - Be mindful when wearing your watch of activities that may cause repetitive friction against a hard surface 
  • Avoid damaging activities - As soon as you notice signs of wear, avoid the activity that is causing the issue
Sapphire Crystal
  • Sapphire crystal is not expected to show wear unless involved in an accident which may result in:
    • Cracking 
    • Shattering
    • Chipping
  • Avoid high contact activities - These could be likely to cause an accident causing the Sapphire crystal to crack or shatter
  • Make sure the watch strap or bracelet is secure - to avoid your watch falling off your wrist
    • Replace your watch strap when signs of wear present near the lugs 
    • Always make sure the spring bars are completely secure after changing a watch strap

Special Note: Titanium Watch Cases/Bracelets - A very limited number of our watch styles are available in titanium, rather than 316L stainless steel. Titanium is both harder and lighter weight than stainless steel, and is a great option for those with severe nickel allergies who experience issues even with 316L surgical steel. 

  • Expected wear - Titanium will wear similarly to stainless steel, but is somewhat more prone to scratching and less to denting as it is a harder material
  • Tips to maintain - We have the same care recommendations for titanium as we do for stainless steel, however, at this time polishing is not possible as our current assortment of titanium watches have brushed finishes, rather than polished - also helping to minimize the appearance of scratching on cases and bracelets
Categories: Care & Expectations

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