Inside the gearbox of the canfield speedway

Inside the Gearbox of the Canfield Speedway

BY Taylor Rebhan

On your mark. Get set. The Canfield Speedway is entering the next lap of its journey—and it’s ready to go. Just as the mechanics of the early days of automotive tuning never stopped tinkering, we’ve continued to push the limits of our craft. Over two years since the Lap 01 debuted and immediately sold out, Lap 06 is rounding the corner and barrelling toward the finish line.

Like its predecessors, Lap 06 features an exhibition caseback window that reveals the beautiful Swiss-made Sellita SW510 BH movement inside. A close look reveals the custom rotor with its checkered flag finish and blue-hued screws. New to this lap is a fresh paint job and a slight detour into the world of two wheels: An appropriately named pea-gravel green sets the tone for the face. With the two-toned sub dials detailed in cream and red and the multi-colored tachymeter, Lap 06 is a statement as beautiful as the motorcycles that inspired it. Finished with a sporty perforated strap in bourbon, it’s a classic unlike any before it.

Our first automatic chronograph became a fan favorite at a record pace. Six laps later, it remains a testament to our evolution as a watchmaker over the last decade in Detroit. 

Here’s the story about how this collection came to be:

No sooner had the Runwell Automatic collection launched than the vision for Shinola’s first automatic chronograph crystalized. With years of development and fine-tuning ahead, the team began to tackle their most daunting project to date: Design an automatic chronograph that could stand on its own in an ultra-competitive space in the watch industry.



At Shinola, challenge and opportunity are viewed as one in the same. At the starting line of the unnamed Automatic Chronograph project, the watch design team was given one directive: freedom.

“Our motto remained: Just go for it,” explains Greg Verras, Shinola’s watch design director.

Every Shinola watch starts with a story: A spark, a curve, or a feeling. For the technically impressive automatic chronograph, the team turned to the Motor City in a way Shinola never has before, diving deep into the lore of speed.

They pulled up layers of American history and racing heritage, peeling back the stories of Detroit. The designers looked back long before professional racing, further into history until they came across the legend of Red Vogt, a mechanic whose abilities outpaced the rest and led him to be known as the grandfather of modern racing.

Reinventing the wheel

In the early days of automotives, owners enlisted the help of master mechanics to make their basic model cars faster and more powerful. This just so happened to coincide with the Prohibition Era—meaning that with weight shaved here and an engine tweak there, mechanics often unwittingly sent rum runners speeding off into the night, escaping the fuzz. But more often, it was an exercise in pushing engineering to the limit for the sheer thrill and pride of it. This gave birth to the culture of racing as we know it, from drag racing and NASCAR to Indy cars and motorcyles. 

This early form of tinkering and modding was just a taste of the hot rodding to come. After America’s young men returned from World War II with mechanical skills, time to burn, and a penchant for thrills, stock car racing accelerated. Tinkered to perfection by homegrown mechanics, each car became personal to the driver behind the wheel—who was often the mechanic under the hood. 

Lap 6 watch

Scrappy and resilient, these are the cars and their drivers that Shinola designers were drawn to. Stories of the constant drive for improvement, not for a trophy or grand prize, but for the pride of it all. They weren’t the muscle cars we know today. What they lacked in horsepower, they made up for in heart.

Inspired by this uniquely American need for speed, the concept of the Canfield Speedway crystalized with the addition of the tachymeter. From the Greek tachos metron—speed measure—the Canfield Speedway’s fixed tachymeter scale allows the wearer to easily measure the speed of a vehicle over a known distance. From there, it was all tinkering.


Nothing worth having comes easy, and the Canfield Speedway is an automatic chronograph that requires mastery to build. It took every bit of expertise and skill for the design and manufacturing teams to perfect.

Everything from the engine to the paint job to the perforated leather strap was tinkered with and toiled over. Designer Molly Wang took watch renderings home and colored the dials in with more than a dozen different shades and combinations, searching for a story of harmony within the vibrant, expressive paint jobs of stock cars.

Iteration after iteration—lap after lap—the team pushed to create the most individual, Shinola-built automatic chronograph possible.

Lap 6 perspectives


From the story that inspired the design to the quality, detail, and craftsmanship on full display, the Canfield Speedway is a marvel. The matte dial is punctuated by 60-second and 30-minute sub dials styled after two-tone wheel designs, and the multicolored tachymeter pays tribute to the paint jobs of the past.

The Swiss-made Sellita SW510 BH movement is no ordinary engine. With 27 jewels and a minimum 56-hour power reserve, it doesn’t just keep up. It sets the pace. To celebrate our first automatic chronograph, we marked the occasion with a custom Shinola checkered flag rotor on the movement, viewable through the full exhibition caseback.

Lap 6 caseback

Every Canfield Speedway comes complete with a bespoke metal toolbox customizable with an engravable badge. Dive into the story behind the watch with the included booklet, and live the thrill of American racing with a custom poster illustrated in-house by Shinola designer Zach Fox.


This watch was inspired by master mechanics of the early days of auto tinkering and customizing. These mechanics knew their machines so well that they could measure with just their bare hands, no calipers needed. 

Lap 6 poster by Zach Fox

Tinker, drive, repeat. It was all for the pursuit of that next mark—the fastest lap, tightest corner, smoothest shift.

The same goes for watchmaking: Time will always push you. It’s how you push back that counts. With that, the Canfield Speedway Automatic Chronograph is a mark of our relentless commitment to improvement. Because there is no finish line when it comes to excellence. Only the next lap.

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