The New Vinton: Engraving Available—And Encouraged

BY Taylor Rebhan

That’s just one of the intriguing elements of our new timepiece, the Vinton. 

Many features of the Vinton stand out—like its classic design, its silhouette that flows seamlessly from the dial to the case to the strap or bracelet, and the way it fits so comfortably on the wrist.

“With the Vinton, we set out to make a much slimmer watch with a slimmer case,” says Shinola Watch Design Director Bill Guy. “We then had this caseback with a big, bright steel surface right around the time engraving was taking off with our jewelry line. It was the perfect time to emphasize engraving.”


Engraving is a great way to commemorate a special moment in your life, or someone else’s. A special message or a simple set of initials can make a thoughtful gift stand out. This past holiday season, Shinola saw a rise in engravings. Hundreds of pieces of jewelry were given a personal touch. 

The reasons and occasions for engraving are endless, but carving a message into stone—or, in this case, stainless steel—can be daunting. So we caught up with Aaron Decker, our Jewelry Services Manager, to find out a little more about engraving—and the best way to go about it. 

There’s a lot to consider when engraving a piece. Just like in real estate, Aaron advises to keep in mind location, location, location. 

“There’s a time and place for different kinds of engraving,” he says. “Initials on the part people see is a little more private while full names are great for a less visible surface.” 

The engraved message on the Vinton caseback wouldn’t be as public-facing, so it’s an ideal canvas for something a little more personal. 


“You want to consider how personal or private the person is in their normal life and if that reflects with their jewelry,” he says.  

When deciding on the perfect message, Aaron suggests avoiding clichés or corny lines and going for words with a little more meaning. 

“The best engravings I can think of are usually names, because it’s super personalized. Everyone can have ‘love you, Mom’ or ‘Happy Valentine’s Day,’” Aaron says.

He offers an example he used for the inside of his partner’s engagement ring.

“When John was teaching in Detroit, he would say, ‘Hey, kids, let’s imagine . . . ’ So every conversation we would have, it would come up. It became our relationship mantra, it’s something very personal,” he says. 

Another factor to consider is the font. “Delicate” fonts are often associated with femininity, but Aaron says that notion is misguided. 

“You should look at font not for gender, but as sensitivity or impact,” he says. “For a strong or bold personality, they should go toward Century, Franklin or Roman. They are more modern, more architectural. Script fonts, like Shelley are a little more delicate.”  

Character count is another important aspect to engraving the right message on your piece. While you may be allowed to engrave a message with plenty of characters, “less is more” is an important adage to remember.


“I’d encourage people to be mindful of the space. When people are buying, they are trying to get the biggest bang for the buck. It’s the wrong mentality,” Aaron says. “You want it to look good, you don’t want it to have a lot of text just because you could. Think minimal impact with the most emotional depth.” 

For the Vinton, you can engrave up to 24 characters, including spaces, with a maximum of 12 characters per line, up to two lines. But choose carefully. Just because you get 24 characters doesn’t mean you need to write a long message. 

While Aaron’s excellent advice also applies to our select engravable jewelry pieces, it’s important to keep in mind these words of wisdom for the Vinton. However you choose to engrave your timepiece, the personal touch you put on it will make it irreplaceable. 

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