The Timeless Appeal of Good Luck

BY Taylor Rebhan

You can bet on Derby. Designing the newest women’s watch for Shinola took a lot of thought—and a little dash of luck.

“At Shinola, a design starts in one of two ways,” says Brandon Little, VP of Product Design and one of the minds behind Shinola’s latest women’s watch. “It can come from something like an idea, object, or surface that we’ve seen in the Shinola brand DNA—like a turntable or bike—or an image we encounter.”

For Derby, launching this fall, inspiration primarily began with a horseshoe. The design team envisioned a connection between the wire lugs of Shinola’s flagship watch, the Runwell, and a horseshoe’s elegant wrought-iron curves. Combined with the natural heritage and lore that accompanies horseshoes, the image felt Shinola to its core.

An image of an iron horseshoe next to a pencil-drawn sketch of a watch
The side profile of the Derby, the latest women's watch from Shinola

Horseshoes are storied symbols. From the legend of the Irish blacksmith St. Dustan to ancient Chaldean tradition, folks have long ascribed good fortune and the power of protection to them.

Derby’s unique case shape is inspired by these lucky crescent moons. Two horseshoe shapes create an over-and-under effect, wrapping around the dial, enveloping it in good luck.

The horse is only part of the story. Equally important is considering who the watch is made for, Little said.

“We had this image of a woman who embodied the attitude of Derby. Everything from her leather belt to denim jeans and crisp white shirt to the way she stood in the photo. Effortless and a little badass. We designed this watch for her.”


Derby’s radiant open dial takes center stage with knockout style numerals. It has an opaline shimmer highlighted by the horseshoes’ hug. With a case size of 30mm, it’s a new proportion for a Shinola women’s watch. That’s slightly larger than a quarter, a proportion that sits delicately on the wrist—but still makes a statement.

Classic gold and stainless steel finishes are arriving first, with a leather strap or five-link bracelet. Both are designed to swap easily in and out with the addition of another strap. Derby goes casual nicely in leather. The five-link, meanwhile, is elegant and sophisticated, with a nice textural definition.

But no matter the strap, the core character of the watch was designed to dress up or down effortlessly.

And, of course, the case carries the show with a side profile unlike any other.

The side profile of the Derby, the latest women's watch from Shinola


There were countless iterations of Derby—more than the watch team would even be able to count. But, says Little:

“When we see the one we feel is right, it’s a gut reaction.
It’s the one.”

For Derby, the team confirmed their intuition when they saw how easily it toggled between casual and elevated. Dinner or everyday. Work or play. Whenever, wherever.

And that’s where Derby pulls ahead. Where some watch designs fall into two categories: casual or elevated, Derby can flow between them with grace. To design a piece you can bet on for any occasion takes an intentional effortlessness.

An image of four Derby watches in different colors and styles next to a model smiling wearing the Derby watch
An image of four Derby watches in different colors and styles next to a model smiling wearing the Derby watch

“The Derby’s design is timeless because it’s not just one watch.”

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