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July 19, 2017

Profiles
Watches

Meet the Maker behind our watch boxes

Profiles
Watches

July 19, 2017

Just as our watches are crafted as keepsakes, so are the boxes they arrive in. Our watch production team combines meticulous hand-assembly with the most advanced technology available to ensure all watches are beautiful and built to last. Then, right off the line, every watch gets packaged into a beautiful, hand-polished, hickory wood watch box that not only compliments the timepiece’s design, but keeps it safe for shipping around the world.  

Since day one, WDI Custom Wood from Minnesota has manufactured these wooden watch boxes for us. 

The proper packaging is essential for protecting your watch against scratches, dust, and maintaining its shape while in transit. When first starting out, WDI Companies had never produced a box quite like ours before, but they were up for the design challenge.

Every Shinola watch comes with its very own wooden watch box (as seen above)

Growing up in a small town in Minnesota called Stillwater, WDI Custom Wood company co-owner Dan Kammerer worked with his father in their barn woodshop for 26 years. In 2000, he merged the company and moved it to Forest Lake, Minnesota. He has been there ever since.

“My dad was actually a contractor, and then we started a woodshop in our barn. We built award and recognition products like plaques and award frames,” he says. “Man, has the company grown since then. I couldn’t be prouder.”

WDI Companies co-owner Dan Kammerer (pictured above)

Despite the company’s small staff, Shinola trusted the American wooden box manufacturer to execute their first watch box order.

“We'd made product packaging in the past, but never anything like this,” WDI Companies co-owner Dan Kammerer says. “We started out with several different prototype samples, got an approval, and the first order was for 25,000 boxes.

Honestly, we had never had an order that large before. That was the biggest order we ever had,” he explains. “We weren't staffed to handle it, so it was a matter of pulling our team together to figure out how we were going to manufacture a production like this, and do it in a timeframe that met Shinola's needs.”

Today, orders for 100,000 boxes are not uncommon. 

Inside WDI Custom Wood's factory.

Over 40 years of experience went into developing this box, says Dan. Every detail was considered — from selecting the grade and species of wood, to perfecting the methods and order of machining the wood parts with the correct joinery and adhesive.

"The assembly methods were developed with precise hinge placement, so the top and bottom of the box align perfectly," Dan says. "Each box is tested with 100 pounds of force to assure proper joinery. The interior is painted with a black lacquer to ensure a smooth finish and the exterior is hand-rubbed with an oil finish. Then every box gets branded with a manufacturing code before being engraved with the Shinola logo."

Dan's team produces up to 1000 watch boxes a day, and credits Shinola for giving them the push to hire an additional 70 full-time staff members. WDI continues to grow — they also manufacture Shinola’s small leather goods boxes, and small store fixtures like watch trays. 

Hand-polishing the hickory wood watch boxes.

“We say here all the time that Shinola has been an absolute blessing for us,” Dan says. “It's a great company to work for. It's changed everything about our company. It's made a huge difference for our ability to manufacture. It's certainly strengthened our position with learning—Shinola brought a challenge to us, and pushed us to figure things out.”

Figure things out they did indeed. To this day, each and every Shinola watch purchased in any of our retail stores or online comes with its very own wooden watch box.

Shop Shinola’s Watch Collection

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