When Cameron Weiss looks at old family photos, he sees a young boy, standing near the edge of the frame, wearing a small plastic watch. In particular, he remembers that timepiece his aunt gave him – a Swatch covered in dinosaurs.
These days, Cameron’s watches are a bit more refined. After several years of research and apprenticeship, he founded Weiss Watch Company in 2013 with the mission to actively restore domestic manufacturing to American watchmaking.
This summer, Weiss Watch Company is releasing its latest Standard Issue Field Watch, which features a stainless steel design, mechanical movement and more than 100 parts. What sets this brand apart is that while the mechanical movement and hands are currently made in Switzerland, all of the other parts, from the steel case to the case back, dial, crown, sapphire crystal, gaskets and pine packaging, are all engineered in Los Angeles.
That’s unusual for a luxury watch made in the United States. Cameron spent many years studying various watch components and how they fit together, and has plans for Weiss Watch Company to begin production domestically of 100 percent of their parts.
In the craftsmanship process, most watches begin with the watchmaker securing a gasket into a watertight case. “From there,” Cameron says, “you can be as creative as you want to be with design around that. I personally like a more timeless design – one that isn’t going to be a fad. The Weiss Company Watches are inspired by military timepieces and vintage pocket watches that I’ve gathered into a small collection.”
Whether at the famous Christie’s or Antiquorum auctions, Cameron is always on the lookout for a design that catches his eye – not for its modernity, but for its longevity. After all, mechanical watches can last hundreds of years.
As more people tell time via an electronic device, there’s an extra sense of period and place with an analog addition to the wardrobe. It’s the buyer who understands the value in a hand-written letter over a text message who tends to appreciate a mechanical timepiece that requires winding each day.
“I don’t really look at a watch as merely something to tell the time,” Cameron says. “It’s something very different than that. It’s more of a piece of art that you can keep and cherish. And it just happens to be something you can wear. With a mechanical time piece over a battery-powered watch, you’ll learn to appreciate that the work of a craftsman is very different.”