America has a storied tradition of watchmaking that is often forgotten. An era dominated by the likes of Hamilton, and lesser-known RGM, American watchmaking is undergoing a revival right now and the public should take note. Recently, Shinola has made a huge splash on the entry-level watch market. I had the pleasure of reviewing a Shinola Sport a few months ago. If you are interested please visit - http://www.ivytimewatches.com/read-me/
Although watch purists may challenge the validity of the “Made in Detroit” moniker that adorns Shinola products, they are definitely doing something different. Fast forward to the present and newcomer Weiss Watch Company has captured the attention of audiences here in America and abroad.
The Weiss Watch Company based out of Los Angeles, CA was found in 2013. Their mission is to “rediscover the art form and historical legacy of the mechanical manufacturing process, to once again restore prestige to American watchmaking.” Weiss is the brainchild of Cameron Weiss, who is a WOSTEP Certified Watchmaker with years of experience working for luxury watch brands. With Cameron’s expertise and vision, Weiss is working towards manufacturing its’ own American made movement. “American made movement” has been a contradictory phrase for nearly the past century. Few American brands have taken on the large project of creating an in-house movement. Weiss is trying to break the mold and they are doing so very successfully.
Currently, the Weiss Watch Company is the only watchmaker in the U.S. designing, engineering, and manufacturing their own cases and dials as well as finishing each movement by hand. The newly issued Standard Issue Field Watch is a testament to everything that Weiss stands for - American watchmaking, fine craftsmanship, and understated designed. Featuring a mechanical movement with over 100 components, the Standard Issue Field Watch comes in just shy of $1000 USD for the white and black dial options. A sapphire crystal, 316L stainless steel, and an impressive water resistance of 100m add tremendous value to the overall package that Weiss is offering. The lengths that Weiss has taken to distinguish itself from the pack should not be taken for granted. Often fledgling watch companies are forced to skip fine details to cut costs, Weiss spares no expense. Although with current production conditions, the watches takes 6-8 weeks to deliver after the purchase date, any prospective buyer would be delighted with the fine product they receive.
If you couldn’t tell by now, I am bullish on the stock of the Weiss Watch Company and for that matter, the revival of American watchmaking in general. Reviving American watchmaking deserves the support of the American watch market. I can only hope that this movement can gain traction and ultimately return to its’ former glory.
The Weiss Watch Company is selling a great brand in addition to a narrative that will inextricably tied to the revival of American watchmaking. For the moment, mass adoption will be limited by the scalability of their production. Production latency is important and could be the only impediment to true growth. Consumers will decide whether the wait is worth it, I have already made up my mind-- American made all the way.