Interview: Cameron Weiss, Owner Weiss Watch Company

Many of you watch fans, especially those of you in the greater Los Angeles area, may be familiar with Weiss Watch Company.  Founded in Los Angeles by watchmaker Cameron Weiss, the Torrance, California-based company has a growing distribution across the city and beyond with solid positioning in shops such as Barneys New York, Wittmore and Stag Provisions on Abbot Kinney.

Recently, we exchanged a couple emails for the below interview. It's short, but it's sweet, and it's always great to receive insight straight from the horse's mouth.  enJOY

 

Cameron, I'd like to start by asking a bit about your background: where were you born & raised, and where in Los Angeles are you currently based?

I was born in San Diego (Del Mar), and now I live in Redondo Beach.  

 

What were the reasons you decided to start making your own watches?

My goal as I searched how and where I could learn watchmaking was always to start my own watch brand. It was just a journey to get here. I was very interested in classical, mechanical items and wanted to build my brand in America.

 

For those who don't know, with regards to the components you use, what is manufactured in-house and what is manufactured elsewhere?

We manufacture cases, crowns, buckles, straps, dials, and many of the movement components.

 

What distinguishes your movements from other manufacturers from a mechanical/function standpoint?
 

What distinguishes our movements is that it was designed to be a workhorse in serial production.

 

Can you walk us through some of the distinctions between your watches?  What is the main difference between the Weiss Standard Issue Field Watch ($950) and the American Issue Field Watch ($2,500)? Can you explain some of the reasons for the price difference? 

Our Standard Issue Field Watch is our flagship edition and our entry level offering. It is hand-finished and assembled with a Swiss movement and American parts in our studio. 

Our American Issue Field Watch is mostly machined within our Los Angeles studio, has gold finishing, and comes on a Shell Cordovan strap. In addition, there were only 50 timepieces available, making it our most rare offering. Our pricing changes throughout our offerings due to the model, design, movement, and amount produced.

 

 

Aside from the military, where else do you draw inspiration (outside of the watch industry)?

I draw inspiration from vintage pocket watches, aviation, old Hollywood icons, and classic menswear.
 

Smaller brands have traditionally produced very few watches, annually. F.P. Journe, for example, produces around 850 watches per year. As a small business - how many watches would you say will be produced this year? 

Since I produce each timepiece myself, we have a limited offering. We will produce 1500 -2000 this year and are currently expanding our production capabilities.

 

For anyone looking to start their own business, regardless of industry, what advice would you give them? 

Take risks, and if it's something you truly believe in and are passionate about, then you will be successful.
 

What's next for you? Are there plans for watches with more complications (i.e. chronograph, moon phase) involved in the future, or are you wanting to focus solely on time-only time pieces?

We just launched our new Automatic Issue, our first self-winding timepiece, this week. We are proud to offer a new classic style and produce the oscillating weight ourselves in our studio all for an attainable price. 

I am trained in advanced complications, so while I envision Weiss as a utilitarian brand, I'll never say never.

 

What is Weiss Watch Company's ultimate goal?

Our ultimate goal is to produce a trusted everyday heirloom at an attainable price with as many components produced within our studio as possible.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time, Cameron.  We wish you further success and will undoubtedly enjoy witnessing your progress!  

 

 

Weiss has had some fantastic press as of late.  Check out the following links for more information:

The Wall Street Journal

Barneys

Watch Journal