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

 

Know Your WHY...

Know your WHY STANDARD H blog

As the saying goes, "If starting a business were easy, everyone would do it."  It isn't easy.  But, it can be extremely rewarding if you know WHY you're doing it.  This is an old video, but I only found it recently, so I wanted to share.  It's an extremely important lesson to be aware of.  enJOY

Case Study House #22 Stahl House Los Angeles California

Last week, I had the privilege to tour one of the most famous houses in the United States, if not the world: the Stahl House. Known to many as Case Study House #22, located in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles, the house is the embodiment of the Case Study catalogue. Designed by architect Pierre Koenig and built over the two years spanning from 1959 to 1960, the house represents the lifestyle of minimalism brought on by the mid-century modern movement of that era. As of 2013, the Stahl House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which also includes other famous architectural works such as Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House in Chicago.

The tour takes a little over an hour and begins with what is virtually free reign of the property for photographic purposes.  No tripods or any cameras that aren't cell phone cameras are permitted on the property, though commercial shoots may be arranged.  After our visual journey, which completely transports you back in time, we all removed our shoes and gathered with our host, Andy, in the livingroom where he explained much of the history of the house as well as a cornucopia of detail.  

The house was built for - you guessed it - the Stahl family, which was a family of 5, even though the house only has two bedrooms. The large windows, which also serve as its exterior walls, are single pane glass which are illegal by today's building codes due to their lack of ultraviolet protection. The roof wouldn't pass inspection, either, as it's completely flat. In fact, if the home were built today, the roof on the outer edge of the home (the cliff side) would need to be four feet higher than the side closest to the street. This is due to rain/water accumulation standards. There's a slew of other details Andy provided, making the visit quite an informative experience, especially if you're not already well-versed in the building codes of today.

To say this house is an inspiration would be a profound understatement, as I hope you will find in the collection of photos I have posted below.  Thank you for reading!

Pursuit of Purity from Petrolicious

We've covered one of our favorite architects previously on FEAR DITHER.: San Diego, California-based Jonathan Segal. Well, we're not the only admirers of the award-winning man behind The Cresta (featured in the HOME PRODUCTS section of our webstore), Petrolicious also did a phenomenal job on the below video which will surely not disappoint. enJOY:

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

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I can't believe it's been five years since the passing of Steve Jobs. It honestly feels like it's only been two.

I think back to the first Apple computer I ever bought which was in 2001 when I bought the G4 laptop. It seemed all the pro snowboarders had them and I just thought they were the coolest, most sleek computers on the market. As someone who's driven by aesthetics, I had to have one. 

As I draft this blog entry on my iPhone, only to be completed on my MacBook Pro, it goes without saying that Jobs was instrumental in shaping the way we live our lives every single day. And it is that fact I truly take as complete inspiration.