Photo: Courtesy of Weiss Watch Company.
It’s simply not enough for something to be made in the USA to earn Barneys’ much sought-after stamp of approval. Whether it’s a delicate lace dress or handsome duffel, blazing shade of lipstick or pair of distressed dungarees, a BNY-worthy creation must be made with quality materials and care, and conceived by someone with a distinct point of view. But Cameron Weiss and his newly launched Weiss Watch Company fit the bill.
His rugged-meets-refined timepieces are manufactured by hand in Los Angeles, using American-made parts and all the know-how Weiss picked up while training in Switzerland. Get to know Cameron and his watches a little better through our interview below—as we have a feeling that Weiss is a name that’s here to stay.
The Window: When did you know you wanted to be a watchmaker?
Cameron Weiss: As a child, I always wore a watch and requested them as gifts. When they would break, I would tinker with them to see if I could get them running again. One day, I went out and purchased a watch for my brother’s college graduation gift. The salesmen spent time telling me me about watchmakers who built the watch I was purchasing, and at that moment I realized that I could become a certified watchmaker rather than just a watch hobbyist. I did some thorough research and decided to apply to a Swiss-style watchmaking school.
Not many people have the experience of graduating from a prestigious watchmaking school. What was that like?
Attending watchmaking school was an incredible experience. I learned the details of assembly and repair from two master watchmakers. Thanks to our small class size, school felt more like an apprenticeship. I spent 40 hours each week learning each step of watchmaking and developing my skill set.
Was traveling in Switzerland ever part of the learning process?
Training and traveling throughout Switzerland definitely expanded my depth of knowledge. It allowed for training access with some of the best master watchmakers in the world. They even trusted me to work on complications that we do not traditionally repair here in America.
What sets your company apart from the established Swiss-made watch brands?
What sets Weiss Watch Company apart from more established, Swiss-made brands is that we are able to utilize the advanced technology that is available in Los Angeles to help us manufacture our watches in a different way. We’re honoring tradition, but taking a more modern approach. And of course, we’re the only American watchmaker currently manufacturing cases and dials in the United States.
Tell us about who has mentored you.
One of my mentors is Xavier Nolot, currently the president of one of my former employers. Through observing his management style, I learned how I would like to run my business and the importance of customer service.
How many people work on a watch from start to finish?
I design, manufacture, engineer, and oversee every aspect of making our timepiece. We’re also very busy building a watch manufacturing sector in Los Angeles, which never existed before. Now we’re working with new local partners that are outside the typical watch manufacturing sector. It’s been an amazing experience developing a local support network.
What are some of the challenges in engineering and designing the final product?
To create a Weiss watch, we had to create a way to engineer each timepiece entirely from scratch. No one in Los Angeles was producing any watch components until now, so I am extremely proud to place “Los Angeles, CA” on the dial and say that most of our components are manufactured here.
Do you have a favorite style?
My favorite style is the Special Issue Field Watch with the latte-colored dial and leather strap because of its timeless aesthetic. You can wear it with a suit or to go surfing.
What will the wearer of a Weiss watch love most about wearing it?
A Weiss watch is a mechanical timepiece that is built to last. It looks amazing from the front, but the sapphire crystal case-back is a private pleasure, allowing you to see and listen to the mechanics and artistry behind your watch every morning when you put in on. There’s an entire world inside our mechanical timepieces.