In the Workshop with Cameron Weiss

A few weeks ago, Cameron Weiss invited me to his Nashville Workshop to check out some of his latest watches and see the work that is involved in producing a Weiss watch. I took the opportunity to snap a few photos and Cameron was nice enough to have a short interview with me while I was there. 

Hey Cameron! Thanks so much for having me in your new shop, it’s been a real eye opener to see all the work that goes into producing a single Weiss Watch Co piece. This shop has a really cool vibe. How old is this building? 

I don’t have an exact age of the building, but I think it was built sometime around 1950. Since 1970 it has been home to a family owned vinyl record label print shop and I’m thrilled to be able to preserve the building and some of the Nashville music history from all those years. 

I love that we are also a family owned business in an old school industry. Music and vinyl have a fine balance of artistic elements, such as the technology of sound recording and playback sound. This is similar to how watchmaking is a balance between watchmaking as an art-form, the science and technology of timekeeping, and modern manufacturing.

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I know you’ve mentioned a reason for the new shop here in Nashville was to increase space, and yeah, this place is huge! I can only imagine the bigger shop means more equipment, right? Can you share what plans you have and what it means for Weiss Watch Co?

Yes, that is correct! I am extremely excited to be able to expand our watchmaking and machining capabilities here in Nashville. We just began machining cases in the workshop for all of our timepieces. Next, we will begin making more of the larger turned parts such as mainspring barrels and balance wheels. With the new space and new machines, I will be able to bring all of our metal parts in-house, including the larger parts that we had subcontracted to machine shops around the USA. Now the only watch parts we do not have the capability to manufacture in-house are sapphire parts and wire springs. As a watchmaker, this is very exciting because even in Switzerland it is almost unheard of to see these capabilities all under one roof.

For those that don’t know, can you explain how much of your watches are manufactured by you here in Nashville?

How much I manufacture for each timepiece is dependent upon the model, but at this time we are able to produce many of the main components. With the two new machines I am installing in the Nashville workshop, I will be able to produce virtually all of the parts of a mechanical watch, complete finishing, and final assembly under one roof. Almost everything can be produced in-house. The rest will be sourced from other workshops, like leather straps from St. Paul, MN, or hairsprings from Switzerland. It will take some time to bring all of the new components manufacturing into the Nashville workshop, but until then we have some amazingly skilled partners we have been working with for almost 10 years to make those parts.

What’s the most important thing to you when it comes to watchmaking?

Knowledge and respect for the craft. I am fortunate to be able to borrow and build upon the knowledge and research of past watchmakers.

What are some changes you would like to see in the industry in the coming years?

More small independent watch companies! Independents get to do fun things and keep watch collecting fun. I also want to see some new materials used for watches. I made a timepiece using an aluminum movement we machined in our workshop, and it was fun to explore the dynamics of different materials and what they can do inside of a timepiece. I hope to see more creative materials aside from the traditional alloys as we move forward.

You showed me some designs for an open source movement. Can you tell me a little more about openmovement and why it’s so important for smaller watch brands like yourself?

openmovement is a project that I learned about a couple years ago on the internet. I reached out to the team in Switzerland to see if I could help since I really love their ideas. Now I have been making movement parts to help them with the testing phases of the movement.  The idea is that the design of a base movement is created and tested before the manufacturing files are released to the public. Anyone who wants to use the files to produce movements can do so, and any additions or improvements they make will be open source so that everyone can use those developments. It is a first for watchmaking, and I hope it leads to a spread of knowledge and growth within the industry. It will allow for new people to have access to watchmaking knowledge that wasn’t readily available before. (Editor’s note: we wrote about openmovement here, and you can check out their website here).

Is there anything exciting you’re currently working on that you can share with our readers?

In late June we launched two new Limited Edition 42mm Titanium Standard Issue Field Watches in Agave and Carbon dials. We sold through them very quickly, so quickly that you might want to keep an eye out for something new coming very soon! 

These are the first models to be sold with our new lifetime warranty program. We are proud of what we manufacture and want to stand behind our product. Our new warranty allows for you to bring back any manufacturing issue for us to service under warranty.

Where can we find you when you’re not making watches here at the shop? Any other hobbies?

When I am not at the workshop, you can usually find me outdoors. I enjoy biking around Nashville, taking my wife and daughters camping in our camper van, working on my old cars, remodeling our backyard, and woodwork. I don’t sit still much.

We at Worn & Wound want to thank Cameron for taking the time to show us around his new Nashville shop. You can find out more about Weiss Watch Co. and stay up to date with their latest releases at www.weisswatchcompany.com.

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Kat is a watch collector, photographer, and Nashville native. You’ll almost never find Kat without a camera in hand but when she’s not shooting, she’s traveling or watching The Office for the hundredth time. Kat is a lover of all watches, but stainless steel sports watches have stolen her heart.
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