The American Issue Field Watch Ultralight is cased in Grade 5 titanium and finished to the same standards of Weiss’s stainless steel offerings, but the real story here is the movement, constructed in aluminum. Using the highly specialized aluminum alloy 7075, Weiss was able to create a version of their field watch that comes in a full 30 grams lighter than the original version cased in steel, using a traditional movement. This particular aluminum alloy is often used in airplane wings and fuselages as it has an incredibly high strength to weight ratio, making it ideal for applications where lightness is prized, but robustness is absolutely required.
Brand founder and master watchmaker Cameron Weiss was inspired by the aerospace technology industry, currently in a rapid state of growth near his brand’s Los Angeles headquarters, in the creation of his new watch. The materials used here are a result of partnerships Weiss has developed within the aerospace sector. Grade 5 titanium is famously the material used in the construction of the Space Shuttle, and aluminum alloy 7075 is used widely in the aerospace field. Aesthetically, the watch maintains the traditional field watch look that Weiss has become synonymous with, but it’s married here with literal space-age technology, creating an immediately fascinating dichotomy between the watch’s appearance and what’s actually under the hood.
Up to this point, brands have been fighting the lightness wars largely in the theater of case construction and design. There are, after all, plenty of materials that can make for a lighter watch than traditional stainless steel, to say nothing of far heavier precious metals. The new battle seems to be in movement materials – it was only a few months ago that Omega announced their $50,000 Aqua Terra Ultra Light, with a movement made entirely of titanium. The Weiss presents an interesting alternative at a much lower price, but virtually the same weight. That Omega, at 55 grams, is only a single gram lighter than Weiss’ Ultralight. The ultralight version of the Weiss field watch is a limited edition of only 100 pieces, and based on the introductory price of that Omega, we have a ways to go before we start to see a trickle-down effect in more affordable watches, but it will be interesting to see how brands can continue to innovate in the creation of lightweight movements going forward. Weiss Watch Co.