WEISS STANDARD ISSUE FIELD WATCH
White Dial, $950
With all due respect to Switzerland, the United States is poised to reclaim its status as the global leader in watchmaking. In the mid- and late 19th century, stateside watch brands were unveiling innovations left and right, only to be overtaken by the Swiss during the Great Depression. But today, with Detroit-based Shinola seeing success with its locally assembled Runwell, “we are currently in the middle of an American watchmaking revolution,” says Michael Wilson, co-founder and chief executive of Kansas City–based Niall.
Although the Niall GMT’s movements are still produced in Switzerland, most of its production happens within 10 minutes of the company’s main office. Kobold (launched in 1998 by founder Michael Kobold as part of a school project at Carnegie Mellon University) also relies on Swiss movements, but when the company released its Spirit of America model back in 2006, it was the first large-series timepiece to be produced in the U.S. in nearly 40 years. Now Los Angeles–based Weiss Watch Company is set to take things to the next level with the spring launch of the first scalable production of a watch movement in the U.S. in five decades.
Founder Cameron Weiss designed the 120-part mechanical movement, and the entire thing is manufactured in L.A. by a team of artisans cobbled together from different fields. The initial watch outfitted with the American-made movement is a limited-edition run, but there are ambitious plans for expansion. The company’s aviation-inspired Field Watch with aged leather strap will soon be head-to-toe American. And now it’s coming full circle: Weiss says, “I have even been approached by Swiss companies looking to source watch parts from Weiss Watch Company here in the U.S.”