If you’ve ever built something with your hands: sweated, toiled and accomplished a task form concept to finished product, you know of the pride and achievement seeing the results. The same goes for handmade timepieces, especially ones made from small outfits in America. This is where the Los Angeles Weiss Watch Company excels in producing one watch, in two face options, for discerning individuals who want a quality American-made product at reasonable prices.
Weiss doesn’t just source their components from a variety of manufacturers and then assemble them in America—sure the 17-jewel movement is made in Switzerland (some things you have to leave to the tried and true experts)—they design, engineerand use in-house manufacturing techniques to make their own cases, dials and even maintenance tools and birch boxes to decoratively house the watch. Dials made of brass with hand painted numerals and indices stand out among the contrasting dial (either in black or white).
The black Standard Issue Field Watch review unit we received had a hefty, but not overly wrist-degrading weight and size. At 42mm (think IWC Portuguese for comparison) it’s not too big or too small. Some watches out now have become laughingly big, and luckily this isn’t one of them. Simple to read layout with a minute and second hand offer hassle free operation and readability in literally seconds.
While automatic caliber movements are a nice, worry free addition to any timepiece, there’s an intrinsic value to a wound watch. Weiss uses a Caliber 1001 movement—hand-finished and assembled in Los Angeles—that feels much like an Omega Speedmaster in tactile feel and action. Waking up every morning and winding your watch is refreshing and harks back to the early days of watch making.
I remember when I used to wear my Mickey Mouse watch with moving hands, literally, and it was the coolest thing at the time (no pun intended!) I had in my arsenal of striped shorts, Indian Jones t-shirt and most likely Keds. And while the MM watch will always live in my memory as my first “timepiece”, my short-term memory thinks of the Standard Field Watch as a wristwatch that can earn the respect of the watch snobs (that you’re bound to run into) with a beautifully utilitarian 17-jewel Swiss movement enclosed in a clear caseback and a simplistic design. Weiss offers the experience of a much larger company, they offer the exclusivity and craftsmanship of a much smaller one.
Commoner & Co. Stingray Strap
Just under 3,000 miles away in a Brooklyn studio, Commoner & Co. is also redefining personal goods and accessories. While the Weiss does come with a canvas strap, we wanted to pair it with an equally beautiful stingray strap made with the same passion as their West Coast counterparts who are also making incredibly well rounded handmade products. Commoner was started because they were searching for a better product that would hold its own against life’s unexpected moments, and we sought out Commoner to make us a custom strap we felt would suit the watch equally. You gotta customize even the minute details, right?
Commoner uses military-grade thread, hand sewn and finished edges and kangaroo leather, which might be overkill, but if you’ve ever bought a strap from a “respected” company (I could name at least one but I won’t out of respect and decent customer service) expecting a quality product that will last, when your watch falls off in the middle of Manhattan because of a failure, there’s a need, and a want for a product that goes to 11.
While strap is extremely stiff at first, and I’m sure it will take months of wear to settle onto your wrist, it’s not uncomfortable; it’s just like a new baseball glove that needs to be worn in. Not a fan of shagreen? Don’t worry because like I said, Commoner & Co. will work with you on hundreds of leathers, exotic hides and thread color combinations guaranteed to make you a bespoke product to exacting specifications. Hey, they did it for me in less than a week.
For more information about Weiss Watch Company and their Standard Field Watch go to weisswatchcompany.com; and for Commoner and Co.’s bespoke offerings check out commonerco.com
This story by Michael Crenshaw was originally published by Scout.com.