As many of you may remember, Brother Jack got his own Weiss American Issue Field Watch with the Cal. 1003 movement from Weiss Watch Company a few months back and raved about the quality of the product. Much of his writing that day, however, dealt with the movement contained within the case—the reverse-engineered Caliber 1003, which Cameron Weiss has painstakingly created in his shop in Los Angeles, California. It’s the standard bearer for American watches in modern times.
However, JB also mentioned that Mr. Weiss, who’s a disgustingly young and handsome man, started his business with the Standard Issue Field Watch. He still makes the crystals and cases in SoCal, but rather than using his hand-crafted automatic movement, he uses the Caliber 1001, a hand-wound fully mechanical movement which is imported from Switzerland and finished by hand. The end result is a watch that is no less beautiful that the American Issue, but costs half as much.
As I tend to rotate my watches more often than many men rotate their underwear, I wanted to support Mr. Weiss’ efforts, but I was reluctant to spend the nearly $2000 required for the automatic movement. As such, when it came time for me to buy my own Weiss timepiece, I opted for the Standard Issue, as you can see in the photos above (if you’re not familiar with the ‘gram, you can click on the image to scroll through the four unboxing pics).
It has, thus far, been fantastic.
The beauty of the Standard Issue is equal parts simplicity and craftsmanship. I have long admired my father’s Marine Corps watch which was issued to him in advance of his tour in Vietnam, and which he has recently begun wearing again. It was designed to withstand the horrors of war, and to do one thing exceptionally well—tell the time. Mr. Weiss’ creation is inspired by such military watches. I specced mine with a white face and an olive-colored cordura strap, keeping at least partially in that tradition.
I could, in the style of many less-than-fine automotive journalists, do a copypasta of the specs that Mr. Weiss has listed on his website, but I would rather encourage you to go there yourself to read about them and the intricate manufacturing process. Many of you indicated in the comments on Jack’s piece that you would be interested in purchasing your own Weiss creation, but that the cost was prohibitive. To this I would say that the Standard Issue is significantly more than 50% of the value of the American Issue, but at only 50% of the price.
No, it doesn’t have the automatic movement, and yes, there are some imported parts, but I believe that it’s better to purchase a watch that’s mostly American than one that isn’t American at all. Like Jack, I have made my fair share of Shinola purchases (up to a dozen now), and I support their efforts to bring back American jobs, as well, but the only truly American thing about their product is the strap and the assembly (and the over 300 jobs created in Detroit).
Weiss is doing nearly everything in house, with over 35 hours of labor involved in each Standard Issue, and 65 hours involved in the American Issue. It’s a great and humbling feeling to look down at my wrist and think of all the labor and design involved in it. In other words, it takes longer to assemble a Weiss Standard Issue Field Watch than it does to assemble an Acura NSX, which is also hand-assembled.
Speaking of Shinola, my Weiss timepiece was quite the topic of conversation when I went to their Wynwood store in Miami recently. All of the employees were more than enamored with it, and asked several questions about the watch and the company. The manager, in particular, was excited to see it, saying she’d heard all about them but had yet to see one.
If you’re interested in getting your own, I’d recommend doing it soon. Weiss is offering financing through Affirm at 0% interest (with approval). I was able to get free engraving on mine by taking advantage of their holiday special, so the total cost was $950, and it arrived in less than a week from when I placed my order. Someday, I suspect my Weiss watch, with a serial number that’s under #1000, will be somewhat of a collectors’ item. I have to think that as demand for these increases, so will the price. $950 for this watch? It’s a steal.