One of my earliest childhood memories is of me lying on the living room floor, pencil sketching cars. I loved cars. Still do. I used to draw all kinds. Oddly, mostly family sedans. I was a weird kid.
If you asked an eight year old Andy what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would have said a car designer. Fast forward a few decades and I’m not that. The only things I design are spreadsheets. I do own a family sedan though. So that’s something, I guess.
I’m not ungrateful for where I am today. I’m doing fine. Perhaps a little frustrated. About the fact that I’m not doing something more creative for a living. And I guess that’s what FLTR is for me. A creative outlet. And a way for me to meet creative people.
Like Cameron Weiss.
In the world of horology, where Swiss and Japanese watchmaking giants dominate, Weiss Watch Company emerges as a refreshing independent brand. This boutique watchmaker offers a unique narrative that sets it apart from its international competitors. Weiss is at the forefront of reviving American watchmaking, not from traditional hubs like Bienne or Tokyo, but from Nashville, Tennessee.
Cameron trained at the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (WOSTEP) at the Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking School in Florida, and at prestigious Swiss watch companies Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin, before founding his company in 2013. Cameron crafts cases, dials, components, and even springs, all within the United States. What’s more, he personally hand-assembles every watch from start to finish.
I spoke to Cameron about his journey. I was delighted to find out about his love for coffee. Because it’s always nice to meet another coffee lover. And it gave me an excuse to write this article for FLTR.
What is it about the way you were raised that led you to watchmaking?
Growing up I was given the time to experiment and create. Because of that I learned that I was most happy when I was building things. I gravitated to wristwatches because to me they are perfect for so many reasons and can be carried with you anywhere you go.
I love your perspective on what makes a watch valuable. You’ve said that mechanical watches today are not about telling time. What did you mean by that?
Every mechanical timepiece is full of history, art, craft, engineering, and the watchmaker’s personality. On top of that the collector gets to enjoy it and add to it their own story and history. I believe those are the things that bring true value to a timepiece and that the features of time telling are just a small part of the benefit/enjoyment to be had.
I watched a Hodinkee episode where you talk about your love for the Rolex Submariner. Specifically the one you have, the 5512. Why do you love that watch? And how does it inspire your work?
My 5512 Submariner is very special to me because I purchased it in pieces in a tray. When it made its way into that tray it was basically deemed not worth fixing by a previous watchmaker, and so it sat in pieces until I came along to revive it. It went on to accompany me on many dive trips and job interviews and became a useful tool for me. My story became entwined with its story and to me that is what I love about it.
Why is 3 your favorite number?
Three (and its square too) somehow inspire a calmness with me. I think the root of it may be the balance I find in the shape of triangles.
What impresses me most about The Watchmakers Workshop, your Youtube channel, is how giving you are with your knowledge. You really do share everything you know. Why is that important to you?
Many people have told me over the years that they think the watch industry is very secretive. I don’t believe that at all. I believe the opposite, but there are some things that might make it appear guarded from the outside looking in.
Watchmaking is a shrinking art, however, quality timepieces are made to last and more are made every year. So by default the small group of watchmakers become increasingly smaller and their demand also grows as time passes because all timepieces require maintenance and restoration attention from watchmakers over time.
It’s my goal to change the opinion that the industry is guarded and my way of doing that is by teaching. Hopefully it will help ignite interest in watches and watchmaking and inspire others to join in the fun. And by that I mean join the industry or be a more educated collector or enthusiast. More people and more knowledge out in the universe will hopefully give watchmaking a better chance for survival as a craft and an art.
People who really know and appreciate the art of watchmaking can recognise a kindred spirit simply by the type of watch they’re wearing. I’m not deep enough into watches (yet) to be able to pull off that party trick. But I do know coffee. And I’ve seen in one of your The Watchmaker’s Workshop films, you grinding your beans from a Weber Workshops EG-1. So I’m going to conclude you’re a pretty serious coffee person. Am I right?
You are indeed correct. As a watchmaker I am well aware that having the right tools to perform a certain task can be one of the biggest hurdles. Using an inadequate tool can quickly damage an otherwise perfect watch.
Same goes for coffee beans. I have a lot of respect for the small farming operations that work so hard to bring us unique and amazing varieties all over the world, and then the roasters who prepare them just right for the coffee.
I start every day off with a Chemex or a V60 pourover. I personally enjoy tea like and fruity single origin, light roast beans for this. Varieties grown at higher altitude are what I typically gravitate towards.
Then my mid-day and afternoons are for espresso with my Rocket Cinquantotto. For this I’m usually using a blend, but I do love to experiment with some single origins to get a really unique espresso pull.
From what I’ve gathered, you’re not doing this because you want to be the next Gerald Genta, or George Daniels or Jean-Claude Biver. What drives you? What do you want your legacy to be?
I would love to be referenced with those amazing industry veterans. But to be honest, I just love watches and making things. When I learn something, or perfect something it brings me joy. Then if I can show or teach someone else that thing I feel that joy again when I see their excitement for it. That is why I do what I do.
What’s next for Weiss Watch Company?
More learning, creating, and teaching.
Images provided by Weiss Watch Company.