If you are looking for a watch these days, your options are virtually limitless. If you want that watch to be made in the United States, then things narrow down a bit more. If you are looking for said watch to have a mechanical movement finished and assembled here in the States, and then placed under a dial and into a case made here in the States as well, things really narrow down quite a bit for you. As a matter of fact, your options can be counted on one hand. Today, we are going to cover one of them, the Weiss Special Issue Field Watch.
You might be saying to yourself, “Special issue? Weiss has been making these Field Watches all along!” As a matter of fact, we have actually talked about the Standard Issue Field Watch two times now (full review here and more about their American production here). What makes this edition special can be found right on the dial. They just recently released two new dial colors (carbon and latte), and with those dials, we get a new handset style as well.
I will admit, I am often not a fan of skeletonized hands, as they tend to be harder to see against the dial. Happily, this is definitely not the case here – legibility is definitely something that the Weiss Special Issue Field Watch gets high marks for. It also has the effect of underscoring the clean simplicity of the watch, which then extends out to the dial and case.
On the dial front, the latte is a great middle-of-the-road color. Just like your favorite pair of khaki pants, this dial (made from brass, by the way) will go with just about anything. As far as the markings go, there is almost nothing extraneous. The one thing that is perhaps unnecessary is the inclusion of hash marks between the minute markers. As there’s no large, sweeping seconds hand, this is perhaps a bit of overkill. That said, it does then turn into more of a styling exercise, giving a light delineation at the edge of the dial that is not a chapter ring.
The logo is well-placed, and I am definitely a fan of the font used to print “Los Angeles, CA” on the dial as well – gives the watch a sort of art deco vibe. The one item on the dial I am not as big a fan of is at 3 o’clock. I hear you saying, “But wait, there isn’t anything there!” And you are right. There isn’t, which leaves the subseconds dial over at 9 feeling a little unbalanced. Sometimes, that is the nature of the beast with watch design. Here, though, we have a north-south symmetry, and my eye really was craving the same for east-west.
With the 42mm case, we have a mix of details. The rounded, polished bezel sets nicely around the sapphire, and provides a contrast to the brushed sides of case. The lugs were of particular interest to me. Rather than being a simple curve, or even straight lugs, there is a bit of step in there. This makes for something that is more visually interesting than plain lugs, and gives things a bit of an architectural feel.
Flip the watch over, and you see the other sapphire crystal in use, this time set in to the screwed-down caseback, showing off the Caliber 1001 movement (which uses an ETA 6497 base). While it isn’t a particularly flashy movement, what we do see is nicely finished. You can see the barrel turning as you wind the crown, and the balance wheel flying away as power is applied. Basically, a nice treat for the owner of the watch.
On the wrist the Weiss Special Issue Field Watch was about as comfortable as you would expect. The relatively thin case (12.8mm) slipped under a cuff easily, and I did not notice any lug overhang. The included leather strap conformed nicely as well – slightly stiff, but still pliable. Given its nature (and finish), I have a feeling that this is the sort of strap that will end up breaking in like a nice leather belt or jacket, and lend a nice patina to the watch as the years go by. Also of note, given its padded nature, once you have your favorite buckle position set, you should not have a problem hitting that same mark every day, as it will pick up the indentation of the buckle.
This is a watch I was really quite happy I got to spend some time with. Weiss seems to be doing a lot of things right, and have been making the move towards producing more and more of their components here in the States (again, more on that here ), as well as assembling the movement here as well. To me, it shows a sign of maturity in a brand that they can take up that challenge, as well as a commitment to what they are producing (and where it’s being made).
The Weiss Special Issue Field Watch is a great addition to the lineup, one that gives some color variety. We of course reviewed the new latte dial here, but there is also a carbon color that is the brand’s response to requests for a stealthier watch. You can pick your own Weiss Special Issue Field Watch for a price of $1,250. Just be prepared to be patient – as the watches are built by hand, there is about a 6-8 week delay from the time of ordering until shipment. weisswatchcompany.com
Tech Specs from Weiss
>Movement: Weiss Watch Company Caliber 1001 mechanical movement, 6497 base, finished and assembled in Los Angeles, California from Swiss parts
>Functions: Manually wound, 18,000 beats/hour, 46 hour power reserve, hours, minutes, sweep second hand at 9, incabloc shock protection
>Case: 316L stainless steel, 42mm diameter (not including crown), 12.8mm height
>Caseback: Sapphire crystal and 316L stainless steel exhibition caseback, secured by four 316L stainless steel hex screws
>Dial: Machined naval brass finished latte with high visibility black numerals
>Hands: Black skeletonized steel
>Front Crystal: Double-domed and beveled sapphire
>Back Crystal: Beveled sapphire
>Water Resistance: 330 feet/ 100 meters
>Band: 20mm natural oiled leather, and 18mm stainless steel buckle
>Warranty: 2 Year Weiss Watch Company Warranty