Archive for August, 2016

A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, August 2016

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016


Let’s look at how you and I can make AWCI stronger, more vibrant, and work to the benefit of all.


Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI President

I   was recently asked how I would see the future of AWCI in the next year, the next 5 years, and the next 10 years. I wish I had a magic crystal ball that I could look into, but I don’t. If I did, however, here is what I would see. Our membership would be improving by leaps and bounds—and the reason it would be is that there is great benefit for our membership. Everything we are doing is for the members, and they are returning by the hundreds. As leaders, we are asking ourselves, “Is what we are doing going to be of benefit to our members?” (We should not be doing what feeds our egos.) If the project can pass this litmus test—is it good for members and prospective members?—then let’s move forward with it. But if we cannot say that it will help the members, then let’s not do it. We, as leaders, all know it isn’t easy to pass that test.
     In this vision of the future, our classes would be full for both watchmakers and clockmakers. There would be an abundance of teachers, teaching both at headquarters and on the road. There would be a waiting list to get into these classes. Everyone would be excited and enthusiastic about going to class. Classes would be taught for the beginner to the most-advanced student.
     Watchmakers and clockmakers would have plenty of work and would be teaching apprentices in their shops with that hands-on training that can only be passed on from the master to the student. They would learn that it’s not the tool that makes the craftsman but the craftsman makes the tool work for him. For in the hands of a skilled person, the most simple tools can do magic.
     There would be cooperation among the brands so that a shop would not have to buy several sets of water testers or any of the other tools that they require. You could buy one set that would satisfy all of their needs.
     AWCI would be independent but would have the full cooperation of and collaboration with all brands, working together for the betterment of the horological community, both from the brand’s viewpoint as well as from the repairperson’s. AWCI, as a certifying body, should not be beholden to anyone.
     Unfortunately, I do not have a crystal ball and cannot make all of this come true, but it is a good dream.
     My hope and desire for AWCI is that we can overcome our failures and turn them into positives. I have experienced many times in my life that it is not how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get up. Dale Carnegie said, “Develop success from failure. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest steppingstones to success. No other elements can do so much for a man [or organization] if he is willing to study them and make capital out of them. Look backward. Can’t you see where your failures have helped you?”
     So I would say to all of us: Let’s look at how you and I can make AWCI stronger, more vibrant, and work to the benefit of all.



Industry News, August 2016

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Caliber 1003 mainplates shown in their machining fixtures during the mass production process.Weiss Watch Company Announces a New,

Entirely US-Made Caliber

During the last year Donna Hardy, managing editor of the Horological Times, has reported on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) investigations into many of the American-based watch brands that have made claims about being “Made in the USA” or “US Made.” As a result of the FTC’s investigations, many brands have been forced to remove these slogans from their marketing materials, brand logos, and even the watches themselves. The FTC has been very vocal about the requirements for claiming a watch is truly “Made in the USA.” To summarize some of the language they used in their reports: all or “virtually all” parts that are essential to the watches’ function must be manufactured in the US.
    TheCaliber1003 Cameron Weiss of Weiss Watch Company in Los Angeles chose the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day, to reveal a project that had been rumored to be in the works for quite some time—a new mechanical watch caliber with nearly all the movement components manufactured in the United States. Using in-house equipment as well as subcontracting to several local machine shops to help with the work, Weiss Watch Company claims to have successfully produced all the parts for a functioning watch caliber, except the hairspring and jewels. Weiss was already producing the cases, dials, hands, and straps for his watches in the United States, along with final finishing and assembly of completely Swiss-made movements. When the announcement was first made, there was some obvious skepticism as to the viability of this accomplishment, taking into account the difficulty of manufacturing components such as the balance wheel, pallet fork, escape wheel, and mainspring. Weiss decided to host an online question-and-answer via Reddit AMA (ask me anything) on July 6 to personally confirm the details of the announcement and answer any questions that people may have had.
The American Issue Field Watch will be the first of Weiss Watch Company’s watches to contain the Caliber 1003.     The Caliber 1003 is the product of reverse engineering the ETA 6497 and producing the movement components to a tolerance, minus the layout of the bridges and mainplate, so that they are virtually interchangeable with their Swiss counterparts. That is actually part of the plan Weiss has laid out—to help supply the industry with needed spare parts once the Swatch Group has discontinued the distribution of individual movement components. He claims to already have a contract with a company in Switzerland that is ready to place an order once the production is up and running. To accomplish this, Weiss has launched Pinion Precision Technology, a separate company with business partner, Grant Hughson, to act as the supply arm of the movement and spare parts distribution of their manufacturing efforts. They also plan to sell complete movements to other American brands as well as unfinished, blank ebauches. More calibers are in the works with plans for original movement designs.
    The first run of movements will only be available in the American Issue Field Watch. A limited edition run of 50 watches is currently available for pre-order on the Weiss Watch Company website. The $2,500 price tag is considered to be extremely reasonable for the level of US-based manufacturing that went into this watch. This is partly due to what some are calling the “lack of finishing” done to the movement plates and components. Weiss’s response to this criticism is, “Our version is a more American way that doesn’t require additional machinery or add steps to the manufacturing process.” Weiss also says, “We’re trying to recreate a simple utilitarian finish that is more affordable while still providing all the functional benefits of something similar to a Geneva stripe.”
     To avoid the problems some brands have encountered in not complying with what is actually considered American-made by the FTC’s standards, Weiss has been working closely with the FTC every step of the way to ensure that the watch is properly represented as a “Made in the USA” product. Weiss stated, “We’ve had an open line of communication with the FTC during the planning stages of the new CAL 1003 movement to make sure we satisfied the claim for USA made” and “The Swiss content in our CAL 1003 movement is considered negligible by FTC standards, and it is virtually all USA made.”



Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.