About

Eric Watson

MEET THE HAT MAKER

My passion for hats started when I was a teenager. Inspired by the fedora worn by Indiana Jones I began my quest to learn the art of hat making by restoring fine vintage hats as old as 1912. Later after college, I was able to have some well seasoned hatters share their knowledge and hatter’s equipment with me.

 

Back then people took pride in what they wore, because it was tailor made by a master craftsman. My hats are made with pride and will last a lifetime when worn properly. At Watson’s Hat Shop you will enjoy the natural luster and signature finishes that make our hats functional works of art.

WATSON'S HAT SHOP TEAM

Watson’s Hat Shop is a family operated business with some great employees as well. We take pride in the Watson name and are proud to work together and make beautiful hats for generations to come.

Derby

Even our shop dog Derby knows how to put his skills to work to make a hat!

Stop by Derby’s Corner and he will show you around the shop.

MADE WITH PRIDE

Watson's Hat Shop

Each hat is cared for just the same as the next with precision and respect. At Watson’s Hat Shop we offer some of the finest blends of pure beaver, beaver blend, and European Hare (i.e. rabbit fur felt). Also, you will find that we make our hats from the finest Panama hat bodies (hand woven in Ecuador). You can choose from up to 34 different colors of hats, and various styles of ribbon with the choice of 7 different widths. Also, we have custom leather hat bands, braided horse hair hat bands, custom silver and gold hat bands with your choice of gem stones, and braided kangaroo hat bands, and custom stampede strings. All our hat bands are custom made here in the USA.

 

We can even customize the hat band with your ranch logo, racing logo, or a special design. Maybe there is a favorite movie or hat that you would like made? No problem, just stop in and let me know exactly what you would like. If you’re not sure, what hat may look good on you and fit your face and body features then leave it to me. This is where my artistic ability really comes into play. Together we will customize a great looking hat that you will love and be proud to wear for a long time.

Welcome Video

Raw Fur Felt Blank
Watson's Hats

This is what we use before the hat making process begins. The same process that custom hat shops have been doing for nearly 200 years.

Hand Selected Premium Leather Sweatbands

At Watson’s we hand select our premium made leather sweatbands. Our sweatbands are made with premium vegetable tanned goat hide as well as premium natural calfskin for our hand carved leather sweatbands.

Leather Sweatband Singer Sewing Machine (1930’s)
hat sewing machine

This machine is used specifically for sewing the leather sweatband into the hat. I use this machine to ensure the same high quality stitching that was done nearly 100 years ago.

Hatter’s Initialing Machine (1889)
Watson's hat Shop custom hat tool

I use this machine to perforate perfect letters into the leather sweatband just as hatters did 100 years ago. By perforating the customer’s initials into the leather sweatband this ensures that the customer’s initials are permanently inside the hat.

Conformateur (late 1800’s)
Eric Watson with hat Conformateur

Used to take a template of the customer’s head shape to ensure a perfect fit. This rare piece of equipment when used correctly ensures an excellent fit just for the customer’s custom hat.

Crown Iron Machine (1920’s)
Watson's Hats

This hat making machine is essential to making a high quality hat that will last a lifetime. Made in the early 1900’s from very heavy and strong cast iron this machine is used to condense and mold the fur felt blanks on the hat block.

Hatters Wood Hat Blocks
hat blocks

These wood hat blocks have been used for centuries to make some of the finest custom hats. Just as they were used then we utilize these hat blocks today to create some of the finest custom hats around. Choose from hundreds of styles of hat blocks.

Hatter's Brim Flanges
brim flanges

At Watson’s we have hundreds of Hatter’s Brim Molds, so we can make you whatever brim shape you would like. Most of the collection of hat making equipment came from two old hat shops and one of them, which was the longest operating custom hat shop in the United States.

1926 Hatter's Blocking Table
eric watson blocking steam pot hat making

Made in 1926 this steam table is used throughout the entire hat making process. Is essential to making fine custom hats. Used during the hat blocking process, shaping, and brim shaping process.

1800's Hat Block Stretcher
Eric Watson with Hat Block Stretcher Machine

This hat block stretcher machine is nearly 140 years old and used to perfectly stretch the crown of the hat.

Hatter's Ribbon (Made in the USA)
Hand Sewn Hat Ribbon

At Watson’s Hat Shop we sew every hat ribbon on the hat by hand. The same way that hatter’s would sew ribbon around the hat back in the day.

By doing it this way our ribbon work looks great without seeing stitch marks that a factory sewing machine would leave.

1926 Hatter's Brim Press

This is a 1926 Brim Press that we have fully restored and use to press our brims when using a brim flange. At Watson’s Hat Shop we are proud to use the exact methods when and hat making equipment when making a custom hat!