Mr. Watts was born in Missouri, and studied at the University of Missouri at Columbia and the New England Conservatory in Boston. He served as an orchestral trombonist for several American orchestras. He was hand-picked by conductor Seiji Ozawa as principal trombonist for the Toronto Symphony, where he met Charles Daellenbach, and persuaded him to start the Canadian Brass in 1970.
In 2010 he retired from touring, and is now listed as an "Emeritus" member of the Canadian Brass. He currently resides in Toronto.