The Trainmaster Railroad Standard 130 Years limited edition was launched in 2021 to mark the 130th anniversary of the BALL Watch Company.
This classic and elegant timepiece is inspired by a BALL vintage pocket watch from the early 20th century to represent the ‘ ‘brand’s rich heritage and watchmaking ethos.
Before adopting standard time in 1883, time was set depending on the sun’s position. As a result, every city had a time zone, making the synchronization of railroad timetables extremely complicated. From 1883 onward, U.S. railroad companies implemented a new system to divide the nation into four time zones. This change led to over 70 official time zones’ disappearance and has continued as the official time system to the present day.
In 1883, BALL Watch’s founder, Webster Clay Ball, was the first jeweler in Cleveland, Ohio, to use the time signals emitted by the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., bringing accurate time to the residents of the “C-Town.”
Since he displayed the first chronometer of the city in his store window, people got into the habit of setting their watches there, giving rise to the expressions “Ball’s Time” and “on the Ball,” used at the period to refer to the absolute correct time all over Northern Ohio.
In 1891, Webster Clay Ball was appointed as Chief Time Inspector by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Co. The unreliability of the watches used on the railroad networks made traveling by train a dangerous business.
The introduction of a system of controls and inspections had become an urgent priority. Webb C. Ball laid down standards of quality, accuracy, and design for all the railroad watches. With the accuracy of the employee’s watches being of the utmost importance, a list of approved timepieces was entrusted to them with compulsory inspections performed every two weeks for comparison with Washington time.
Limited to 999 pieces, the commemorative timepiece features a 40mm case, micro gas tube luminosity, and subsidiary seconds design. In all dark and low-light environments, the 14 micro gas tubes on the dial and hands shine automatically without any form of charging and are up to 100 times brighter than the use of conventional luminous paint.
The darkness-defying legibility is a vivid reminder of ‘ ‘BALL’s enduring watchmaking heritage and its commitment to improvement. The watch’s sapphire crystal case back enables the user to admire the chronometer-certified BALL RR1105-C Swiss mechanical movement.
As an anniversary piece that celebrates BALL Watch railroad heritage, this model took inspiration from a BALL vintage open face pocket watch that features a Montgomery dial design.
This design allows for precise reading of the minute markings, and it was the answer to the then rising demand for greater reliability of the railroad timing instruments.
While the bold black numerals on the white enamel dial is an unmistakable railroad watch design, the details that go into recreating the vintage look do not stop there.
The official status of “Automatic Chronometer” attributed by the COSC (the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) is delicately inscribed on the watch’s dial to highlight this timepiece’s accuracy. As a break with the spell of time, the words “BALL & Co.” have been styled to form the number 7.
Model: BALL Watch Trainmaster Railroad Standard 130 Years Limited Edition
Model Number: NM3888D-S4CJ-WH
Automatic caliber BALL RR1105-C
Chronometer certified COSC
Shock resistant to 5,000Gs
Anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m
Water resistant to 30m/100ft
Hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds and date
Ø 40mm, height 12 mm
Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Sapphire crystal transparent case back
White enamel dial
14 micro gas tubes on hour and minute hands and dial for night reading capability
Stainless steel bracelet with folding buckle or crocodile leather strap with pin buckle
Limited edition of 999 pieces