BALL is a Swiss watch brand with a rich ancestry dating back to the golden ages of railroad transpiration in America. Founded by Webster Clay Ball in 1891 in Cleveland, Ohio, BALL Watch Company is now based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

History of BALL watches

The history of BALL watches is closely tied to that of the American railroad pioneers. It started precisely on 18 April 1891 with the head-on collision of two trains in Ohio, United States. This catastrophe has left a lasting impression, all the more so since it was due to the inaccuracy of the watch belonging to one of the trains’ engineers.

Consequently, the two largest railway companies in the United States decided to take steps to prevent such a technical failure from ever happening again. They contacted the Cleveland watchmaker Webster Clay Ball, already well-known for making chronometers.

Webster Clay Ball
Webster Clay Ball, Founder of BALL Watch Company

Appointed ‘Chief Time Inspector’ to the federal railroads, Webster C. Ball performed timing tests on all railway employees’ watches. At the same time, he implemented a time standardization system based on extremely strict criteria of reliability and precision.

From that moment on, the fame of watches bearing the ‘BALL’s Standard’ logo spread well beyond the American continent. Webb C. Ball’s recommendations were of such validity that they actually formed the basis of the COSC certification system established by the Swiss Society of Chronometry in 1973 and which is still applied today.

Old Advertisement ball watch

For more than a century, BALL watches have been recognised as meeting the highest standards of precision, reliability and the strength to withstand the most adverse conditions. In 1962, the company introduced their first skin diver watch.

Towards the end of the 1990s, BALL Watch changed owners, but remained loyal to its philosophy. The brand used its technical prowess to reach out to new and unknown horizons of personal challenge and it is fast becoming the chosen watch of sportspeople, explorers and adventurers, who have been made its ambassadors.

In 2001, BALL launched the world’s first mechanical watch illuminated by micro gas tubes.

While the American origins of BALL Watch define a somewhat singular evolution for this watchmaking brand, the march of its success has steadily advanced to conquer other continents. In 2003, BALL Watch took up residence in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Special Features of BALL Watches

One of the exclusive qualities of BALL watches is the perfect dial visibility even in the complete absence of any light thanks to the use of Micro Gas Lights (3H). Other specific features of the BALL brand include their extraordinary strength designed specifically to meet the intended use of each of the various models.

BALL uses several innovations and patented technologies to create durable, long-lasting and robust timepieces with excellent shock-resistance, anti-magnetism and legibility.

Easy legibility is one of BALL Watch’s mottos and has been from the very outset, when its founder, Webb C. Ball, established very exacting legibility standards as early as 1891. For more than ten years now, the brand’s dials and hands have been fitted with gas tubes which enable the time to be read under all circumstances, even in the most extreme conditions.

BALL Watch Light Technology

BALL Watch uses pioneering Swiss technology, consisting in encapsulating tritium gas in glass microtubes. Light is emitted when the tritium molecules strike the capsules’ coloured inner surface. This phenomenon can last more than 20 years, without requiring recharge from any outside light source.

Moreover, the light emitted is a hundred times brighter than other light sources commonly used in watch-making. Also, the secure micro-tube system means that all the performance benefits of tritium can be exploited without concern about radioactivity.

The brand utilizes patented systems such as SpringSEAL, Amortiser® and SpringLOCK® for improving shock resistance, and A-PROOF® for enhancing antimagnetic properties.

The other key innovations from BALL watch are TMT (mechanical movement with temperature measurement), Cold Temperature Endurance, Slide Chronograph, Patented Helium System, Patented Crown Protection System, and Patented Folding Buckle.

It is also the first watch brand to launch the world’s first mechanical movement including a day and date function combined with a 24-hour time zone display.

BALL Watch Collections

The brand’s flagship collections are: Official Railroad Watch, Engineer II, Engineer III, Engineer M, Engineer Master II, Engineer Hydrocarbon, Trainmaster, Fireman, and Roadmaster. The BALL Watch price range is $1,700 to $10,000.

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