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The famous Ball Watch Company is known for its long history with the American railroad. Founded in 1891, the company established itself as a supplier of accurate timekeeping devices to the American railroad. This allowed the brand to later venture into the business of luxury watches with its reputation for remarkable timekeeping precision. To this day, the company remains true to its idiom — “On the ball.” Today, the company sits at the heart of the watchmaking capital La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. They are now owned by the Hong Kong-based Asia Commercial Holdings Ltd.

Ball: The Train Conductor’s Trusted Companion

Ball Watch Company established its roots in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States of America. The year was 1891 and Mr. Webster C. Ball collaborated with a watchmaker from Ohio to build the company. In the beginning, the company became associated with the American railroad as they began providing timekeeping devices to them. However, in later years, they took the path of creating watches that remained true to their history of accurate and precise timekeeping.

Today, the company remains a popular choice among watch collectors and professionals who need timepieces with wonderful features aside from timekeeping. The company’s most popular collections include the Trainmaster, Fireman, Engineer Master II, and Engineer Hydrocarbon. Ball is also a pioneer in many technologies such as self-powered micro gas tubes, anti-magnetic features as well as anti-shock systems, among others.

Reasons to Buy a Ball Watch

Ball Watch Company has been in business for more than a hundred years, earning them a reputation for accuracy and precision, as proven by their history. However, that is not the only reason why you need at least one Ball watch in your collection. The company combines both American and Swiss excellence in watchmaking, bringing them together to craft truly remarkable and reliable timepieces.

  • 1. Ball watches are so well-known for their accuracy that they even recently launched their own first-ever Chronometer Manufacture Caliber 7309. It features an incredible power reserve of 80 hours, and beats at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour, or 4Hz.
  • 2. The company also produces incredible patented technologies such as the Night Reading Revolution, anti-shock systems, anti-magnetic systems, and even temperature measurements.
  • 3. Ball Watch Company also has collections of highly-regarded timepieces such as the Fireman and Trainmaster.
  • 4. The designs of Ball watches are unique in their own way with both sporty and classy designs available that cater to different consumers.
  • 5. No matter what your needs are, there is sure to be a Ball watch for you. They have professional-grade watches that are perfect for the sea, land, and air.

How Much is a Ball Watch?

Ball is a luxury watch brand that hails from the United States, but has since moved to Switzerland. That said, the company now carries the best of both worlds, incorporating both Swiss and American excellence in watchmaking. You can expect the prices of these watches to fall on the more expensive side of the spectrum. However, that is only to be expected considering the robust features and premium materials you get with Ball watches. For more information, check out the table below.

Model

Price (approximate)

Key Features

Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU $5,264 USD
  • 42 mm titanium case
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1402-C
  • COSC-Certified Chronometer
  • Anti-magnetism of 4,800A/m
  • Underwater operable chronograph
  • Patented helium release crown
  • Top ceramic luminous unidirectional rotating bezel
  • Total of 21 micro gas tubes 
Trainmaster Pulsemeter Chronograph MSF$4,621 USD
  • 43 mm stainless steel case
  • White enamel dial with blue-color second hands
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1401
  • Patented SpringLOCK® anti-shock system
  • Anti-shock 5,000Gs
  • Chronograph function
  • Pulse meter graduated for 15 pulsations
  • Total of 14 micro gas tubes
Engineer Hydrocarbon Submarine Warfare Chronograph$4,036 USD
  • 42 mm titanium case
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1402
  • Unidirectional rotating stainless steel bezel with gas tube inset
  • Chronograph function
  • Anti-magnetism of 4,800A/m
  • 300 m/1000 ft water resistance
  • Total of 23 micro gas tubes
Engineer II Timetrekker$3,802 USD
  • 40 mm 904L stainless steel case
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1304-C
  • COSC-Certified Chronometer
  • 100 m/330 ft water resistance
  • Anti-magnetism of 4,800A/m
  • Dual time zone indication
  • Day-night indicators
  • 5,000Gs shock resistance
  • Total of 49 micro gas tubes
Engineer M Best Bronze$3,626 USD
  • 43 mm bronze case
  • Automatic BALL Manufacture caliber RRM7309-C
  • COSC-Certified Chronometer
  • 100 m/330 ft water resistance
  • Anti-magnetism of 4,800A/m
  • 5,000Gs shock resistance
  • Sweeping seconds
  • Total 26 micro gas tubes
Engineer Hydrocarbon Submarine Warfare $3,509 USD
  • 42 mm titanium case
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1102-C
  • COSC-Certified Chronometer
  • Unidirectional rotating stainless steel bezel with gas tube insert
  • 300 m/1000 ft water resistance
  • Sweeping seconds
  • Anti-magnetism of 1,000 Gauss or 80,000A/m
Engineer Master II Waco Glider$2,866 USD
  • 46 mm stainless steel case
  • Manual caliber BALL RR2102
  • Hinged case back
  • Push-in crown
  • 50 m/165 ft water resistance
  • Anti-magnetism of 1,000 Gauss or 80,000A/m
Trainmaster Standard Time 135 Anniversary$2,105 USD
  • 40 mm stainless steel case
  • Limited edition
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1101
  • Anti-magnetism of 4,800A/m
  • Sweeping seconds
  • 50 m/165 ft water resistance
  • Total of 15 micro gas tubes
Fireman Racer$1,988 USD
  • 40 mm stainless steel case
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1103
  • Shock resistant to 5,000Gs
  • Sweeping seconds
  • Magnified Date
  • Total of 15 micro gas tubes
Fireman Victory$1,754 USD
  • 40 mm stainless steel case
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1103
  • Anti-magnetism of 4,800A/m
  • 5,000Gs shock resistance
  • Total of 14 micro gas tubes 
  • 100 m/330 ft water resistance

Ball Watch Collections

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon

Ball Watch Company has been known to create watches made for extreme conditions. After all, the company started out providing timepieces to railroads, which required truly precise timekeeping. The Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon collection is one such example. It represents everything Ball stands for — durability, accuracy, and functionality. This collection is for people who need professional-grade watches made from high-quality materials.

As expected from Ball, the Engineer Hydrocarbon carries a very unique design. It has a swiveling crown protector that serves to fully protect its crown from knocks and impacts while also creating a sturdy image. Ideal for adventurers not just because of its strong exterior, the inside of the watch also features two incredible systems, giving it even greater durability. First, it houses a hairspring anti-shock system called SpringLOCK®. This system reduces the balance spring’s shock impact by 66% for more accurate timekeeping. Second, its Amortiser® patented anti-shock system protects the watch movement from damage caused by external shocks. 

How Much is a Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Watch?

The Engineer Hydrocarbon collection varies very much in price. Engineer Hydrocarbon watches can cost anywhere between $3,000 USD and $5,000 USD. One of the most popular watches from the collection is the Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph. This watch costs around $4,679 USD in retail. It is very much in-demand so chances are that you will be able to find some pre-owned versions that cost around the same price, if not more. The Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Submarine Warfare is the most affordable unit from this collection, retailing at around $3,509 USD.

Ball Engineer III

There is something about Ball and its affiliation with sports that allows the brand to come up with truly next-level sports watches. Among these, the Ball Engineer III is a particular standout, with ingenious technology attached to it. This collection features incredibly robust materials that are not typically used in watchmaking. That includes carbide and bronze. However, steel models are also available from this collection. The Engineer III is a whole new generation of watches featuring extreme anti-magnetic protection up to 80,000 A/m or 1,000 Gauss.

You can expect a variety of designs from this collection. They offer cases that range from steel to stainless steel with black TiC (titanium carbide) coating. There are also bronze models that make for great dress watches. As expected from Ball, these watches also have micro gas tubes that illuminate their markers — be it the baton indices or the Arabic numerals. 

The movements powering these watches also vary, with some of them being equipped with the Automatic caliber BALL RR1205-C. This is a COSC-certified movement, made in-house at Ball’s facilities in Switzerland. The models with this movement include the limited edition watches Engineer III Jet-Set GMT and Engineer III Hurricane Hunters, which also come with micro tube-fitted bezels.

How Much is a Ball Engineer III Watch?

The most affordable watch in the collection is the Engineer III Dreamer which costs $2,105 USD only. However, you can also find other affordable models such as the Engineer III Armor which retails at $2,573 USD, brand new. The limited-edition Engineer III Hurricane Hunters with a sapphire elapsed time bezel is one of the most expensive models at $3,802 USD. On the other hand, the Engineer III Bronze is a tad less expensive, at $2,599 USD. 

Ball Engineer M

There are many ways to describe the Ball Engineer M collection. However, the most direct meaning of the letter “M” in this collection’s name is “Manufacture.” And, yes, it is exactly what you think it is. Engineer M watches are not just magnificent or majestic, they also exclusively feature manufacture caliber movements. Designed and built in-house, these manufacture calibers are very much representative of the brand’s pioneering effort to stay in the game.

Ball’s first-ever manufacture caliber, the Caliber 7309, can be found in the Engineer M Challenger. The company prides itself on this creation as it inspired many iterations of the Caliber 7309 movement that you can see in other models. This movement is not just any other in-house movement. It has 80 hours of power reserve and it even comes with COSC certification as a chronometer.

An improved version of the movement powers the Engineer M Skindiver III. Automatic BALL Manufacture caliber 7309-C is still a COSC-certified chronometer with 80 hours of power reserve and beats at 28,800 vph. The Engineer M Pioneer, Best Bronze, and Marvelight function with an even more improved rendition, the RRM7309-CS. This chronometer movement is characterized by an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring, allowing the watch to withstand magnetic fields of up to 2,500 Gauss.

Most of the watches from this collection feature stainless steel cases and bracelets, except for the Engineer M Best Bronze. As you might expect, the Engineer M Best Bronze is made from bronze. Its strap also comes in leather instead of stainless steel. 

How Much is a Ball Engineer M Watch?

40mm Engineer M Pioneer watches are the most expensive watches from this collection, and they cost around $4,328 USD apiece. The Engineer M Skindiver III costs a few hundred dollars less, at $4,094 USD. For more affordable models, you can go for the Engineer M Marvelight at $2,799 USD. 

Ball Engineer Master II

The Ball Engineer Master II, true to its name, displays the brand’s complete mastery over the watchmaking craft. This collection features aesthetically pleasing models that are also very unique to the brand’s identity. Moreover, the precision of the Ball Engineer Master II is classic Ball, and truly stands out in the game. The dive watches from this collection have all the innovations that any professional diver would enjoy experiencing. These include internal rotating bezels as well as micro gas tubes that make it easier to read the watch underwater. This collection also has Worldtimer models that combine day and date functions from 24 different cities in the world.

The Engineer Master II range features various models, and every model has its own unique features. For instance, the Engineer Master II Seven Wonders of Istanbul has the word ISTANBUL spelled out as the markers for 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, and 4 o’clock. On the other hand, the Engineer Master II Normandy has a circular slide rule and bi-directional bezel. It is a very intricate watch that any professional can enjoy. For a more classic Ball watch look, you can refer to the Master II Aviator with its alternating baton-style markers and boxy Arabic numerals. 

Another striking model from this collection is the Engineer Master II Skindiver Heritage, which boasts baton-style markers which are illuminated by micro gas tubes. It also comes with a unidirectional rotating bezel made from luminous ceramic. As expected from a dive watch, you can take this timepiece up to 300 meters or 1,000 feet underwater. We also have the Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer, which provides wearers with an intricate and powerful movement. It runs on the COSC-certified Automatic Caliber BALL RR1101-C. This watch also has a bi-directional rotating inner bezel as well as a mu-metal shield.

How Much is a Ball Engineer Master II Watch?

Depending on the strap option, the prices of each Ball watch in the Engineer Master II collection vary. The most affordable watch from this collection is the Engineer Master II Aviator Oversize with a rubber strap, which retails at approximately $2,222 USD. As expected, the Seven Wonders of Istanbul model with a stainless steel bracelet is the most expensive, at $4,094 USD in retail. 

Ball Fireman

The Ball Fireman is everything you need as a professional. It marries robust functions with a sophisticated design, durability, and of course, high precision. This collection takes inspiration from railroads. As such, their functionalities are similar to those of old railroad watches.

Among the models of the Ball Fireman, you can find true standouts such as those that come with a telemeter, a tachymeter, and a chronograph. They are the perfect companions for professionals in demanding situations. As for the design of the watches, you can expect each of them to be simple without being underwhelming. They are truly representative of the evolution of railroad timekeeping devices.

While there are several models in this collection, they do not vary much from each other. Perhaps the model with the most unusual aesthetics is the Fireman Storm Chaser DLC Glow II. This limited edition watch has a more rugged look, with a layer of black DLC coating on its case and bracelet. This timepiece also features a tachymetric bezel and handy chronograph functions.  

Meanwhile, the Fireman Racer also proves to be quite different in aesthetics as it boasts a look that — you guessed it — is reminiscent of automotives. The red indices of this timepiece definitely help with that, along with its striking black dial. The markers of this watch also come with 15 micro gas tubes for greater legibility.

How Much is a Ball Fireman Watch?

The Storm Chaser DLC Glow II is the most expensive model in this collection, at $3,919 USD. The good news is that this is the only Fireman watch that costs this much, being a rare, limited edition model with just 1,999 pieces available. All the other models in this collection cost around $1,000 USD, or slightly more. For instance, the Fireman Enterprise costs $949 USD while the Fireman Victory retails at $1,209 USD. On the other hand, the Fireman Racer is slightly more expensive, at $1,988 USD.

Ball Trainmaster

If you want a more classic design, the Ball Trainmaster is the one for you. Ball started its heritage as a timekeeper for the American railroads. This allowed the company to become synonymous with precision, quality, and reliability. The Trainmaster collection draws inspiration from those first railroad timepieces from the Ball Watch Company. You can find the words “BALL’s Standard” stamped on the Ball Trainmaster’s dial. This alone signifies how this watch is the evolution of Ball’s innovations. It displays utmost elegance, simplicity, and timekeeping accuracy.

There are different models available for this watch. Some have more classic designs, such as the Trainmaster Standard Time and Trainmaster Cannonball. The Trainmaster Moon Phase, Manufacture 80 Hours, Legend, and Eternity, on the other hand, come with more modern minimalist designs. The simplicity of these watches truly reflects the Ball’s expertise in watchmaking. The collection also offers a unique pocket watch model. 

How Much is a Ball Trainmaster Watch?

The pocket watch model from this collection costs a rather budget-friendly $818 USD. Meanwhile, the other standard wristwatch models cost around $2,000 USD to $4,700 USD. Every piece varies in function as they do in prices. The Trainmaster Moon Phase is a standout, retailing at just $2,690 USD. If you want a COSC-certified chronometer watch, the Trainmaster Endeavour Chronometer is the piece for you.  This limited edition watch, with only 250 pieces available worldwide, costs around $3,041 USD.

History of Ball Watches

There is a rich yet unfortunate history that led to the creation of Ball as a watch company. In 1981, two trains in Ohio collided. This tragic accident caused several deaths. During the investigation, one of the train conductors admitted that his watch stopped for four minutes. This caused him to run late. As a result, two trains going in opposite directions on the same track collided. 

Webster C. Ball, the founder of the Ball Watch Company, was appointed Chief Time Inspector at the time. He began standardizing timekeeping throughout the railroad industry. He is the very reason why every station and railroad in America today has uniform and accurate timekeeping.

Ball used Standard Time and developed time signals that were later used across most of America, Canada, as well as Mexico. He also developed almost 2,300 Ball-certified timepieces that were used in passenger and freight trains. They were also utilized by conductors, engineers, as well as other personnel involved in railroads. This allowed many people to have accurate and synchronized timekeeping. Aside from this, he made sure that all the watches were inspected at least every two weeks, to ensure that they remained accurate. Watches that varied by 30 seconds or more were modified and upgraded.

This resulted in the success of railroads and the association of Ball and his name with the American railroad. From there, the company has gone on to develop more high-quality timepieces for modern-day professionals.

Ball Technology Ahead of its Time

The only word that can truly describe Ball watches is innovative. Every timepiece from this brand features micro gas tubes that provide incredible luminosity to the watches. All of these tubes safely house tritium gas and do not require any external charging. The company also manufactures movements equipped with patented shock systems like the SpringSEAL Regulator and the SpringLOCK® which reduces the balance spring’s shock impact by 66%.

Other patented technologies from Ball include a helium escape valve system that allows for more efficient and reliable usage of watches underwater. Many Ball watches also have a crown protection system that can only be found in Ball’s catalog. Even the folding buckle of their stainless steel bracelets is patented! Other iconic technologies from this brand include TMT, or Temperature Measurement and Cold Temperature Endurance, a feature which allows Ball watches to function just as effectively even in extremely cold environments.

Up Close with the Ball Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph Watch

The Ball Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph is, perhaps, one of the most impressive watches ever released by the brand. This is a limited-edition watch that comes in six variations, with each variant only having 1,000 pieces available. This chronograph watch has a bi-compax dial, with the subdials located at the 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions respectively.

All of the models come in 41mm titanium cases. The bezel of the Roadmaster Rescue Chronograph rotates unidirectionally, and is made from stainless steel with a ceramic and gas tube insert. It also comes with the Amortiser® patented anti-shock system for greater durability. With this feature, it has 5,000Gs of shock resistance and an anti-magnetism rating of 4,800A/m. It can also withstand depths of up to 100 meters, or 330 feet.

This powerful tool watch is powered by the automatic caliber BALL RR1402. This movement also comes with special cold temperature resistance oil to ensure accurate timekeeping even in temperatures as cold as -45°C / -49°F. Moreover, the chronograph of this watch can measure an accumulated 12 hours. It also has a pulse meter graduated for 15 pulsations.

Ball Watches and its Patrons

As a luxury watch brand, Ball has had some very prominent patrons. Among these, Denzel Washington definitely stands out. He wore a Ball timepiece in the 2009 film The Taking of Pelham 123. KISS drummer Eric Singer also wore a Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Airborne watch during their concert in Tokyo. Other prominent names who have worn Ball watches include Star Trek star William Shatner and renowned actor Kurt Russell.

From the Railroads to the World

Ball watches may have started out planting their roots on the American railroads but they have definitely found their way into the hearts of many collectors all over the world. The company has been serving up incredible timepieces that are hard to resist. With a combination of unique aesthetics and top-notch technology, there seems to be nothing that can stop Ball. With such an innovative spirit, it is definitely not surprising for the brand to continue introducing groundbreaking technologies to their watches in the future.

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