Ball Watches: a question

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  1. #1
    Member Schirra's Avatar
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    Ball Watches: a question

    Hello, I'm interested to know more about Ball watch Company.
    Recently I've seen that in many Japanese magazine there's a lot of articles and recension about this company, that's is almost unknown and not considered as serious brand there in Italy.
    I've try to put some question in some italian forum, but people laugh about this company, they say this is a company that just make copy of the other big brand...and not reliable.
    But I must say that I'm very interested to buy one of this watch, especially the engineer hydrocarbon series: I love it.

    What I would ask is, do you have any knowledge about this company? I have try to contact them in USA website, but they don't reply to me about my question where to buy in Italy.

    Do you know a secure site where is possible to buy online?

    Thanks a lot for your help.
    Salva
    Salva

  2. #2
    Member craniotes's Avatar
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    Thumbs Up Terrifc Brand, Terrific Watches...

    I'm not sure what it is exactly you'd like to know, but I can tell you from experience that they build incredibly solid watches for exceptionally reasonable prices. I own a Hydrocarbon GMT, which compares quite favorably with my Rolex, Omegas and Kobold. For the money, it's hard for me to imagine a better deal out there. It keeps excellent time, it looks quite attractive and substantial on my wrist, it's shock-proof, water-proof and anti-magnetic, and thanks to its tritium gastubes, it's nighttime visibility is incredible. It also has one of the best bracelets that I have every had the privilige of wearing. What's not to love?

    I'm not sure why your Italian friends are disparaging Ball, seeing as how their beloved Officine Panerai is about as true to its heritage as Ball is to theirs. Both are old names which have since been bought by new investors. In OP's case, I will give credit where credit is due, however - with their new OPIII movements, they're finally becoming a true "manufacture" house. Even so, most of the Panny's on the market today are running modified ETAs, just like everyone else (including Ball). Mind you, this is not to say that there is anything wrong with Panerai either. Personally, I love the brand, and look forward to adding one to my collection.

    As far as where to purchase in Italy, I have no idea. I live in New York City, and I know of at least two authorized dealers, so finding them isn't much of a problem here. I'm surprised that Ball isn't more helpful on their website. I do know that their watches can be found quite easily online, and at incredible discounts, but I cannot attest to the reliability of any of these sites. All I can say is good luck with your quest. Should you finally acquire a Hydrocarbon, I guarantee that you won't be disappointed. They are truly unique, exceptional timepieces.



    Regards,
    Adam
    DW-002BM-8, DW-003R-9T, DW-5600BB-1ER, DW-5600GLRZ2, DW-5600GRLZM, DW-5700BE, DW-5700SF2, DW-6900-7BUFF, DW-6900MT-7ER, DW-6900CL-4CR, DW-6900KR-8JR, DW-6900FS, DW-6901UD-3ER, DW-8800AB-9T, DW-9100BJ-2A, G-001BE, GA-110DR-1A, GA-111DR-7A, GA-120BB, GD-X6900AL-2, GD-X6900-7TY2, GD-X6900JC, GD-X6900MNM, GD-X6900MH, GDF-100BB, GLX-150-4DR, GMW-B5000D-1, GMW-B5000TFG-9, GPR-B1000TLC-1JR, GPW-2000, GST-B100D-1A, GST-200RBG, GT-100, GW-5000-1JF, GW-5530C, GW-9400-1ER, GW-9400-3ER, GW-9430EJ-9JR, GW-9400KJ, GW-9401KJ, GWG-1000, GWM-5600TH-1, GWN-Q1000, GXW-56-3JF, GXW-56-4JF, GXW-56BB-1JF

  3. #3
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    Re: Ball Watches: a question

    Quote Originally Posted by Schirra
    Hello, I'm interested to know more about Ball watch Company.
    Recently I've seen that in many Japanese magazine there's a lot of articles and recension about this company, that's is almost unknown and not considered as serious brand there in Italy.
    That would be because they're not Italian ;)
    I've try to put some question in some italian forum, but people laugh about this company, they say this is a company that just make copy of the other big brand...and not reliable.
    It sounds like ignorance more than snobbishness. As you can read on their website, Ball Watch Co. started out commissioning Swiss timepieces for use on the American railroad system in the 1890s, taking accurate movements and re-casing them with their own dial design (or something along those lines). The original company died out years ago but has re-surfaced as a US-originated company making swiss watches with ETA movements and custom cases. Much as Panerai is an Italian-originated company making swiss watches with ETA movements and custom cases, in fact!

    You could argue that a few of their products mimic the odd Omega or Seiko, etc (a 43mm Fireman with orange numbers on a black strap is very similar to a Planet Ocean, for example.) But many of their designs are original, and the product quality, based on the ones I've handled, looks very good indeed for the money although the bracelets are a little "loose" for me. But the use of gas tube luminance is, I think, unique, and lends many dial combinations a thoroughly bespoke look.
    What I would ask is, do you have any knowledge about this company? I have try to contact them in USA website, but they don't reply to me about my question where to buy in Italy.
    Ball Watch Co. recently started selling in the UK. David Morris watches sells them - the concession at Selfridges on Oxford St, which is quite a well-known store - and they are available on the internet (caveat emptor with regard to buying watches on the internet, though). But given the history and relative lack of brand recognition I don't expect much penetration into the European markets.

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  5. #4
    Member craniotes's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Watches: a question

    Ah, on something which we can agree, Publandlord! Well, that and your UK origins (both my mother and myself are rabid Anglophiles ). I agree that Ball will probably never attain the same level or market penetration or cachet as some of the more established brands out there, but still, for the money they offer a lot of bang for the buck. I bought my Hydrocarbon as a "beater," and found that it measured up to watches in my collection costing more than twice as much. Even so, I must confess that some of their more "creative" gas-tube dials are an acquired taste.

    Regards,
    Adam
    DW-002BM-8, DW-003R-9T, DW-5600BB-1ER, DW-5600GLRZ2, DW-5600GRLZM, DW-5700BE, DW-5700SF2, DW-6900-7BUFF, DW-6900MT-7ER, DW-6900CL-4CR, DW-6900KR-8JR, DW-6900FS, DW-6901UD-3ER, DW-8800AB-9T, DW-9100BJ-2A, G-001BE, GA-110DR-1A, GA-111DR-7A, GA-120BB, GD-X6900AL-2, GD-X6900-7TY2, GD-X6900JC, GD-X6900MNM, GD-X6900MH, GDF-100BB, GLX-150-4DR, GMW-B5000D-1, GMW-B5000TFG-9, GPR-B1000TLC-1JR, GPW-2000, GST-B100D-1A, GST-200RBG, GT-100, GW-5000-1JF, GW-5530C, GW-9400-1ER, GW-9400-3ER, GW-9430EJ-9JR, GW-9400KJ, GW-9401KJ, GWG-1000, GWM-5600TH-1, GWN-Q1000, GXW-56-3JF, GXW-56-4JF, GXW-56BB-1JF

  6. #5
    Member Schirra's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Watches: a question

    Dear friends,

    First of all, thanks for the details about Ball. I love this brand and I really want to have one. The japanese magazine publish interesting trials of that Hydrocarbon Temperature model, unfortunately the text is in Japanese language:-S

    I agree with you about a lot of ignorance in some Italian Forum, they just have a god and the name is: Rolex!
    Recently I was banned from a well known italian forum cause I have start a discussion with the moderator that really assume that Omega's have invented the story of the Moonwatch for ad's purpose!!!! He truly think that the only watch to discuss was the Rolex GMT of Swigert... that's incredible!!!

    I'me very happy that Selfridges have now in stock the Ball watch, I go often in London as my work as designer request a full immersion in this fantastic source of creative that is London town, and Selfridges is like a "light house" for me.
    Do you know the range of the Engineer Hydrocarbon range in England?

    Least, I truly hope to add to my collection a watch like the Hydrocarbon and also I hope that in future, here in europe, Ball can put some roots in the market, I think is better tan OP, that in Italy, now have a little descenting market situation.

    Thank again and sorry for my bad english:thanks
    Salva
    Salva

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    Re: Ball Watches: a question

    Quote Originally Posted by craniotes
    Ah, on something which we can agree, Publandlord!
    Glad to hear it
    Well, that and your UK origins (both my mother and myself are rabid Anglophiles ).
    I suppose I am by default (Guernsey origins != England origins although it's close enough in several respects).
    I agree that Ball will probably never attain the same level or market penetration or cachet as some of the more established brands out there, but still, for the money they offer a lot of bang for the buck.
    Like Panerai, I find the brand quirky and interesting, with more "colour" than an all-Swiss brand, perhaps.

    For the OP, they seem well-priced in the UK, and for continental Europeans such as the OP, the likes of Selfridges (and Harvey Nicks, where David Morris also has a concession) will also price in Euros if you fancy a bit of currency speculation.
    Last edited by publandlord; August 26th, 2006 at 15:05.

  8. #7
    Member john wilson's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Watches: a question

    WEBB C. BALL
    In 1996, Cleveland, Ohio, celebrated the bicentennial of the founding of the city on the lake. During this celebration, many individuals were remembered and recognized as Cleveland's favorite sons, and their accomplishments were reviewed. One Clevelander honored, whose accomplishments reached international acclaim, not only for his civic contributions, but also for his place in horology, was Webster Clay Ball.

    Webb C. Ball was born in Fredericktown, Ohio on October 6, 1847. When Standard Time was adopted in 1883, he was the first jeweler to use time signals, bringing accurate time to Cleveland. On July 19, 1891, the General Superintendent of Lake Shore Lines appointed Webb C. Ball as Chief Inspector for the lines. His early inspection system was the beginning of the vast Ball network that would encompass 75% of the railroads throughout the country and cover at least 175,000 miles of railroad. Webb C. Ball also extended his system into Mexico and Canada.

    The Kipton Disaster
    On April 19, 1891 the Fast Mail train known as No. 4 was coming west on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad in Kipton, Ohio. At Elyria, 25 miles from Cleveland, the Engineer and the Conductor of the Accomodation were given orders to let the fast mail train pass them at Kipton, a small station west of Oberlin, the University town.

    As the Conductor of Accomodation admitted afterward, from the time the train left Elyria until it collided with the Fast Mail at Kipton, he did not take his watch out of his pocket. He said that he supposed the Engineer would look out for Fast Mail No. 4. But the Engineer's watch stopped for four minutes and then began running again, a little matter of life and death of which he was unconscious. There were several stations between Elyria and Kipton, but the Engineer pounded slowly along in the belief that he had time to spare.

    Leaving Oberlin, the Engineer supposed he had seven minutes before reaching the meeting point. Of course he only had three minutes. Had the Conductor looked at his own watch he could have prevented the accident. The trains came together at Kipton, the Fast Mail at full speed and the Accomodation under brakes, because it was nearing the station. The Engineers of both trains were killed, and the dead bodies of nine clerks were taken from the kindling wood and broken iron of the postal cars.

    This accident prompted the Lake Shore officials to enlist Webb C. Ball to investigate Time and Watch conditions throughout the Lake Shore Line and develop an inspection system for their implementation.

    Webb C. Ball set about immediately and put in place fortnightly checks on the watches worn by all railroad workers. The checks were carried out by approved watchmakers. Ball set strict standards, forbidding variations more than 30 seconds among the watches.
    It is important to recognize and applaud Webb C. Ball, for his system was the first successful one to be accepted on a broad scale. It was his system that set the standard for railroads; it was his system that helped establish accuracy and uniformity in timekeeping. It was his system that resulted in railroad time and railroad watches being recognized as STANDARD, whenever accuracy in time was required. In general, it became accepted that when the average person asks a railroad man the time, he is assured a correct answer.

    Today, BALL Watch is one of the most respected and established watch brands in the United States. We continue to update the product range in the 21st century to keep pace with shifting consumer patterns. But, despite changes in appearance, the founding spirit of the brand - industrial function - is never compromised.

    It is upheld in Ball's original details, such as the watch dial that faithfully follows his design guidelines for the standard railway watch. Every detail, from the shape of the hands to the style of the numerals, was laid down by the founder in his quest for accuracy in timekeeping.

    It is a vision that the Ball family remains faithful to. For legions of men and women today whose split-second decisions keep the world ticking, it is a shared commitment.

    From the Ball Watch site. John Wilson.

  9. #8
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    Re: Ball Watches: a question

    hi schirra,

    I can't answer about finding an AD in your part of the world but I can say that I really like the Ball Fireman that I got. Great Lume, saphire glass, screw down crown, nice bracelet. It's a great watch, people can say all they want (or nothing) about Ball but Its well made and it's really about making a choice.

    tony

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