Ball Watches and Their Hour and Minute Hand Tubes
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  1. #1
    Member mitch57's Avatar
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    Ball Watches and Their Hour and Minute Hand Tubes

    Why is it that Ball insists on making many of their watches with the hour and minute hand tubes almost the same length? This makes it very difficult to determine which hand is which when viewing the watch in pitch darkness.

    Most other brands that use Super-LumiNova make the lume on the hour hand about 1/3 to 1/2 the length of the minute hand. Ball watches in the Engineer line seem to have the most watches with this issue. There's been many a Ball watch that I've passed on due to this trend.

    Is there some obscure hidden reason why they do this?

  2. #2
    Member kennylorenzo's Avatar
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    I agree. I think they also need to focus more on the tubes for the hands and hour markers. Too many of their models go overboard on the minute markers. I love lume but I want to be able to read the time at a glance.

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    Ditto on the sentiments... The latest starlight's seem to address the hour minute hand issue but then spoil everything with so many tubes its blinding!!!

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    LL Bean gets it right

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    Re: Ball Watches and Their Hour and Minute Hand Tubes

    Engineer III King works for me.

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  7. #6
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Watches and Their Hour and Minute Hand Tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by mitch57 View Post
    Why is it that Ball insists on making many of their watches with the hour and minute hand tubes almost the same length? This makes it very difficult to determine which hand is which when viewing the watch in pitch darkness....Ball watches in the Engineer line seem to have the most watches with this issue. There's been many a Ball watch that I've passed on due to this trend. Is there some obscure hidden reason why they do this?
    Of course it is really up to you whether you buy a Ball or not, and while I do have some design issues with Ball (for example their consistent usage of white date wheels regardless of dial color, with few exceptions) tritium tube length and telling time in the darkness is certainly not one of them, and not an issue for most owners. I have owned a large number of Ball watches, and I haven't found a single one that I couldn't easily distinguish between the hour and the minute--in daylight or at night. My one issue with tritium and hands is that on the big "fireworks" watches, like the Night Train II and III, the hours and minutes tubes stand out, but the hands themselves don't jump out as much simply because they are restricted to a single slender tube on each hand (due to size and weight limitations), which sometimes don't shine as bright, especially on some of the older watches. No issues whatsoever, however, regarding being able to distinguish between the hour and the minute hands. A small sample of some of the Ball watches that I have owned, below.
    Attached Images Attached Images

























    Last edited by timefleas; March 14th, 2019 at 17:02.
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    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Watches and Their Hour and Minute Hand Tubes

    Very impressive.

    The second one from the top is gorgeous.
    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
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  9. #8
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Watches and Their Hour and Minute Hand Tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    ...The second one from the top is gorgeous.
    That's the original version of the "60 Seconds"--38mm case, with only the date window (also came in a beautiful cream/parchment/champagne dial version)--the newer version has a bigger case, day and date, and a more cluttered dial.
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  10. #9
    Member mitch57's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Watches and Their Hour and Minute Hand Tubes

    timefleas,

    I own 3 Ball watches.

    Your saying that at a quick glance, in the middle of the night, that you can read the 7th watch down in your pictures without actually being able to see the dial underneath the hands? Your picture still shows the dial under the hands. I can't see the dial on any of my Ball watches in the middle of the night.

    Plus, I can, just barely, tell the difference in the length of the tubes. But certainly not at a quick glance.

  11. #10
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Ball Watches and Their Hour and Minute Hand Tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by mitch57 View Post
    timefleas,

    I own 3 Ball watches.

    Your saying that at a quick glance, in the middle of the night, that you can read the 7th watch down in your pictures without actually being able to see the dial underneath the hands? Your picture still shows the dial under the hands. I can't see the dial on any of my Ball watches in the middle of the night.

    Plus, I can, just barely, tell the difference in the length of the tubes. But certainly not at a quick glance.
    My basic point was to counter your rather broad claim that suggested Ball designers either by purpose or by fault routinely made watches with hour and minutes hands of relatively similar, and thus, indistinguishable lengths. I posted every lume shot I had on hand, leaving none out, in order to suggest that your blanket characterization was not supported by at least many of the watches in the Ball line up. Simply suggesting a possible issue with one out of the 13 images posted, as somewhat difficult for you to read, at a glance, as support for your position (where you suggest that Ball did what you suggest as the rule, rather than the exception), to me, seems rather weak support for your original characterization--no?

    That one occurrence out of thirteen (8%) in itself is pretty weak support, but, in answer to your question--actually, yes, I am saying that even the watch in the not so great pict 7 is not all that diffcult to distinguish at a glace--and this added to the fact that I usually need glasses to read, but this is done without glasses (as in waking up in the middle of the night)--and, just for sake of clarity of my argument, the 6th and 7th pictures are of the same watch, where the 6th is clearly easy to distinguish and does NOT suffer from a "similar size" tritium tube issue, and thus, simply depends, I suppose, from your point of view--or perhaps just how "quick" that glance is--mine is long enough to be able to tell the time, without much confusion. But, to each his own, buy 'em if you like 'em, don't if you don't.
    Last edited by timefleas; March 15th, 2019 at 04:47.
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