There's something really cool about the Ball watches that are directly associated with a person, place, or thing. Granted, not every collaboration appeals to everyone — I'm more partial to Alex Honnold and Guillaume Nery — but that's not the point. Every watch is a celebration of man's pioneering spirit, and however esoteric, they are commemorating remarkable achievements all the same. I can't say I'm much of a train buff, but my recent acquisition of the Big Boy changed that. Furthermore, the commemoration I've been wearing around on my wrist recently came to life when Ball posted on their Facebook page about how the Big Boy is headed to Wyoming to Union Pacific's steam shop for a conversion that'll burn oil instead of coal and get the massive engine running under its own power again.
Coincidentally, my buddy in Utah happens to be a pretty serious train buff (and a super-talented photographer), and just a few days ago camped out along the tracks outside of Spanish Fork Canyon to snap a few photos of this massive wall of iron and steel getting towed through:
...and then another with his girlfriend next to the 4014's massive wheels:
...he also caught it in Nebraska back in 2012 when I believe the train was running under its own power:
Back in California, I have a new appreciation for my Big Boy, where I've equipped it with a distressed stitched leather strap from Crown & Buckle — fits really nicely, and is a lot more pliable than the stock leather that comes on the watch. Of course it goes without saying that the lume is spectacular, and the wrist presence at night is on a whole different level. Many thanks again to Rob at Topper, to the Ball-a-Thon, and to the fine folks at Ball Watch for doing their part to bring these unique stories to light, and more indirectly — to life.