Finding Production Date Before Purchasing A Watch
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Thread: Finding Production Date Before Purchasing A Watch

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  1. #1
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    Finding Production Date Before Purchasing A Watch

    I’m trying to do something that I thought wouldn’t be much of a problem. I’m trying to find out the production years for a particular watch. I tried every way I know how including every type of internet search syntax and phrasing I’m capable of mustering and yet I can not find the answer.

    Sometimes when you purchase a watch you find out that the watch was manufactured years earlier even though technically the watch is brand new.

    So, I’m trying to find out what years the “BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon Airborne Chronometer” started and ended production. Even though the watch is great looking and it has a warranty I’d still like to know what year it started production and what year it ended production. I don’t think I’m being picky here and some people may have encountered the same problem. If I had the watch in my hand and could read the serial and model number this wouldn’t be a problem.

    After some looking around on the internet the common consensus is that the production year started in 2013 but I’ve been unable to figure out the ending date. I even looked at the Ball Watch website to no avail. I could make some phone calls and I may have to. I will ask the seller for this information if it’s available but I’d still like to know for the future. It does affect the value of the watch.

    Does anyone know of a way, or website, where I could find out production run dates of contemporary or relatively new watches. Because when you’re looking at watches it would be real nice to know how old the “NEW” watch your looking at really is.

    Maybe I’m missing something here or maybe I’m just a knucklehead.

    Thanks in advance, jefred AKA Dennis


  2. #2
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    I am interested in this topic as well. While I am not certain, some watch models, like the trainmaster cannonball, seems to have gone through periodic “in-line” changes over the years, such as the addition of Spring Lock, and possibly other features. Also, there is the possibility of different movements being utilized over a longer production run. Watching this thread with interest, thanks

  3. #3
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Finding Production Date Before Purchasing A Watch

    There is no data bank of the type you are looking for, simply random documentation here and there, but honestly, you already have enough to make a decision--assume that your watch is as old as the original production start date, 2013, and decide whether that is good enough for you or not. Many dials of entire production runs are made at one time, in one batch, so if you are thinking about the age of the tritium tubes, best to assume the "worst", and be pleasantly surprised if it is of a later issue date (which you will never actually know). The serial numbers are NOT coded with information that will help you date the actual production date of the watch--the case backs too could have been all produced in one batch, and simply assembled later as need dictated. I have three Ball watches with tritium tubes, all much older than the one you are considering--and all are still great in the dark, even my 15 year old first generation Ball Fireman.
    Nokie and vmgotit like this.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Finding Production Date Before Purchasing A Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by timefleas View Post
    There is no data bank of the type you are looking for, simply random documentation here and there, but honestly, you already have enough to make a decision--assume that your watch is as old as the original production start date, 2013, and decide whether that is good enough for you or not. Many dials of entire production runs are made at one time, in one batch, so if you are thinking about the age of the tritium tubes, best to assume the "worst", and be pleasantly surprised if it is of a later issue date (which you will never actually know). The serial numbers are NOT coded with information that will help you date the actual production date of the watch--the case backs too could have been all produced in one batch, and simply assembled later as need dictated. I have three Ball watches with tritium tubes, all much older than the one you are considering--and all are still great in the dark, even my 15 year old first generation Ball Fireman.
    Timefleas, thanks for the reply. I was just a little concerned about a watch that hasn't moved in, let's say seven years, may have some problems keeping time. I once bought a watch that was new but after buying it, I suspected was manufactured years before. About 8 years ago I bought a Junghans Max Bill hand-wound men's watch on ebay. I asked the seller in advance to check it for proper timing and he said he would but he clearly didn’t. When I got the watch it couldn’t keep time within minutes a day and needed servicing so I returned it. After that I always wondered….

    I’ve already decided to purchase this watch and I’m sure it will be fine. I just wondered if I was missing something here. In other words I was hoping to find an easy way around this and you assured me there wasn’t, so that is the answer. Thanks again, jefred.
    timefleas likes this.

  6. #5
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    Re: Finding Production Date Before Purchasing A Watch

    You should be good. They are great watches.

    Post a picture when you get it.

    Good luck.
    timefleas likes this.
    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
    Groucho Marx

    "The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once..."
    Albert Einstein

  7. #6
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    Re: Finding Production Date Before Purchasing A Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    You should be good. They are great watches.

    Post a picture when you get it.

    Good luck.
    Thanks Nokie, I'll be sure to post picture after I get the watch and new links.

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