First Ball RR Standard pocket watch
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  1. #1
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    First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    I have always had a strong interest in things with a historic background, especially vintages watches.
    One day I came across a vintage Ball pocket watch for bidding on ebay. Upon checking the photos provided by the seller, I found it to be a 1906 Ball-Elgin RR standard 17J pocket watch with a 14k goldfield flower engraving case. I immediately fell in love with it and so I just went for it.
    Here are some specs I found on pocketwatchdatabase.com:
    --Adjusted: 5 positions
    --Roller: Double Roller
    --Jewels: 17J
    --Size: 18 s
    --Grade: 333
    --Plate: Full Plate
    --Standard: Official RailRoad standard

    I have a timegrapher at home (I'm not a watchmaker, just a crazy fan lol) so I just ran it and it seems the previous owner ( I asked the seller and he told me this watch belonged to his friends' grandfather who used to work for the railroad service ) did not do a service any recently. The accuracy is somewhere around -5s/d but the amplitude of around 240 degree is really off (normally should be around 300 degree right ?).
    To be honest, I was really amazed by the condition of this pocket watch. It's been over 100 years and now it looks just like new (apart from scratches at the back).

    Here are some pictures I took:








    Also, I have a few questions:
    --Seller told me it's a grade 333 , rare high grade movement. What exactly does high grade mean ? And why it is rare ?
    --Do you think this watch needs to be serviced immediately, considering the amplitude is really off ?
    John Price likes this.

  2. #2
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    Re: First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    At one point I tried to wear my Father's/Grand Father's pocket watch on a strap. I thought that since I owned I should try to use it. I was surprised how little power reserve it hand. Certainly not even 24 hours. I'm curious about the power reserve in the Ball? As far as service I'd hope you'd choose someone who knows them well. I guess it depends on what you're going to do with it. If using it than service; if displaying then not. Very nice watch!!!

  3. #3
    Member PetrosD's Avatar
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    Re: First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    Wow, that is a beauty and an excellent find. Congratulations.

    If you decide to have it serviced, check out RGM Watch Company in Mount Joy, PA. They are experienced in servicing vintage watches. They are also associated with the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, PA.

    https://www.rgmwatches.com/repair

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  5. #4
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    Beautiful watch--I have five or six pocket watches, including at least one Ball. Do NOT get it serviced--it is running well within specs at -5/day--that is accuracy to die for in a 100 year old watch--timegraphers are sometimes a curse--they tell you of "problems" that don't exist. Based on the condition shown in the pictures, it does in fact look like its been carefully watched over, and with accuracy like that, I am sure it has been serviced as well. Enjoy it as it is, and if at some point the accuracy changes drastically--THEN get it serviced--timegrapher notwithstanding.

  6. #5
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    Beautiful watch.

    Hope you enjoy it.
    "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: First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by hogwldfltr View Post
    At one point I tried to wear my Father's/Grand Father's pocket watch on a strap. I thought that since I owned I should try to use it. I was surprised how little power reserve it hand. Certainly not even 24 hours. I'm curious about the power reserve in the Ball? As far as service I'd hope you'd choose someone who knows them well. I guess it depends on what you're going to do with it. If using it than service; if displaying then not. Very nice watch!!!
    Thank you! I feel like mine lasts somewhere around 24 hours since I wind it every morning I woke up.

  8. #7
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    Re: First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by PetrosD View Post
    Wow, that is a beauty and an excellent find. Congratulations.

    If you decide to have it serviced, check out RGM Watch Company in Mount Joy, PA. They are experienced in servicing vintage watches. They are also associated with the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, PA.

    https://www.rgmwatches.com/repair
    Thank you so much. I'll check this place and see what the pricing would be.

  9. #8
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    Re: First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by timefleas View Post
    Beautiful watch--I have five or six pocket watches, including at least one Ball. Do NOT get it serviced--it is running well within specs at -5/day--that is accuracy to die for in a 100 year old watch--timegraphers are sometimes a curse--they tell you of "problems" that don't exist. Based on the condition shown in the pictures, it does in fact look like its been carefully watched over, and with accuracy like that, I am sure it has been serviced as well. Enjoy it as it is, and if at some point the accuracy changes drastically--THEN get it serviced--timegrapher notwithstanding.
    Gotcha! I am very pleased with the accuracy specs. It's just the amplitude that's hunting me. Now after hearing your suggestion, I'm more released. Thanks!

  10. #9
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    Re: First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    Beautiful watch.

    Hope you enjoy it.
    Thank you so much !

  11. #10
    Member Dogbert_is_fat's Avatar
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    First Ball RR Standard pocket watch

    Quote Originally Posted by jiaorichard30 View Post
    found it to be a 1906 Ball-Elgin RR standard 17J pocket watch with a 14k goldfield flower engraving case. I immediately fell in love with it and so I just went for it...
    ::
    he told me this watch belonged to his friends' grandfather who used to work for the railroad service...
    ::
    To be honest, I was really amazed by the condition of this pocket watch. It's been over 100 years and now it looks just like new (apart from scratches at the back).


    Congratulations @jiaorichard! You know, when you first posted a thread called “Ball Watch SA factory picture”, I was wondering where this thread is heading. But wow! You come in here and impress us with a gem of a pocket watch. Gone were the days Ball Watch made such beautiful time pieces.

    I know nothing about vintage pocket watches but I know a beautiful watch when I see one. It has a timeless design and exudes some old world charm. Good buy and a nice piece

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