Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches
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Thread: Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

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  1. #1
    Member Leon O's Avatar
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    Question Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

    First, I'll be honest I can't currently afford $1,000 plus on a watch from an AD.

    Fortunately, the simple 3 hand styles I prefer are among the least expensive offerings Ball offers. The specific model I’m considering now is the Fireman Racer Classic. I also find the Glory to be attractive. Some of the models I like are significantly discounted (60%+), on Jomashop etc. But, pre-owned can also be attractively priced on the Auction site and on the sales sections of forums.

    A couple of the cheaper watches I recently received had issues, one had Sellita movement exchanged, the other was cheap enough that I haven’t had the Miyota 8215 replaced yet (power reserve averages about 15-16 hours). So, I’m a bit concern about getting a watch that doesn’t work as expected.
    I’m assuming my local watch maker can service a basic 3 hand movement of a Ball watch for much less than sending it back. From my understand watches should not go back to the GM dealers for their own “warranty” service.

    If those assumptions are correct, am I better off getting the exact model I want from GM or find a similar model that may be even less expensive as a pre-owned watch from an auction or forum?

    I’ve done quite a few searches, but I’m looking to validate my findings from the folks who understand the reliability of Ball watches.


    Thanks!!!
    Leon

  2. #2
    Member PetrosD's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

    I have three Ball watches. Two have had no problem, the third developed a problem shortly after receipt (it had been pre-ordered directly from Ball). Sending a watch back to Ball for warranty repair will take a good 12 weeks to get back. It was even a bit easier for me because I have a local Ball AD and they sent it back for me, although I had to pay $50 for shipping and insurance since I didn't buy it through them.

    The actual problem with that watch was that after about a month ownership I went to set the time and when I pulled out the crown it completely pulled out of the watch. Perhaps a local watchmaker might have actually been able to fix that for little more than I paid to have it shipped.

    Otherwise, they have been rock solid.
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  3. #3
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

    I have owned more than 70 Ball watches (a charter member of a small old-timer's club here, with Samanator, Roberev and maybe a couple of others)--I have never bought a brand new one from an AD (although I did win one, and did get a few "NOS"), and have only very rarely bought new from a graymarket dealer. Almost all of the watches had zero problems, and of the very small handful that did (one needed a basic servicing after 12 years of use, one needed the crown re-attached (probably the simplest repair there is, taking 5 minutes and $10 bucks--definitely NOT a return-to-maker issue), and one needed some tritium tubes replaced because of breakage through a former owners bad service work)--in all, three minor issues (only one of which could be considered an issue related to manufacturing/construction) out of more than 70 Ball watches--pretty good odds, and all easily repaired locally. So, if you can find the watch (used) that you are looking for from a reputable, trusted seller at a good price, by all means that is the way to go.

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  5. #4
    Member Leon O's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by timefleas View Post
    I have owned more than 70 Ball watches (a charter member of a small old-timer's club here, with Samanator, Roberev and maybe a couple of others)--I have never bought a brand new one from an AD (although I did win one, and did get a few "NOS"), and have only very rarely bought new from a graymarket dealer. Almost all of the watches had zero problems, and of the very small handful that did (one needed a basic servicing after 12 years of use, one needed the crown re-attached (probably the simplest repair there is, taking 5 minutes and $10 bucks--definitely NOT a return-to-maker issue), and one needed some tritium tubes replaced because of breakage through a former owners bad service work)--in all, three minor issues (only one of which could be considered an issue related to manufacturing/construction) out of more than 70 Ball watches--pretty good odds, and all easily repaired locally. So, if you can find the watch (used) that you are looking for from a reputable, trusted seller at a good price, by all means that is the way to go.
    Great to hear. Thanks for sharing.

  6. #5
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    Re: Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

    I would consider both gray market and private sales. The best place to buy a watch, IMO, is F29: https://forums.watchuseek.com/f29/

    I've also had good luck with Jomashop and Ashford. I would be careful on eBay because there are fake Ball watches out there.

  7. #6
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce R View Post
    I would consider both gray market and private sales. The best place to buy a watch, IMO, is F29: https://forums.watchuseek.com/f29/

    I've also had good luck with Jomashop and Ashford. I would be careful on eBay because there are fake Ball watches out there.
    While there are fake Ball watches, very very few are on the bay--since most if not all come from China and Hong Kong, and very few get much further--of the more than 70 used Ball watches that I have bought over the last ten years, 90% were purchased on the bay, and not a single one had an issue--no fakes, no problems--repeating the WUS mantra--"buy the seller" (buy from someone who is trustworthy, someone who has great feedback), on whatever site you use.
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  8. #7
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

    Built like tanks, but easy to service and repair.

    Buy the seller first.
    "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

  9. #8
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    Re: Grey Market or Pre-Owned for Ball Watches

    I have two balls a Magneto and a Trainmaster Legend.

    The legend is definitely one of the cheaper Ball watches out there (similar to 3 hander racer you are referring to). Simple ETA2824 so pretty much any competent watchmaker can service it. The watches are well constructed and I would have no qualms to buy used (if its been looked after). I bought mine greymarket from Joma without any issues and they have been going strong for about 3 years now.

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