Info on Ball

Thread: Info on Ball

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  1. #1
    Member scottw44's Avatar
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    Info on Ball

    Can anyone direct me to some links for some background info on Ball. I am familiar with the past somewhat and the history of train regulation and timezones and would like to learn more. And I am also curious as to the link to the present Ball.

    thanx.
    kind regards,

    scott

    vintage and obscure watch lover

  2. #2
    Member CalDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Info on Ball

    Scott---first thing I would do is google "US railroad history" or something like that and spend some time digging into various web sites. Ball's website is not going to give you the insight you are looking for, so best to do broad search. I'm sure there is plenty of info out there, you just need to go search it out. Maybe one of the others knows a good place for you to start looking?? If you find anything worth telling us about, please let us all know! Happy hunting!
    Chris

    "I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best." -Oscar Wilde
    ==========================
    Collector of Ball, Stowa and Glycine timepieces

  3. #3
    Member scottw44's Avatar
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    Re: Info on Ball

    Quote Originally Posted by CalDiver View Post
    Scott---first thing I would do is google "US railroad history" or something like that and spend some time digging into various web sites. Ball's website is not going to give you the insight you are looking for, so best to do broad search. I'm sure there is plenty of info out there, you just need to go search it out. Maybe one of the others knows a good place for you to start looking?? If you find anything worth telling us about, please let us all know! Happy hunting!

    thanx. WHat is the link to the current Ball. Was it a dead brand whose name was brought and reestablished? Continously owned? What link exisits to today's Ball and our great-grandparents Balls.

    thanx again.
    kind regards,

    scott

    vintage and obscure watch lover

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  5. #4

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    Re: Info on Ball

    You can find the links to Ball Watch USA and Ball Watch Switzerland at the top of this forum. If you want to find out the detailed history, I would try and get to a Ball Watch Museum Tour that explains all of the Ball Watch history from Webb C. Ball's first shop in Cleveland to their current lineup and how they got there.

    The Ball Museum tour stops can be found at the Ball USA website.

  6. #5
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    Re: Info on Ball

    Here you go:

    Webb C. Ball grew up making jewelry for his parents. As a Child, he made baubles out of clamshells for everyone! His nickname was "clamshell Ball or "clam Ball".

    He tinkered with farm equipment as a child and was mechanically inclined. So. he decided to apprentice to a local jeweler in central Ohio. He opened up a small shop in the back of a boot and shoe store in Mt. Gilead Ohio and soon he partnered a store in Cleveland with a fellow named Whitcomb. He ans Whitcomb had a watch made, private lable call the Whitcomb and Ball. The store was a hit with railroad men from the very beginning.

    Soon he was making private label watches from Hampden, Aurora and many others. After a spell doing this he started his own watch company. He sold watches under the name RAILROAD WATCH COMPANY, BALL & CO, WEbb C. Ball Company.

    His son Sidney Y. Ball took over in the teens and long before Webb passed away in the 1920's Sidney was in full control.

    Sidneys son Webb C. BAll II took over and ran the company clear into the 1960's when HIS son (Webb's Great Grandson) George took over.

    George ran the company into the 1980's selling a few watches per year and attending to the other Ball Companies. There were several Companies with name BALL attached and some were doing little no business. He owned the name clear into the 90's and had no intention of letting it go.

    I interviewed George on several occasions and he has stated that when he heard the name had been bought, he was shocked. He said that the paperwork that came every ten years or so must have gotten "lossed in the shufle" and he was quite distressed about it even though he was doing little with it but selling the occasional Ball Wrist watch of old stock.

    The good thing, is that the new keepers of the name, were not going to go the way of Gruen, Waltham, Elgin and others. Those names had been sold to people who make 20 to 50 dollar quartz watches to the shagrin of American collectors. This group of international investors, led by Francisco Harrera and El Salvadorian who studied at Berkely in the early 60's and worked at a major USA banking firm for his entire career, were Railroad watch buffs and train buffs. They understood the importance of Webb C. Ball and vowed to continue the Ball theme of "Accuracy under adverse condtions".

    When I heard that new watches were being made by Ball, I decided to figure out a way of getting involved. (I have told this story before). Once involved, I sought out George Ball to ask his blessing. He was tepid to the idea at first but once he saw the watches he was truly stunned and not only gave his blessing but he and talk several times per year.

    So as you can see, there an "almost" uninterrupted history from 1865 until now. With the exception of the 8 to 12 year period when George was not making any more watches.

    Jeff

    Questions?
    Last edited by jhess; October 20th, 2007 at 23:19. Reason: spelling errors

  7. #6
    Member CalDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Info on Ball

    Cool! I learned something interesting today! Thank you Jeff!
    Chris

    "I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best." -Oscar Wilde
    ==========================
    Collector of Ball, Stowa and Glycine timepieces

  8. #7
    Member scottw44's Avatar
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    Re: Info on Ball

    thank you very much for the info!
    kind regards,

    scott

    vintage and obscure watch lover

  9. #8
    Member BF_Hammer's Avatar
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    Re: Info on Ball

    Wow! Great story and I for one am happy you shared it with us. I too had wondered about the connection of the original Ball Watch Co to the current one. I am happy that it was not simply a matter of a big watch company buying up some brand name for instant consumer recognition in the US market.

    I wear my Hydrocarbon Titanium with even more pride now.

  10. #9
    Member scottw44's Avatar
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    Re: Info on Ball

    Hey All:

    There is a Ball Museum Tour in my area on December 6. I will be there
    kind regards,

    scott

    vintage and obscure watch lover

  11. #10
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    Re: Info on Ball

    There is a pretty big museum tour this tuesday and wednesday in the DC area (Virginia actually) Vera's Jewelry. I am going to go up for that one. hope to see some of you folks there.

    Jeff

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