Why are Ball watches so underrated?
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  1. #1
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    Why are Ball watches so underrated?

    So the question is in the title

    For quality and sheer bang for you buck I think they are really great; they also include some really interesting/cool complications yet nobody ever really talks about them or they are rarely featured in online reviews/news etc.

    I am biased though; owning 2x of their timepieces (legend and Magneto). For myself I like niche/interesting/offbeat watches which initially drew me to Ball; but owning them for a few years now I still cant understand why its only watch aficionados that really know about them.

    Probably down to publicity? Small company with a small budget for advertising? Maybe they are just too humble... Anyone have another opinion?
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  2. #2
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    Re: Why are Ball watches so underrated?

    I think you are correct. We now have four in the household. I have an Trainmaster Roman, roman numerals, probably the most elegant of any watch I own, an Engineer III Starlight, and a Fireman Glory. I also for Christmas got my wife what is simply listed as a Ladies Automatic, which is almost a perfect match to the larger Glory, the only difference being the position of the date window. We are not into the tactical, diver, or more complicated dials, preferring classic elegant looking watches. and these fit the bill nicely.

  3. #3
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    Re: Why are Ball watches so underrated?

    I think you’re right. The big marketing budget of Rolex and Omega makes it hard to not know about them. Watch the olympics, golf, or any racing sport and you’ll most likely see one of the big names advertising everywhere. You see Rolex advertising in airports, billboards on highways, and in malls across the US. I’ve never seen a Ball advertisement.

    But to be honest most people have never heard of most of the watch brands we equate to being of high quality. The average person probably has never heard of IWC or Zenith or much less Ball. If I asked my wife or a random stranger to name three watch brands they’d probably say Rolex, Michael Kors, and Casio.


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  5. #4
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    Re: Why are Ball watches so underrated?

    I like that they are under rated. You can get a high quality watch for a great price. You’re not paying huge prices just for a name, you actually get a fantastic watch.

    I’ve seen some of their advertisements in Watch magazines, but never in the mainstream.

    At the same time, Ball needs to do a better job of communicating with their customers and fans. If you go on Instagram they rarely respond to your comments or DMs, they don’t connect with us on this forum. Could you imagine how cool it would be if they did!!

    Anyways...those are my thoughts

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  6. #5
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    Thanks for the replies..!

    They are fantastic watches; having handled quite a few more well renowned "luxury" watches i.e TAG, Omega etc I have come to the conclusion that Ball are either on par or not far off from the quality/finishing on those watches.

    Just think it's a shame that they are so overlooked, but again being underrated as they are make them far less pricey then those. Also a quite a bit more unique... You don't often see them in the wild.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Why are Ball watches so underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by PilotRuss View Post
    I think you’re right. The big marketing budget of Rolex and Omega makes it hard to not know about them. Watch the olympics, golf, or any racing sport and you’ll most likely see one of the big names advertising everywhere. You see Rolex advertising in airports, billboards on highways, and in malls across the US. I’ve never seen a Ball advertisement.

    But to be honest most people have never heard of most of the watch brands we equate to being of high quality. The average person probably has never heard of IWC or Zenith or much less Ball. If I asked my wife or a random stranger to name three watch brands they’d probably say Rolex, Michael Kors, and Casio.


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    I also think they're underrated, but they would definitely have a hard time branding like Rolex or Omega without being the butt of a lot of jokes. I could just see the billboards or print ads:
    "Put a Ball on your wrist." or
    "Ball's quality is unsurpassed." or
    "With tritium technology, you'll always see your Ball."

    I wonder if, in the future, they will slowly rebrand with a different name.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Why are Ball watches so underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by larkja View Post
    I also think they're underrated, but they would definitely have a hard time branding like Rolex or Omega without being the butt of a lot of jokes. I could just see the billboards or print ads:
    "Put a Ball on your wrist." or
    "Ball's quality is unsurpassed." or
    "With tritium technology, you'll always see your Ball."

    I wonder if, in the future, they will slowly rebrand with a different name.
    I think if I was in the marketing department I’d lean more on their American railroad history rather than slogans like “get a ball on your wrist” type stuff.


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  9. #8
    Member Alysandir's Avatar
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    Re: Why are Ball watches so underrated?

    Quote Originally Posted by larkja View Post
    I also think they're underrated, but they would definitely have a hard time branding like Rolex or Omega without being the butt of a lot of jokes. I could just see the billboards or print ads:
    "Put a Ball on your wrist." or
    "Ball's quality is unsurpassed." or
    "With tritium technology, you'll always see your Ball."

    I wonder if, in the future, they will slowly rebrand with a different name.

    Doubtful. I had the pleasure of meeting Ball USA president, Mr. Jeff Hess, at a meet-n-greet once and he said that some of the best came from Ball employees. Like, "give your wife a new pair of Balls the Christmas." There is also the matter that the Ball name hearkens back to C Webb Ball, who was given the task of regulating time for the railroads back in the late 1800s, so to re-brand would be to ignore the heritage of the entire company.

    As for why Ball is "underrated" - and I'm using quotation fingers there because I don't really find them to be underrated relative to cost (for example, I would put Oris above Ball in spite of Ball being more expensive pound for pound), I would say there's a couple of different reasons in play:

    1. Ball has stood accused for a very long time now of having too many models and are adding new models in a seemingly endless stream. (Beyond the gas tubes - which come in many different styles, BTW - there is no uniform "Ball aesthetic." That is, Ball's designs are so broad it's hard to tell at a glance a Ball watch for what it is.)

    2. Their move to being an online seller. (The crack deal- I mean, watch boutique I deal with was a Ball authorized dealer, so it was never difficult to check out their offerings. But over the last couple of years, Ball has taken to making sweetheart deals direct to the consumer, bypassing the middleman. Needless to say, this move has irritated a number of ADs, to the point where some have dropped Ball as as brand, or at least severely cut back on their showcase. The thing I'm still trying to figure out is, how does Ball expect to get new customers under this online model? They got my contact info from my purchase of my SkindiverII...but how are they marketing to people whose contacts they don't have?)

    3. There's a lot of concern about the serviceability of the gas tubes. (This is to say that a lot of Ball owners want to know whether Ball is going to be able to provide fresh tubes when the lumination starts dying. Ball has said they will, but has been light on the details. Unless something has happened that I'm not aware of, this hasn't changed.)

    4. Ball has been accused of not truly being a Swiss brand. (I'm not going to get into the details of this; it's elsewhere on this forum if you hunt for it. But it's a possible factor in why they are not given more respect.)


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  10. #9
    Member bmfang's Avatar
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    Why are Ball watches so underrated?

    Here in Australia (well more specifically Brisbane), one jewellery chain did have a large billboard with one of the EHC models on it displayed on the main highway, with large exposure to tens of thousands of vehicles every day.

    That was about 3 years ago. It obviously has done next to nothing as that same chain is now discounting Ball stock they have by 35% and it looks like they are about to drop the brand here in Queensland.

    Another larger chain in their CBD store (my usual AD) has relegated Ball to lower tier display cabinets that are nowhere near eye level or hidden away in a “discount corner”.

    They obviously aren’t shifting many units at all and whenever I go in there, many potential customers for Swiss pieces don’t even go to look at Ball but instead head straight to the Tag, Oris, Raymond Weil and Longines display cabinets.

    Me thinks the Australian distributor (Avstev) is not really bothering to help stores boost Ball sales anymore in store given how Ball has moved to online/Kickstarter style sales in the last year.


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  11. #10
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    I also agree that Ball has way too many models and they keep churning out new ones. The replacement for the tritium tubes I'm sure will not be cheap to replace. If the tubes are anything tritium might sights for a firearm, then expect to replace them in 15 years. They should put out a price for replacement of the tubes rather than a nominal fee or something similar that they state.

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