Since 1891, the Ball Watch Company has been making mechanical timepieces that meet the most stringent criteria in terms of accuracy, quality and reliability. Ball Watch has led the way in chronometric standards and is closely linked to the history of the American railways.
The greatest achievements are born out of the most extreme conditions. The watchmaking adventure of Ball Watch began on 18 April 1891 with a tragic rail accident in Kipton, Ohio, in the United States. Eight people were killed in a head-on collision of two trains. This tragedy made a particularly big impression in people's minds because it was due to the lack of accuracy of one of the train driver's watches.
The main American railway companies of the day decided to entrust the responsibility of carrying out chronometric precision tests on all rail employees' watches to watchmaker Webster Clay Ball (1847-1922) of Cleveland, Ohio. In his capacity as Chief Time Inspector, he established a time standardisation system that met very stringent criteria in terms of accuracy and reliability. Webb C. Ball's recommendations were so strict that they were later used as inspiration in 1973 by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) when drawing up its own chronometric certification standards – which are still in force to this day.
In founding the “Webb C. Ball Watch Company” in Cleveland in 1894, Webb C. Ball extended the use of “Ball's standard” certified watches to practically the entire US rail network. Their renown soon spread beyond the borders of the US and the expression “to be on the Ball” became a byword for absolute accuracy.
Whilst maintaining its American roots, the Ball Watch Company has relocated its international head office and watchmaking workshops to La Chaux-de-Fonds, in the Canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. By keeping the United States as its historic reference market at the same time as successfully establishing operations in Asia, Ball Watch is now destined to develop its presence in Europe, the Middle East and South America.
Since 1891, the Ball Watch Company has been making mechanical timepieces that meet the most stringent criteria in terms of accuracy, quality and reliability. Having led the way in chronometric standards – and on the strength of a past that is closely linked to the history of the American railways – Ball Watch is one of the best-established and most highly respected watchmaking brands in the United States.
The Ball Watch Company's ethos is that of an authentic life spent exploring the world. To this end, the Firm creates sturdy watches capable of withstanding the most extreme conditions. In doing so, the Ball Watch Company has perpetuated a family business that is naturally people-oriented. Its mission statement remains unchanged: “Since 1891, accuracy under adverse conditions”.
1847: birth of Webster Clay Ball in Fredericktown, Ohio, USA
1891: Kipton railroad disaster, Ohio, USA; Webb C. Ball appointed Chief Time Inspector for the main American railway companies
1894: Ball Watch Company founded in Cleveland, Ohio, USA to make official railway watches
2001: Ball launches the first mechanical watch in the world equipped with luminescent microtubes, ensuring perfect visibility even in the darkest conditions
2011: Ball Watch Company celebrates its 120st anniversary and unveils the Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQUEST, a divers' watch that is water resistant to 3000 metres, featuring a titanium single-block case
Engineer Hydrocarbon : Locomotive drivers provided the inspiration for the creation of the Engineer Hydrocarbon collection, which includes the most sophisticated and advanced Ball Watch. This tough, reliable and accurate timepieces are impact-resistant, as well as being able to withstand freezing temperatures and magnetic fields. Its many innovations embody watchmaking technology.
Engineer Master II : The Engineer Master II collection also pays tribute to train drivers with a series of sturdy, functional watches. In particular, this collection includes a wide range of divers' watches that meet the many requirements of deep sea exploration.
Engineer II : The elegant sports Engineer II collection comprises watches that express genuine strength of character. With a plain, traditional design, the collection includes the common features of all Ball watches: a spirit of adventure, the love of a challenge, the quest for aesthetic appearance and the pursuit of stamina.
Trainmaster : The Trainmaster collection harks back to the first “Ball's Standard” watches, whose accuracy and reliability ensured the safety of trains. Adhering to Ball's established values of accuracy, quality and tradition, Trainmaster watches offer a fresh interpretation of the attributes of elegance, lightness and simplicity, personified in this classic collection.
ConductorThe Conductor collection is the most authentic and the most faithful to the roots of Ball watches. It pays tribute to the train conductors of the golden age of railways. In this collection, Ball has brought together the original lines of its first watches with the aesthetic codes and technical performances of contemporary watchmaking. The vintage features of Conductor watches fit completely naturally into a tonneau shape.
Fireman : The Fireman collection embodies the tangible, practical aspects of the railroad. Fireman watches are sturdy models with a simple design and plain lines, celebrating the hard workers of yesteryear – the locomotive personnel in charge of stoking the boilers. The watches pursue the same quest for accuracy, functionality and resistance.