BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQUEST Dive Watch

Here’s a new and very well-spec’d dive watch from BALL, the DeepQUEST.  The DeepQUEST has a water-resistance rating of 3,000 meters, setting it apart from your typical field of dive watches.  In fact over the last year or so the Hublot Oceanographic 4000 is the only other timepiece that I can think of in this ultra-deep dive rating category, so kudos to BALL on this release.  The 3,000 meter water resistance is achieved largely through a “monoblock” case construction.  This means that the entire case was milled from single block of metal, in this case titanium, thus minimizing possible “weak points” that could compromise the timepiece’s water integrity at great depths.  Enhanced crown seals are also used as this is perhaps the most vulnerable point for a watch with this depth rating.  The sapphire crystal is also a very hefty 5.3mm thick.

Technical elements aside, I really like the clean dial and simple functionality of the watch.  BALL keeps the look simple and functional with a simple 3-hand layout (hours, minutes, second), which allows the watch to stand and be recognized on the merits of its impressive 3,000 meter depth rating rather than diluting its appeal with additional functions and a busy dial.  This said, you can see that there is a small date window on the watch, and while this is a feature which I would have preferred not to see on the dial, it does not detract from the overall aesthetic by much.   I also appreciate that this watch has a 43mm case size (16mm thick), a very wearable size.  Black and silver dial variants are offered.  Priced near $4,500, a lot of watch for your money.  All in all, a very nice dive watch with nice design and impressive technical specs that results in a very attractive piece.

BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQUEST Dive Watch

43mm monoblock titanium case (16mm thick), automatic mechanical movement (ETA 2892, COSC), tapered titanium + stainless steel bracelet with extension system or rubber strap with pin buckle

Of coures this watch would not be complete without BALL’s signature tritium gas tubes to light up the dial and bezel like a Christmas tree!

I would add that this piece features a rotating bezel that is equipped with a BALL’s new patented setting system (“SafetyDIVE”) that allows the diver to count down with a half-minute precision its immersion time.  Exactly how this functionality works is not obvious to me but I’d guess it has something to do with the second set of hash marks on the lower-left bezel quadrant.

BALL Trainmaster Celsius Watch

This is a watch honoring Anders Celsius, the inventor of the modern temperature measurement scale.  Though, this is not the first time BALL has incorporated a mechanical thermometer into one of its watches — the mechanical thermometer module can also be found on BALL’s Engineer Master Diver II TMT watch.  The mechanical thermometer module (“TMT”) was developed and patented by BALL, and is able to measure the outside temperature between -35°C and 45°C with an accuracy of 97%; the thermometer readings are given in the half-moon shaped window at six o’clock on the dial.  As a final homage to the inventor of the modern temperature scale, the caseback bears the portrait of Anders Celsius.  Cool watch, if you ask me!

BALL Trainmaster Celsius Watch

Limited Edition of 310 pieces

41mm stainless steel case (12.6mm thick), automatic mechanical movement, 15 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second hands and dial for low-light/night reading capability, thermometric indication (range: from -35°C to 45°C), fitted on black croc strap with buckle

The dial and the hand are equipped with the luminescent technology developed by BALL Watch. Micro-tubes of 3H gas, requiring no external source of light or energy and 100 times more effective than conventional luminescent paint, ensure perfect legibility in the dark.

Model Number: NT1050D-LJ-SLC

Did You Know?

Anders Celsius, a Swedish scientist born on November 27th, 1701, developed the world’s most widely used temperature measurement scale. As astronomy professor at the University of Uppsala in Sweden, he devoted his life to understanding and studying astronomical and physical phenomena, such as the aurora borealis. It was through his meteorological observations that Anders Celsius developed a temperature measurement scale using 0 as the point at which water solidifies and 100 for its boiling point under normal atmospheric pressure. Use of his measurement scale rapidly spread to the majority of nations. Its unit, the degree Celsius (°C), was officially baptized with the inventor’s name in 1948 by the International System of Units.

BALL Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty

Trivia: While I’d guess most of you have heard the phrase “Get on the ball”  or “He’s on the ball”, I bet you did not know that it originated from the work of Webb C. Ball, founder of the BALL Watch Company (or did you?).  You can read the full story below (see “Did You Know?”), but the short story is that it was Webb Ball’s  introduction in 1891 of pocketwatch manufacturing guidelines that dramatically improved train time accuracy and ultimately led to the Ball name becoming synonymous with timeliness!

Today, the Ball Watch Company celebrates 120 years of “on-time” accuracy with the Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty watch.  It is a classic looking 3-handed watch with BALL’s trademark “micro gas tubes” which offer excellent night time visibility.  I’d like to see this watch in person for final judgement, but at first sight there was something about the “sunray” patterned dial that made a positive impression on me.  Available now, the BALL Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty price is approx. $8,150 (5500 EUR).  BALL fans may gasp at this relatively higher price than most of the brand’s watches, but keep in mind that it is a special edition watch with a rose gold case.

BALL Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty

39.5mm rose gold case (10.5mm thick), sunray pattern dial (silver or grey color) with 15 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second hands, automatic mechanical movement (ETA 2892), 50m water resistance,  screw-in crown, comes on a croc strap with rose gold buckle

Lume Shot:

Did You Know?

BALL Watch History

Ball Watches were the first wrist watches allowed to be used on the Railroads and used a Swiss manual wind movement. They were soon followed by Elgin the first American made wrist watch on “the roads”.

Now headquartered in Neuchatel, Switzerland, Ball Watches used other watch companies’ movements, perfecting them and then reselling them.   They also ordered watches complete from other watch companies.   They used movements from the top American manufacturers, Elgin, Hamilton, and Waltham, and switched to Swiss movements as early as the 1940s in their wristwatches.

This family owned watch company was owned by direct descendants until the 1990s when the right to use the name was sold. The new firm continues the tradition, using Swiss-made (primarily ETA) movements and making watches for sportsmen and even for some small railroads.

In April 1891 there was a collision between Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway trains at Kipton, Ohio, which occurred because an engineer’s watch had stopped.  Several people were killed and as a result the railroad officials commissioned Webb C. Ball as their Chief Time Inspector, in order to establish precision standards and a reliable timepiece inspection system for railroad chronometers.

This lead to the creation of the Ball Time Service.

Ball established strict guidelines for the pocket watch for the manufacturing of sturdy, reliable precision timepieces, including resistance to magnetism, reliability of time keeping in 5 positions, isochronism, power reserve and dial arrangement, accompanied with record keeping of the reliability of the watch on each regular inspection.

Following the guidelines Webb C. Ball introduced, train time accuracy was so good people were setting their watches by the train, and Ball’s name became synonymous with timeliness.

Phrases such as “He’s on the Ball” were coined, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Win a $3,999 BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon TMT Watch

Computer Geeks Ninjas Only…

Editor’s Update:  Thanks to a quick note from on of the guys at BALL North America, I’ve got a few more details on how this contest came about.  Read on!

BALL Watch has teamed up with Microsoft to present the BALL Watch Silverlight Contest!  Uh, OK.  This is kind of a weird contest, but on the plus side, if you are a computer programmer — in the U.S. — who likes BALL watches, you can consider this a fantastic shot at winning a BALL watch!

Novices do not be deterred — just for “giving it the old college try” and submitting an entry, you will get a 20% off coupon for all BALL watches at authorized US retailers.  All you have to do is figure out how to work the damn software and make it do something that BALL likes (“Build a Silverlight 4 application using Microsoft Expression Blend 4 that accurately represents the visual and technical functionality of the watch”).  If only I had these skills!

How this contest came about:

The product evangelist for MS Silverlight loves BALL watches. He decided it would be awesome to model a BALL watch using this new software technology. Apparently it was much more difficult than he expected!  So he came up with this idea as a way to get Silverlight designers excited about becoming more familiar with these tools.

We get to use and freely distribute all the final designs, so pretty much the top 21 selling BALL watches will be available to place on web sites or install on desktops by the end of August. Obviously, we expect to bring knowledge of our product to thousands of people.

Click here for more details on how to enter.

Other prizes include:

  • First Prize: Fireman II Watch (retail value $999)
  • Honorable Mention: 20 Ball Watch Logo merchandise packages (retail value $119)
  • All Entrants: All valid entrants will receive a coupon for 20% off Ball watches at authorized US retailers