Ball Watch Company has decided to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the standardization of time zones in the United States with a new timekeeper appropriately named Trainmaster Standard Time. The timekeeper has a vintage appearance modeled after pocket watches from the time period. It is placed inside a round housing made from red gold and has a simple and lovely looking white enamel dial. Ball Trainmaster Standard Time anniversary piece relies on a self-winding mechanical movement with the C.O.S.C. certification and can be bought for $7,700.
The Introduction of Standard Time Zones and Webb Clay Ball
The existence of standard time zones which we now take for granted is not as old as it one could expect. Prior to 1883, there was a proper myriad of time zones and America had no less than 70 of them. This became a practical problem only when the railroad transport grew in importance. So in 1883, there was the decision to split the entire territory of the States into four time zones, as it is still the case. After this change, Webb Clay Ball became the first jeweler in the whole country who started synchronizing his watches with the signals from the United States Naval Observatory and had a proper chronometer displayed in his atelier. This is definitely one of the main reasons the company (which stems from the Ball’s jewelry store) opted to mark the 130th anniversary of the events. However, the connection of Ball with standard time zones and railroad does not stop there. Eight years after the introduction of the standardized zones there was a serious crash that was caused by the fact that the timekeeper of one of the engineers stopped working. To prevent similar mishaps, Ball who was the leading authority in the field was named as Chief Time Inspector by railroad officials. His main task was to secure that the railroad chronometers run uniformly in which he succeeded after the implementation of severe standards in several different categories.
Gold, Enamel & Automatic Chronometer Movement
After the brief excursion into the past which explains why Ball watches opted for the commemorative piece, let us examine the traits of Trainmaster Standard Time timekeeper in more detail. The timepiece is heavily modeled after the pocket watches from the end of the 19th century, specifically its white enamel dial with graceful Arabic numerals and small seconds counter on the bottom. The dial with blued hands and a date aperture at the three o’clock position also possesses one of recognizable traits of all Ball timekeepers – the presence of luminous tritium micro-tubes which are placed inside hour and minute hands and on each of twelve jour markers. This naturally enables excellent readability regardless of the circumstances.
The classical dial of the piece is protected with a convex sapphire crystal with glare-proof coating (another glass of the same kind is present on the transparent case-back of the watch). All the luxury aficionados will be pleased with the fact that the material used form the construction of the watch’s case is 18 K red gold. The housing has restrained dimensions and features the diameter of 39.5 mm and the height of 10.5 mm, which is another characteristic that goes perfectly along its classical theme. Its water resistance is to 30 meters, while the construction also provides shock resistance up to 5,000 Gs. This seems like a mind-boggling resilience only when one takes terms of force exerted on a fast moving vehicle, since it is known that even the smallest double digit G forces can be very tough and even fatal for humans. However, its actual meaning is quite different when mechanical objects are concerned and it practically means that the watch will not be damaged if it drops to a hard floor from about three feet, or when it is accidentally knocked on a hard surface whilst it is worn.
Inside the round gold case is a self-winding RR1105-C mechanical movement with the automatic winding. Its precision is guaranteed with the COSC chronometer certification which remains a very impressive trait, almost as important as it was in the time when the brand’s founder was in charge of the timing of the trains. The caliber with base movement ETA 2895-2 has 28 jewels, the frequency of 28,800 vph, while its power reserve last for 53 hours.
Ball Trainmaster Standard Time commemorative timekeeper (with the reference number NM3888D-PG-LCJ-WH) is available at the price of $7,700 which is really not that high, especially when you consider the fact that it comes in a gold housing.