My Favorite Ball Watches At JCK, Big And Lots Of Lume

My Favorite Ball Watches At JCK, Big And Lots Of Lume

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Trieste Chronograph Watch

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Trieste chronograph watch black

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon watch side

Ball watches have been really popular that last few years ago and are probably the nicest watches (at least from a price perspective) to feature tritium gas tubes in their watches. All of their watches feature the wonder lume, that is made exclusively by MB Microtec in Switzerland. They are small tubes filled with (safe) radioactive material. Ball watches probably makes the best use out of them versus other companies I know to use the luminant. The best part is that they don't need any light to charge and glow for like 25 years.

I am not going to go into much detail when talking about these watches as there are too many of them, and you can get lots of little details about each watch from Ball directly.  Careful though. You might be drawn to tears! Last time I was at their site they started playing Amazing Grace. So I saw these watches last June in Las Vegas at the JCK show. These are my favorite of the Ball watches that I was able to see there. Overall these are some very nice watches for the money. Lots of functionality and good solid looks without a lot of fuss.

The first watch you see above you is one of their existing models, but I really like it. Especially with the easier to read white dial. It is the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Chronograph Trieste watch. It has a Swiss Valjoux 7750 movement, lots of tritium gas tubes, many looks, and their special flip-lever crown guard. This Trieste edition is limited, and is a mix of steel and titanium parts. It also comes with a rubber strap and is $3,599. The non limited edition version (doesn't have the cool picture at the seconds subdial is about $2,999. Really a unique and cool looking watch. Not super wide, even though it is tall.

Ball Engineer Master II Aviator GMT watch

Ball Engineer Master II Aviator Watch

The above two watches are from the new Ball Engineer Master II Aviator line. With the standard (day date) and GMT models for you to check out. The each have Swiss ETA automatic movements and are nice and large sized. I love the massive lume indexes and the clear, iconic aviator style dials and hands. Ball even did a nice job with the pilot watch style strap with button in it. I really like the Ball signature "RR" (for railroad) logo that is used as the counterweight on the seconds hand. Nice quality watches that feel meant for professional as opposed to formal wear. Priced about $1,600 - $1,900 and new for 2009.

Ball Fireman Night Train watch

This looks like one of Ball's aviator watches, but is actually the Ball Fireman Night Train watch. Nice colors with a aggressive facade, it has a dual time complication (also with an ETA automatic movement). The label of "universal military time" is written over the second timezone date window. This is one of the several Ball watches to have a DLC (diamond like carbon) coated case - which makes it very durable. The watch is 43mm wide and has that nice black calf leather strap with orange stitching. About $1,800 as shown.

Ball Engineer Master II Diver GMT watch

This is another cool DLC coated watch. It is one of their diver watches and is the Ball Engineer Master II Diver GMT watch. The dial is black with gold tones  - and lots of gas tubes! There is a large internal rotating bezel and the central dial is for the GMT hand. The case is 42mm wide and comfortable on your wrist with the textured rubber strap. If you don't like the gold face, there is also a white on black version available. A true diver with 300 meters of water resistance and again an automatic movement. Price for this new model is about $2,500.

Ball Engineer Master II Moon Phase watch

Ball Engineer Master II Moon Phase watch side

This moon phase watch was one of my favorites. There was something very appealing in the simple charms of this watch that combines the classic touch of a moon phase indicator with the technical touch of Ball watches. This watch is more formal than the other watches though. A nice rounded case and textured dial make good to frame the large centrally located moon phase indicator. Look closely and you'll see all the little gas tubes that are part of the moon. It comes with the white dial or black. The steel case is 40mm wide and is also available with a steel bracelet in addition to the calf leather strap. Priced at about $1,600 - $1,700.

Ball Fireman 2009 watch

Ball Fireman 2009 watch on bracelet

This is one of Ball's newly overhauled watch designs for 2009. It is the new Ball Fireman Automatic watch and starts at just $999 ($1,099 on the steel bracelet). It has a few dial tones and is a handsome watch with a few types of styles in the design. Some pilot watch, some diver watch, and even a little Eterna Kontiki thrown in there. The five dial color accents available are brown, yellow, red, green, and white. Each has a leather strap with the sides that match the dial color (but the white dial has blue on the strap, as seen above). Ball calls it a  nice entry level mechanical watch and I am inclined to agree.

Ball Trainmaster Cleveland Express Dual TIme

Ball Trainmaster Cleveland Express Dual Time watch back

This is one my my favorite classically styled Ball watches. It is called the Trainmaster Cleveland Express Dual Time. The Trainmaster line of watches are Ball's most expensive with there being two 18k gold version that go up to about $13,000.  The pictured watch retails at $3,100. One of the best features about the watch are the applied blued steel Arabic numerals that look so nice. The automatic movement has been decorated and has been COSC Chronometer certified. The watch is handsome without being showy and good for those who like a nice conservative watch with lots of historical reference.

So there you have it. Some nice pictures of some nice watches - especially if you've been interested in Ball watches and wanted to see them live (sort of).

See Ball watches on eBay here.

See Ball watches on Amazon here.

Ball Engineer Master II Pilot GMT 2015 GM3090 LLAJ BK
Ball Engineer Master II Pilot GMT 2015 GM3090 LLAJ BK
Time Remaining: 7h 28m

Bid now

AUTHENTIC BALL Engineer 2 Ohio Mens Wristwatch SS Automatic NM1026C
AUTHENTIC BALL Engineer 2 Ohio Mens Wristwatch SS Automatic NM1026C
Time Remaining: 9h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $800.00
Buy It Now
Mens Ball Fireman Racer Automatic Watch
Mens Ball Fireman Racer Automatic Watch
$736.46 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 16h 48m

Bid now

Time Remaining: 20h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $1,999.00
Buy It Now
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Automatic DL1016C Womens Watch New
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Automatic DL1016C Womens Watch New
Time Remaining: 21h 31m
Buy It Now for only: $1,149.99
Buy It Now
Vintage Ball Trainmaster Stainless Steel Railroad Wristwatch w Rare Bombay Lugs
Vintage Ball Trainmaster Stainless Steel Railroad Wristwatch w Rare Bombay Lugs
$256.00 (42 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 4h 9m

Bid now

View eBay Listing Page:   
« Previous12345...1617
  • Brian

    I recently bought my first Ball watch, the B&O First Mile limited production model. I wasn’t planning to purchase it, but the solid build quality and the great design won me over very quickly. My wife wears a Ball Trainmaster 60 Seconds, which quickly became her favorite watch.

    I was so enamored with the quality of the Ball watches that I bought an Engineer Hydrocarbon Titanium, which is perhaps the most solid watch I have ever worn. The watch feels indestructible.

    I am looking forward to their newest Hydrocarbon model, the Spacemaster, which will be available in a few weeks.

    For those unfamliar with the quality of Ball watches, I highly recommend finding a local dealer and trying them out!

    • admin

      Yup, Ball watches are pretty nice, and you always feel that you are getting enough for what you paid.

  • Erwin

    It must be the pictures but to me these watches look pretty shabby for the several thousand dollar price range. For instance look at the quality of the polishing and brushing of the bezel and metal bracelet.

    Anyway, I’ve never seen one in real life so they might well be good quality.

    • admin

      It is just the images. There are finger prints, and the models have been handled a lot. I took the images quickly in passing. Just a brief view of the watches – I wouldn’t have posted them if the watches themselves were shabby.

  • Brian


    The finish on these watches is actually quite nice. The brushed finishes are very fine on both the cases and the bracelets. Many models use a combination of brushed and polished finishes.

    I agree that the pictures don’t portray the watches in the greatest light. They look like they’ve been heavily handled and at least 2 of the pictures show the watches with the protective plastic still present.

  • peter

    Erwin is about as wrong about the Ball watches as one could possibly be–even the pictures are not as bad as he suggests, but as others have suggested, the watches in hand are not just equal to the value of the prices they list at, they are actually worth about twice their asking price–truly one of the best buys of a quality watch at the present time. I have, as a watch repairer and collector, bought and sold more than 50 watches over the last two or three years (IWC, Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer, Eterna,etc.). Ball watches stand up against any of the best, and in fact surpass most. Currently I own six(three Fireman, a Night Train, an Aviator, and a Master Engineer) All keep nearly perfect time, all are built to withstand the harshest treatment, and all are legible in virtually any situation, day or night. I just about wouldn’t even look at another brand these days.

  • Erwin

    If I ever come accross one I’ll sure check it out to what they’re like in real life.

  • grover

    A quick note – the Night Train does not have a second time zone – it’s essentially a day/night indicator or 24-hour military time indicator. However, the Cleveland Express Dual Time does have second time zone.

    And the Diver GMT is a simply fantastic watch. I picked one up about a month ago and I can’t keep it off my wrist!

    • admin

      Thanks for the clarification!

  • Steve Gupta

    I was not familiar with Ball watches, but enjoyed your review. At the website, I was especially impressed by the pulsemeter complication. It was well done and combined with the wonder lume, I may have found my next watch.

  • Pingback: Today’s Links | MarcJStuff()

  • Pingback: Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster X-Lume Watch |

  • Hilary Simpson

    Impressive text. Waiting for you to continue the topic.

    Hilary Simpson
    escort warsaw

  • Dan Rocco

    As the “go anywhere on the planet” entertainer, I need a watch that I can always depend on, the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon is that go to watch.
    With it’s awesome mag shielding, mobious cold rated oils (to-40) , GTLS illumination system, it is a watch that is actually “geographically indifferent” and ready for the next ice age…..

    • admin

      Glad the brand suits you. I like them too!

  • John Steppling

    Ive been reading reviews on this site of late, and of course Im a watch junkie. SO, let me say I think Balls are about the best value watches out there. Now, value is a pretty vague term in this context; so maybe I should just say I think the above watches (save the top two) are terrific. They fill a certain niche between IWC and Seiko. I tend to buy a lot of vintage watches……( a new rolex, ok, and a new omega….but) because they are often somehow more interesting. The Balls above seem to me (subjective) better in what they are doing, and cheaper, then Bell & Ross.
    The Nighttrain above…..what a terrific design. Nothing else quite like it….they capture the retro thing without being kitsch. Nice stuff.