back to top

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

By now, you are surely aware of the ties Ball Watch has to the railroad industry (in a nutshell, they created the first watches certified for use to keep the trains on time and not running into each other). That is reflected in the names of the watches that they have created (for instance, the Engineer and Fireman lines). What about the person who keeps things orderly in the passenger compartment – the conductor? Turns out, Ball has not left that position behind in their naming. Today, we will be reviewing what seems to be an overlooked slice of their collection, the Ball Conductor Transcendent.

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

When you compare the Ball Conductor Transcendent to the rest of the lineup, it is definitely the odd man out. While other watches give off an air of rugged durability, this watch instead shoots for a more elegant feel, albeit one that is in a case shape you simply do not see in dress watches (or, at least, I have not). At first glance, you might thing the steel case was a simple square one with a bit of rounding. As it turns out, it’s actually a bit more rectangular leaning (37.5mm by 47.5mm), and has a lot more curves hiding in it than a quick glance would reveal.

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The most prominent of those comes courtesy of the sapphire crystal, which the brand labels as a TV screen style. And you know what? I see it – it definitely has the shape and curve of an old CRT type of screen. It is an interesting look, and it helps the case height to slope down side to side and top to bottom, making for a more compact fit on the wrist. The other “hidden” curve helps in that regard as well, and shows up on the reverse of the watch.

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Yes, that is right – the Ball Conductor Transcendent has a curved case back. This is something I have not run across a lot, but it definitely helps to snug the watch in tighter to your wrist. For a more compact dress piece like this, I think the curves (front and back) work quite nicely in terms of the styling, and, of course, help to get the watch out from under a cuff (and back in) without any issue.

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Even with the curved caseback, you do still get an exhibition window through which you can see the Ball RR1101 automatic movement. This is due to the fact that the center of the case is actually flat. You can pick that up on the dial side as well. Taking a closer look at the dial, you see that the corners actually angle down (to accommodate the curvature of the case), leaving you with a sort of “hidden” circle that is visible on the dial. This is, obviously, due to the fact that the movement itself is not curved. I rather liked the look, and frankly, it is not all that noticeable (the corners bent down) unless the light hits it just right.


Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The rest of the dial is rather well-balanced, with the the larger numerals (so the tritium tubes can be affixed) taking a prominent place. Quite obviously, between the numerals and indices, seeing the time day or night is quite easy, and provides the lightshow that Ball is known for. The one wrinkle in that part of the performance comes in courtesy of the hour hand. While the minute hand is a good size for the dial (and accommodates a bigger tritium tube), the hour hand falls a bit short – literally.

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

There is a central circle with the minute hashes called out, and it gives an obvious frame of reference for the hour hand. The hand itself falls short of actually reaching to that track. Additionally, since the hand is so short, it required a smaller tritium tube to be mounted. While I would not go so far as to say it made it hard to read the time, it definitely was not as easy as you would expect (in the dark), and the proportion just felt a touch off. Not a major deal, but also a small design tweak that I think would help.

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

On the wrist, the 62g (yes, only 62 grams!) Ball Conductor Transcendent is a lightweight and elegant companion to face the day. As I mentioned earlier, the curved nature of the case and crystal ensure that the watch slips under a cuff quite easily, right after a quick glance to check the time. If you do spend some more time checking the watch out, you will notice that the play of light across the grooved center of the dial adds some nice dimensionality, and of course, those curved corners are their own sort of style.

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

You will also notice (as I did) that the date wheel stands out like a sore thumb on the black dial version we reviewed (the white dial, of course, would be a non-issue). Here, it really feels jarring, and I would prefer to see it deleted if a color-matched date wheel was not available. Yes, this is a common complaint we have about watches, and there are costs involved, but it is surprising to me that more brands have not addressed this yet.

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Ball Conductor Transcendent Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Even for the issues I picked with some smaller details, I did enjoy my time with the Ball Conductor Transcendent. While Ball’s lightshow-on-the-wrist more often takes a sportier, more robust form, here, we have something that really is ready to be a dress watch. While it worked well enough at the office, it really felt like it shined brightest when I had it paired up with a suit. This is also a particularly affordable route to get into the Ball catalog, with the Ball Conductor Transcendent commanding a price of $2,699 (for either the strap or the polished bracelet). In the current design, I think the white dial might be the better option of the two. When it comes to a tritium-equipped dress watch, however, I think the Ball Conductor Transcendent needs to be at the top of your list to check out.

Necessary Data

>Brand: Ball
>Model: Conductor Transcendent
>Price: $2,699
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes. Likely just for more formal occasions, but yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: This is perfect for the guy who is wearing suits frequently, but wants something more of a “wow” factor in their watch, which the curves and tritium certainly deliver.
>Best characteristic of watch: The curves of the case (back and sides), crystal, and dial. It just makes for an uncommon and intriguing configuration.
>Worst characteristic of watch: I’m going to pick on the date wheel again – either color-match it or delete it.

Watch Brands



Disqus Debug thread_id: 4019772687

  • The hands are nice…they should just make/sell hands for other watches

  • Boogur T. Wang

    Nice watch and nice review Mr. Kansa. I agree that the hour hand should be a little bit longer – out to the ‘track’ at least. Also give room for a tiny bit larger (longer) tritium tube.
    This looks to me to be a very elegant design. A circle within a square and nicely done. I like the dial color choice also.
    I will also venture to say that the display back window could easily be done away with. A solid back would suit this one well.
    All-in-all, a well done offering from a brand that is known for quality.

  • SuperStrapper

    I really like Ball, and this is even my favourite type of Ball dial, but this watch is just too nerdy.

  • If you like the elegant rectangle-y tonneau case shape, but don’t feel the need for your watch dial to look like the window of a 24-hour convenience store, track down the Hamilton Mount Vernon. Chrono version is less than half the price of the Ball:

    • TrevorXM

      That is one stylish watch!

  • rodrigo

    Movement looks like an Eta 2892a2. Don’t you think?

    • egznyc

      My thoughts exactly. A solid movement to be sure but I don’t think the tritium adds $2K to the value here. The curved case on the other hand is very attractive.


    white date wheel, hideous case in my view especially the horizontal bars that stick out (can I hear scratch magnet…), hands seem short and if you are going to show such a bare movement please close it up.

  • NotoriousAPP

    Great watch until the date window showed up where it did.

  • iamcalledryan

    So the Conductor transcended through to the Boardroom of the Train Co? Makes sense!

    Aside from the white date, the only concern I have is the juxtaposition of the old-world style and the gas tubes.

    • egznyc

      There is something a little jarring in that juxtaposition. Still, I think I actually like it! The hands are not so bad; it’s hard to make them the perfect length given it isn’t a circular dial. The only real issue with the design for me is the date wheel. I really like the curves of the dial – very cool – though it seems a little pricey for what appears to be a standard ETA movement (though perhaps Ball has added some shock protection?)

  • Rich Thomas

    What an elegant and relatively unique design. The size, the shape and, WOW, the curved case back all should add up to beautiful watch.

    Though, Patrick, you are right. The mismatched date wheel and the date window are noticeable short comings. It appears Ball punched a sharp, square, unfinished hole into the otherwise attractive face. And, to what end? An otherwise graceful watch appears to be forced to fit around an ETA movement.

    Ball, remove the date and this will make my short list.

  • VandyChiver

    Ball Watches have been a grail watch for me from the first time I saw them. The tritium tubes definitely add a wow factor to such a dress watch. I’d love to add this to my collection.

  • DanW94

    I like the design but it appears to be a bit to wide relative to it’s height. It looks like it sits to squat on your wrist. Thanks for the review Patrick.

  • Marius

    Ball Conductor Transcendent sounds like a movie starring Will Smith, Leo DiCaprio, and Matt Damon as the negative character i.e. the rat infiltrated in the lokomotive driver`s union.

    • Yeah Matt Damon has been costing the world a fortune lately…

  • funNactive

    I love tritium watches. I have my daytime watches & a tritium one I keep by my bed to put on for sleeping at night. I like the square design.

  • Nelson

    The curved case looks beautiful. I couldn’t agree more, the hour hand seems so short.

  • Pat Mercer

    I do like Ball Watches and have had a few but I will never buy another after I had to send my Engineer Master II Chrono in for repair. The watch was only a couple years old and they could not repair the case because they no longer manufactured the parts so I was stuck with a $2500 paperweight. I dealt straight with the US Office in Florida.

  • otaking241

    I just can’t get myself to like the tonneau shape–I’d much prefer to see this in a more orthodox tank-style case. Ball currently doesn’t make a tank, so maybe…?

  • JimBob

    Huh. I’m not a fan of Ball dials in general, but this case/dial combo seems especially unattractive to me. It’s beyond-Rado hideous.
    OK, maybe not quite.

  • I’ll quickly join the chrous: the hands are too short and the date wheel color is just wrong. Otherwise I find this to be an attractive watch. Perhaps if it were just a bit narrower (but the same height) and for a dressy watch maybe the hour markers and tubes could have been a size smaller. As is, it has a bold look which is fine, but with a little work it could look a lot more elegant which would be unusual, but very welcomed, for a Ball. Thanks for the review, but where are the photos of the white dialed version?

  • Sevenmack

    Looks like a tarted up Stuhrling Original with some tritium tubes for show. The minute hand is definitely too short and the caseback just unattractive to me.

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    “When it comes to a tritium-equipped dress watch” – is that even a real category? And yeah, the date wheel colour simply destroys everything that would be good in this watch.

  • wallydog2

    Handsome dress watch; that is, because the pointy end of the minute hand extends well over the minute markers, the wearer still knows sorta what time it is before ducking out of the fund raiser and getting some poutine from a food truck where the truly cool dine on a summer’s night.

  • Forever Great

    As a train conductor I’m pissed that it’s a dress watch. The fireman should have the conductor labeling, or they should rename it passenger conductor because your wearing that thing in your font pocket if your working on a freight train as most conductors do. Anyways, love the watch and the company, Oris divers, MTM and Tissot make great, tough and durable watches for duty in the field day or night extreme heat and cold I’ve found.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.