Ball watches’ 2011 offerings are mixed between modern and traditional looking timepieces. One of the interesting classic looking ones is this limited edition retro-inspired Trainmaster with a thermometer that will come in two forms. One will be the Ball Trainmaster Celsius, and the other will be the Ball Trainmaster Fahrenheit. Each is meant to honor the inventor of the respective temperature scale and uses one of Ball’s unique movements.
While thermometers in mechanical watches aren’t at all common, they aren’t new either. Back in the days of Breguet you saw some pocket watches with thermometers in them. Today the mechanical thermometer is very rare in timepieces. Customers who wants this feature tend to opt for “ABC” (altimeter, barometer, compass) digital watches such as the Protrek from Casio. These and similar watches usually have thermometers built in to them. As is the case with wrist mounted thermometers, you really need to take your watch off for about 10 minutes to get an accurate reading of the ambient temperature as the watch will be highly effected by your body temperature.
One version of this watch is the Ball Trainmaster Celsius – being done for Anders Celsius that created the world’s most popular temperature scale. On this watch the temperature scale is of course in Celsius, and there is a sort of imprint/image of his face on the back of the watch.
Around 2006 Ball released its Caliber 9018 automatic movement. Contained in these Trainmaster pieces, the caliber 9018 has been in a few other watches since. It has the time, date, and thermometer (not digital). I believe it is built on a base Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement with a thermometer module. Ball also liked to point out the that movement can withstand 5000 Gs of shock. I wonder if that is actually shock or just velocity. Oh, and the thermometer can pretty well tell the temperature from -35 Celsius to 45 Celsius.
The Celsius watch comes with a lovely silvered dial and attractive face with applied Arabic hour numerals and (of course) tritium gas tubes for illumination. There might also be a black dialed version available as well. Ball will offer 310 of the Trainmaster Celsius pieces.
Then there are the almost identical Ball Trainmaster Fahrenheit limited edition watches. The press release information is silent to these, but as you can see I did see them hands-on (so they do exist). Here the temperature scale is in Fahrenheit and the image on the back of the watch is of Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit. This one will be limited to 120 pieces. Why less pieces even though Fahrenheit is older than Celsius? I think it is because less of the world uses Fahrenheit (even the the US is big). It is funny actually, because as an American I have a deep sense of Fahrenheit loyalty. Yes, I know that the Celsius scale makes more sense and is much more commonly used, but I just like the quirkiness of our US measuring systems. That and I probably subconsciously block out how to interpret Celsius temperatures. I think 30 degrees is hot, but it just doesn’t sound that hot.
The Trainmaster Celsius and Fahrenheit watches come in 41mm wide steel cases that are 12mm thick. So really, while they are classic in shape, not very classic in size. The cases are brushed with nicely polished bezels and the sapphire crystal is AR coated. In addition to the welcome tritium gas tubes, I’ve always appreciated the high level of legibility in the Trainmaster collection of watches. Look for these nice limited edition pieces about now.