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Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

For 2016, Ball introduces this handsome steel-cased version of the Ball Trainmaster Standard Time watch that aBlogtoWatch originally debuted in 18k rose gold back in 2013. At the time, the less than $7,500 gold-cased watch was a veritable bargain compared to the price of other gold watches out there, and its classic pocket watch style made for an enduring and friendly conservative design.

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Ball was instrumental in the formation of the American railroad industry – which relied to a large extent on everyone agreeing what time it was. The original Ball Trainmaster Standard Time was said to be a celebration of the adoption of standard time in America, which is why the timepiece has this name. Now, in 2016, the Ball Trainmaster Standard Time is back in a nicely polished steel case offered on both a matching steel bracelet or a leather strap – the price isn’t bad either.

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Anyone familiar with the look of classic turn-of-the-century utilitarian pocket watches will immediately recognize what inspired Ball to create the dial design. In fact, the dials are actually baked enamel – which, as far as I know, is very hard to find in timepieces at this price. I’ve always been fond of this dial design because of its ability to be both tranquil and elegant, but also supremely legible and utilitarian. The relaxed effectiveness of its display is a testament to good watch face design. Of course, because this is a Ball watch we are talking about, the Ball Trainmaster Standard Time dial is also fitted with self-illuminating tritium gas tubes in both the hands and next to each of the hour markers.

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Little touches on the dial are elegant, such as the fanciful way Ball designed the 7 o’clock hour marker to say “Ball & C” (Ball & Co). The dial is very classic in its execution, with a subsidiary seconds dial and blued hands. Of course, Ball does include a date window at 3 o’clock that inevitably some people will dislike, but it doesn’t bother me at all. Not that I really care about watches having a date window or not, but some people dislike them for how they can negatively affect a sense of dial symmetry.

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One small downside to the watch (depending on your visual precision) is the painted blue hands versus flame-blued steel hands. The latter offers a better, less shiny, and more even look, as the metal itself is made blue versus being coated. With that said, the overall look is very nice for the price. I don’t think a lot of people would want a dial that is 5% better for a 30-50% price premium… there are clearly other watch choices for that.


Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As a more classic and dressy watch, the Ball Trainmaster Standard Time case is sized at 39.5mm wide and is just 11.15mm thick. The case is only water resistant to 30 meters – which is odd given how “durably versatile” many Ball watches are. With that said, the Trainmaster Standard Time should be a very suitable choice for casual to formal use.

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Through a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback window, the rear of the watch offers a view of the base Swiss ETA or Sellita automatic movement which Ball refers to as their caliber RR1105-C. The movement has further been COSC Chronometer certified, which adds a bit of overall value and explains the $2,000-plus price point. The watch’s automatic movement and Chronometer certification status are memorialized via cursive text printed on the dial wrapping around the subsidiary seconds dial.

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I personally prefer the bracelet option on the Ball Trainmaster Standard Time watch, but that is just my personal taste. As a dress watch that is directly inspired by turn-of-the-century pocket watches, you really can’t go wrong here unless you are interested in something a bit larger – and if you are, you might as well just get an actual turn-of-the-century pocket watch that has been converted into a wrist watch (as those do exist).

Ball Trainmaster Standard Time Watch Hands-On Hands-On

If anything, this is an excellent watch for people who are suffering from diminished visions or are just starting to learn how to read a watch with analog hands versus digital. You’d be surprised just how many people out there suffer from not being able to readily read the time on analog watches – which is nothing to be ashamed of. Digital watches are easier to read, but sadly just aren’t as sexy as analog watches. Or perhaps the Ball Trainmaster Standard Time is a good choice because you like the subtle “C-cup-style” crown. Price is $2,499.

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  • A_watches

    I think this has been said before, the minute hand looks slightly like a syringe, but apart from that, I think they have done a really good job here with interesting design touches and a nice price.

  • laup nomis

    I like it, but there’s something just not quite about it. Whether its the hands, or the font on the dial, I can’t pin it down. I like the font, its just very determinedly vintage. I do quite like the short lug, round case in stainless steel.
    However, on a vintage ‘style’ watch, I don’t think the ‘lurid strip-club’ party on my wrist works. A standard lume would be preferable.

    • What you don’t dance the night away at “Edwardian Night” at the disco?

    • word-merchant

      Totally agree. Something is very jarring here and, as you write, ‘just not quite right’.

      And I very much dislike the date window at 3pm. That’s putting it mildly.

  • I could do without the date window on this style of watch. And I suspect the hands are ion plated (as opposed to painted) blue. But as pointed out, this is more cost effective than bluing steel hands. I think the “7” is cute, so bonus points for that design detail.

  • SuperStrapper

    Really nice, but the sub seconds is such a letdown. Why do brands do this? Centre seconds would have looked so much nicer. Otherwise I really like the dial, I just wish a different brand had made this watch, because I would never want a Ball that didn’t construct big Arabic numerals from T-100 tubes. A polarising look, but so unique and such a recognizable characteristic for Ball. I’m sure one day they will figure out how to make tritium tubes in delicate and ornate shapes, so that dials like this can have that effect. I eagerly await that day.

  • Vish Gagie

    Hi. Ball manufactures some pretty amazing watches and lines and what they have done for time keeping is cemented in history. However, for this watch I feel the designers missed the mark.

    If this watch is supposed to harken back to the railroad pocket watch designs, then the dial is a confusing thing. First, the seconds dial is too large for the watch face, it belongs in a larger diameter watch. Secondly, the date window should have been scrapped. Date windows are an unnecessary feature in this day and age, and I suspect the marketing department pushed hard to disrupt the watch face even more. Finally why 30metres water resistance? Why aren’t more manufacturers including screw down crowns? Watch manufactures need to be called out on this as there’s no massive tooling costs involved especially when the screw down crowns and threading are relatively inexpensive to do. And it will save preserve the watch from the elements.

    However, I do like the design of the “7” it’s very slick!

    To each their own, but this watch needs to go back to the drawing board.

  • radikaz

    The sub sec look rather out of place, IMO. Its w/look much balance if it move down further & reduce the size of the sub-sec

  • droo

    Hi, I have to say I am a Ball fan… I have a lot to say about this Model, I swear to make it short. I do not like the subsecond dial’s size that eat the number 6. for the same reason I do not like to see the 3 touching the date window. I am not found of the crown I find too girly. I love the rest, all of it and, since I own 3 ball watches, I can tell the lume is really the best for deep night reading, even if it doesn’t work so well when you switch from a bright light situation to a shady lightning (like going into a tunnel aboard from a train).

  • Shawn Lavigne

    dial proportions are off, although it has a dial and handset i could really like.

  • Stephen Scharf

    Well, the date window bothers me a lot. Another potentially beautiful dial design completely ruined by the clumsy implementation of a date window. When will the marketing guys learn to exert some discipline? Think Tudor Black Bay, folks, think Tudor Black Bay.

  • Shirley Furby

    First glance it was captivating, and then I started to observe the problems others have voiced date window, lack of water resistance etc. Ball”s design of their magnetic resistant watch was almost perfect and the price reflected it but this watch just does not seem to be well thought out. I think the potential for it to be a winner is there if only Ball would have “sweated” the details. It has the appeal of a classic but not assembly of one.

  • So many design quirks that bother me on this one. The design, overall doesn’t lend itself to the gas tube element, the fussy scripts and silly 7, the way the date’s square rule outline goes around a rounded rectangle and then is all up into 3’s business, the 6 being nibbled away by the sub seconds dial. It’s all too much of a visual mess for me. It seems like every Ball watch forces one element or another into a watch where it doesn’t belong.

  • Marius

    WOW! This is an atrociously ugly watch. Arguing that “something isn`t quite right” with this watch must be the understatement of the century. This watch is so ugly that when I went into a bank, they turned off the surveillance cameras. This watch is so ugly that even Hello Kitty said goodbye. This watch is so ugly that little John Q. would rather die young than get a heart transplant and look at this watch for the rest of his life.

  • Beefalope

    Nice. I like.

  • funNactive

    I like the hands – love the lume. Good case size. Bad water resistance @ 30 meters (should be an industry standard of at least 100m for modern watches).

  • cluedog12

    “If anything, this is an excellent watch for people who are suffering from diminished visions or are just starting to learn how to read a watch with analog hands versus digital.”

    Two points:

    1) You bring up a good point in this dry joke. My class was formally taught how to read an analog clock in Grade 4 (~ 10 yrs old). I have no idea whether children are still being taught how to read an analog clock face. Swatch and Richemont should be subsidizing learning kits for school children throughout the world. Learning to tell the time is still more interesting than spelling and math, so it’s pretty easy to get children interested in clocks and watches at a young age.

    2) I was gifted my first “beginner’s” analog watch when I was about five or six. Pretty sure if somebody had gifted me this Ball Trainmaster instead, I would have figured out that the date window was placed next to the “3” because it was a learning watch. However, a proper learning watch also labels the minutes, 0 to 55, along the periphery. Can’t expect a young child to know the 5X multiplication table. Thus I must conclude that this is a lousy learning watch for a young or old child, despite the entry level price.

  • beardedman

    I’m a huge fan of date windows and especially the Rolex Cyclops. Don’t hate me for it! But as I’ve seen with so many watches, the date window pushing so hard into the 3 is just bad design. I considered how it would have been to leave the printed rectangle off, and decided that is worse. Better to leave it off entirely. But beyond that, I would like real blued hands and while I do like tritium tubes on other Ball watches, somehow they look very “bolted-on” here as an afterthought. I want to like this one, especially the rose gold one, but just can’t do it.

  • Mark

    I absolutely love the dial on this watch. I think that Ball gets it right when they go back to the older dial designs. More than this one, I love the dial of the Ball Trainmaster 60 Seconds II. My only demur would be that if the dial could be slightly larger so the date window and the small seconds would not cover the numbered index. I figure that most probably would disagree with me, thinking these dials are dated and not with it. But looking at the symmetry of the dial as a whole with those wonderfully curved numbers, enameled dial, the shape of the blued hands just hits on all thrusters for me.

  • nvfll

    So close yet so far: Love the baked enamel dial and script. But why ruin it with the date (which is not matching) and the sub seconds? Make a version with no date and center seconds and it will be a winner.

  • Whoisi

    I like the 7 that say “BALL&Co”. The little “o” after “C” is very tricky to see.
    Nice vintage dial style. More WR will be better for the case like this.

    • John Effing Zoidberg

      It pisses me off. It already says Ball plenty without the sneaky one.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    Ball Rocks the House with this one. Like the vintage dial and baked enamel finish.
    Good looking and “It’s a Ball !”
    I also like the smaller seconds dial – period appropriate and just looks good.
    I could do without the date feature – upsets the estethics (sp?) of the piece, IMO.
    Ball has been and continues to be a Bench Mark of Quality.

  • spiceballs

    Nice and I like date windows but this doesn’t work for me, hour hand looks a tad short, second dial a little large plus, mmmm, more a B-cup crown – which is fine.

  • Ulysses31

    Attractive enough but i’m not a fan of these overly elaborate bracelets.

  • TrevorXM

    “…the base Swiss ETA or Sellita automatic movement…”

    More lazy reporting from A Blog to Watch. Why so uneven???

    Just by looking at the back, it’s got 27 jewels, which doesn’t match the Sellita movement 260-1 nor ANY Sellita movement specs available:
    So is this actually an ETA based movement or what? This is an interesting point — what is this watch movement based on and how come it has 27 jewels?

    Not 100% on the looks of this watch, and perhaps I can appreciate the apathy (painted blue hands on a multi-thousand dollar watch does that to me, too) but a whole lot of effort was put into the silly Smokey the Bear quartz watch from Shinola write up and not even basic research or inquiry was put into this far more significant mechanical watch from Ball.

    • Razzcal

      I believe the Ball RR1105C movement is a Chronometer ETA 2895-2 (small
      seconds variant of the 2892 A2). And the RR1105 without the “C” at the end is a
      non-chronometer variant of the same. But I totally agree with your point that the author really should have told us what the movement is. I guess he didn’t exactly know, but that just means that he should have done a bit of research. Hardly too much to ask IMHO.

    • JayK

      BALL may use either dependent on availability of supply

  • JayK

    A very pretty watch. I don’t mind the hands tooooo much, but they do look slightly odd – perhaps cheaply done? Something not right as others have pointed out. And I do think it needs to have better WR just because of that price point.

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