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Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph Watch Review

Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It’s not news that Ball Watch Co. makes some of the best under the radar and high-quality value proposition timepieces out there. Their shock resistance, impressive lume, and association with the American railroad system has been the cornerstone of the brand’s identity, but I was not expecting to be as taken with a watch that features two complications that I rarely appreciate together, especially at a price point just over $4,000. The Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph takes what could be a watch that's bursting at the seams and through subtle design and color choices presents a timepiece that I preferred to wear as a dressier option that doesn’t have the bland personality or been-there-done that design of so many dressy chronographs out there.

Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This is an updated version of the Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph with mostly minor refinements. The total package is a solid and handsome watch with a an impressive set of complications, albeit in a watch that can wear a little thick and oftentimes be devoid of some personality (though I've seen plenty of worldtimers with too much personality). That being said, Ball is likely aiming for a very specific buyer type who is likely a well-versed collector seeking a unique watch that pulls off being a subtle worldtimer chrono. All things considered, the Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph offers a lot of impressive horological chops, handsome design, and good finishing for the money.

Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Case

The Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph comes in a 42mm wide polished steel case that sits at a hefty 13.7mm thick. It is not close to being a slim watch and on a smaller wrist, I can see it being a bit of a problem. You’ll notice the pocket-watch style crown that looks somewhat like a desk-bell. Along with the stepped bezel, the crown adds some personality to the case. What this crown isn’t going to help with is water resistance, which is 50m so this is definitely a watch you want to keep on dry land. Not that a world time chronograph on a leather strap is what one imagines wearing while taking a swim, but still worth noting.

Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

World Timer

Looking at the dial, you can see the outermost city ring which stays in place. The slope of the city ring and clear black text on a white background makes for the names of cities to be easily readable. Granted, there are probably only a handful of times where I actually used the world time function, and I appreciate the legibility of all the city names here.

Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

By unscrewing the crown and pulling once, you can advance the date with one upwards turn while one downwards turn moves the day of the week backwards. This is the only way to change the day and date since by pulling the crown out again, you can advance the time forwards or backwards. By advancing the time forward, the 24-hour ring (right below the city ring, with nighttime designated with a dark blue background) moves counterclockwise. Moving the time backwards does not affect the 24-hour ring.

So, assuming a GMT time zone, I turn the crown forward until 12 on the 24-hour ring corresponds to London (GMT) and then move the crown backwards so the time is noon. Now, since I live in Los Angeles/PST (GMT-7:00), I would turn the crown backwards and set the time to 4 o ‘clock. Overall, very easy to use.

Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I had read that previous models of this watch had issues with the 24 hour disc having a little “give” when going from adjusting the world timer back to adjusting the time. Meaning, the 24 hour disc would wobble when the crown began to move the other way which I can see being a big pain. Ball must have remedied that issue with this updated model, as the disc didn’t waver at all for me. I also have to add that the minutes hand on this watch is impressively steady and allows the most minute of adjustment without any wobble at all, really. Overall, it’s a joy to set and handle. Just really well done simple, and legible; and I appreciate how clean the dial is compared to a lot of world timers out there that have too much of a “Rand McNally” inspired design.

Ball Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Dial

Ball intelligently decided to keep things as minimalist as possible on the dial of the Trainmaster Worldtime Chronograph, which isn’t easy considering the inherent complexity of the watch. There are two larger chronograph sub-dials at 12 and 6 o’clock and a smaller seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock. The clean, legible, and simple sub-dials are executed successfully, and the relatively small Ball logo inside the 12 o’clock sub-dial shows some refreshing restraint.

About the Author

Bilal lives in Los Angeles by way of New York and shares the same appreciation and love of watches that likely brought you to aBlogtoWatch. His least favorite question to be asked is "what's your favorite watch?" since the answer changes every day.

His collection began with the watch that has likely fueled horological obsession for countless people, the Omega Speedmaster. Since then he has worn, enjoyed, or mocked about every other watch out there. You'll have to ask about the whole collection in person, though.
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Comments

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  • Luciano

    “As with other in-house Ball movements”?!? Can the author please clarify about his definition of an in-house movement?

    • Any time where the watch brand can come up with their own name for an industry standard movement, ha ha! But to fair, they do have a module for the worldtime, but I agree with you that this does not quality as “in-house” movement. Cheers.

      • Lash LaRue de Bayou

        Brewmore just introduced four new made in London movements

        • And that’s a good thing for Bremont. But they are still far from not using any Swiss made movements/parts.

          • Lash LaRue de Bayou

            No, I trust they are made in their manufacture in London.

          • Do you mean Henley-on-Thames? Which is 32 miles west of the Bremont boutique in Mayfair or somewhere else? So far as I know they don’t do manufacturing in London, despite what is printed on the dials of their watches.

          • Lash LaRue de Bayou

            Forgive me Mark but I was joking!

          • Got it. Cheers.

  • A module (for the world time function) on top of an ETA 7750 does not an “in-house movement” make (as Luciano also noted). Actually 13.7 mm is not a bad thickness for a 7750 based watch. The hour and minute hands (especially the hour hand) could have just a little longer and I wish they printed more numbers on the chronograph registers (both 30 minute and 12 hour).

    But overall this is an attractive watch with a reasonable case size given that you want a large enough dial for the world time rings. Since the city ring is fixed, they should have (IMO) printed the cities from 3 to 9 right side up. Also would have been nice if they also added DST marking for those timezones which observe the dreaded daylight savings time, but that just a quibble.

    The 7750 with its cam activated chronograph is more often than not harsher and more uneven in pressure between pushers/modes than a column wheel movement, so it’s a real stretch to call it a “lauded” movement. The tired terms “workhorse” and “ubiiquitous” seem more appropriate and help to justify the reasonable price compared to the other watches listed which feature true in-house movements (except for the Bremont).

    Nice watch, I’d wear it. A crown which did not protrude as much would have been appreciated, but maybe it wears OK.

    • JosephWelke

      At least the 7750 has the virtue of being able to be repaired by any competent watchmaker anywhere for the foreseeable future.

      • I totally agree. Not the smoothest operating chronograph but rugged and easily serviced worldwide. The world time module might have to be repaired only by Ball or their module supplier though (but only if parts break – cleaning and lubrication can be done by any competent watchmaker). Cheers.

  • IG

    Ball dropped the ball by using the 7750.

    • Chaz

      Please elaborate.

      I personally find the 7750 a bulletproof movement and paragon of reliability as well as accuracy.

      Sure, it’s not a “vertical clutch integrated column wheel chronograph” but I can live with that 🙂

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Anyone said it’s a workhorse of a movement.

    • Yep 🙂

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Oh,……so you did 🙂

        • But the world time module is a nice addition. There is a version of the 775x with a GMT hand but not a world time ring nor with day and date in that version. So Ball did some unique work here.

  • JosephWelke

    Very nice watch incorporating two useful complications. My one request is that it would come with a black dial.

  • I would have liked to have seen a blued handset on this; silver hands on a white dial don’t provide enough contrast for legibility. But that’s minor niggling, really – it’s a nice looking piece.

  • SuperStrapper

    This would just never be the kind of watch I shop at Ball for. It’s nice but too derivative and aside from the seconds hand counterweight it doesn’t really carry any of Balls signatures.

    It has just a little too much ww.tc going on for me.

  • Richard Baptist

    Nice looking piece and for not too bad a price. I also like if they use the micro gas tubes here it’s subtle. I like some of the watches – except when they try to make numbers with the micro gas tubes, it just looks clumsy. This however is well done.

  • Yanko

    The lume tubes ruin the dial.

    • BJ314

      Yeah, who wants to use their watch at night. That would be a stupid idea. Get rid of the lume!

      Said no one ever.

  • Good Gene 42K18

    Ariel, it’s not too late to just turn this into a Bremont article. I need 5 per day!

    • Lash LaRue de Bayou

      All I need is a pint a day
      And a Bremont and a plane
      And a bale of hay
      Keeping dem French customs officials
      At bay

  • ILOW

    Business Class BJ to SH but wearing a Ball…

    • Bilal Khan

      Some of us aren’t so insecure 😉

  • Prabir Mehta

    I bought the older version of this watch a few months ago. Love it! It has a great combination of style, features, esp. the world time (I regularly fly across the world), chronograph and day/date. I prefer my dial to this one but that’s subjective. The wobble when you adjust the time and the world time ring moves is there but you get used to it. Overall, my favorite dress watch.

  • Phil Evans

    That’s a ball i’d wear.

  • hatster

    Add a little contrast to the sub-dials and I think that’s a very tasty watch…..

  • Jason

    I’d wear it! The lug chamfers are the best part of this ball

  • Jermaine Scott

    I purchased the black dial version without the chronograph. It is a really nice watch. I also like the fact that it did not have the RR logo at the end of the second hand. That detail that most love kept me away from Ball watches. So far it is averaging -.8 seconds per day according to the Toolwatch.io app. So far I am impressed. That’s especially with the gas tubes which can be read at night…all night.

  • BadgerHeel

    Overall looks good and I like the design. I still wish world time/travel type watches like this would be made for at least 100m WR so you have the option of taking it with you into the ocean or hotel pool (I understand you wouldn’t take a nice leather strap in the water, but it could be on a bracelet or rubber strap)

  • Lucian Virciu

    This watch is so beautiful. I absolutely love it.