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In 1891, about 40 miles west of Cleveland, a fast mail train collided head-on with a passenger train. This accident later became known as the Great Kipton Train Wreck. The cause of the accident? The passenger train’s conductor’s watch had stopped functioning for a mere 4 minutes before restarting.
After that collision, renowned jeweller Webb C. Ball was appointed Chief Time Inspector to investigate the accident’s timekeeping issues. Ball then formulated a new timekeeping system for the railroad industry, revolutionising timekeeping (in the industry) and thus making train travel significantly safer for both passengers and employees. The watches that employees used were certified and issued by Ball, which led to the birth of the legendary company known today as Ball Watch Co.
|Ball Fireman Enterprise Black Ref. NM2098C-S20-BK
Ball watches are renowned for their precision, robustness, and durability. This latest reintroduction of the Ball Fireman Enterprise Black is no different. Coming in at a classic 40mm in diameter and a 48mm lug-to-lug, the watch is only 11.5mm thick. The 40mm case with a relatively short lug-to-lug will fit comfortably on almost all wrist sizes. Hence, it is no surprise that many consider such a set of dimensions the “perfect” size.
The Fireman Enterprise series is Ball’s entry-level offering. However, that is not to say that Ball skimped on materials and case finishing. Made from 316L stainless steel, the case of the Fireman Enterprise Black has a mixture of brushed and polished surfaces - with the sides of the case and the bevelled bezel polished, and the lugs and other parts of the case expertly satin-brushed.
|40mm case with multiple parts and case finishing. "RR" logo crown|
The black dial of the Fireman Enterprise Black features thin, long rectangular indices throughout, with a shortened index at 3 o’clock to accommodate the recessed date window. Dauphine hands are used, adding an extra oomph of class to an already elegant timepiece. The counterweight of the seconds hand also features Ball’s logo, a unique touch not found on many watches from other brands. Protecting the classy dial is a piece of domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, enabling the wearer to tell time even in harsh lighting conditions.
As for dial legibility in dark conditions, Ball solves that by having 15 micro gas tubes affixed on the indices, hour, minute, and seconds hands. By using innovative Swiss laser technology, the gas tubes are up to a hundred times brighter than your typical luminescent paint used in the watch industry. The micro gas tubes also have a lifespan of a staggering 25 years and do not require an external energy source to function.
|Polished daupine hands with tritium gas tubes|
As mentioned earlier, despite this being an entry-level Ball watch, the brand does not skimp on the design as well as the functionality of the timepiece. Its toughness is in line with Ball watches that command a much higher price tag. The Fireman Enterprise Black is anti-magnetic up to 4,800A/m and can withstand up to 5,000Gs of shock, making it ISO1413 certified. The watch also has 100m of water resistance, thanks to its screwed-down crown and caseback.
Powering the Ball Watch Fireman Enterprise Black is the calibre BALL RR1103. This movement is based on either the ETA 2824-2 or Selita SW200-1 movement. It has 25/26 jewels, beats at 28,800 BPH and has a power reserve of roughly 38 hours. The movement is a workhorse that has been used by many watchmakers and will ensure accurate and reliable timekeeping.
|Fireman Enterprise features 15 X Tritium gas tubes|
Ball pairs the Fireman Enterprise Black on a 20mm bracelet. The bracelet is reminiscent of an H-Link bracelet and features satin brushed outer links and a highly polished centre link. It tapers to a signed folding buckle. The distinctive look of the bracelet adds to the elegant look of the timepiece, making the watch “whole”.
All in all, the Ball Watch Fireman Enterprise Black Ref. NM2098C-S20J-BK is available exclusively at Gnomon Watches in South East Asia, and is extremely value for money and punches way above its price tag. Sporting a classic set of dimensions and a quintessential black dial layout, Ball has ticked all the boxes when it comes to style. On top of that, the functional aspects of the watch add a utilitarian aspect to an appealing timepiece - making this watch an excellent choice for an everyday watch. Available only exclusively to Gnomon Watches in Singapore, this latest Ball release is definitely fire.