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In 1891, about 40 miles west of Cleveland, a fast mail train collided 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 Roadmaster Marine GMT Black Ceramic - Ltd Ed 1000pcs Ref. DG3030B-S7CJ-BK
Ball watches are renowned for their precision, robustness, and durability. This new Roadmaster Marine GMT Black continues to uphold Ball’s official railroad standards. With a wearable 40mm diameter, the watch has a thickness of 14mm and a lug-to-lug of only 47.8mm. This set of dimensions helps ensure the timepiece will sit nicely on the wrist and is suitable for almost all wrist sizes. While it might seem like the watch is a tad thick, a 14mm thickness on a 40mm watch will not look out of place and is only around 0.5mm thicker than your average dive watch. The watch is made of Grade 5 Titanium, adding to its wearability due to the lightweight nature of the material. The titanium case is entirely satin-brushed, adding a utilitarian effect to the watch.
The deep black dial has large Arabic numerals at 12, 6, and 9, while baton-style indices are used throughout. A day/date complication is at 3, providing a helpful complication if this were to be a daily piece. As a GMT timepiece, the watch also features a black bi-directional ceramic bezel that allows the wearer to track a second time zone. The unique feature of the Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT lies in the way the GMT hand is adjusted. Unlike your typical GMT watches where the hand is adjusted by turning the crown, Ball has designed a patented quick set mechanism with the screw-down pushers at 10 and 8. Engaging the pusher at 10 o’clock would advance the GMT hand while the pusher at 8 will move the GMT hand backward. This quick set mechanism takes a bit of getting used to, but it is straightforward and efficient, especially when travelling. Protecting the dial is a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating that helps to enhance dial legibility even in harsh lighting.
|Automatic caliber BALL RR1203-C, Chronometer certified COSC
Of course, being a Ball watch, this watch is shock-resistant up to an insane 5,000G and is anti-magnetic to 4,800 A/m. The screw-down crown, pushers, and caseback also give the timepiece 200m of water resistance, making it truly capable of handling whatever you throw at it.
Another unique feature of Ball’s watches is their use of tritium instead of conventional Superluminova. On this Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT, the hands and indices hold 28 micro gas tubes for night reading capability. 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 gas tubes have a lifespan of over 25 years and also do not require an external energy source to function.
|3 time zone indication with patented quick set mechanism|
Flipping the watch reveals an exhibition caseback showcasing the Ball Calibre RR1203-C. It is a COSC-certified chronometer, which means it has a stated accuracy of -4/+6 seconds per day - truly impressive for its price point. The movement is an ETA-based calibre that has an in-house module built on top that allows for an efficient GMT setting.
Ball pairs the Roadmaster Marine GMT on a 20mm titanium/stainless steel bracelet. The satin-brushed areas on the bracelet are titanium, while the center links that feature polished bevel edges are stainless steel. The bracelet feels lightweight and well-built, which allows the user to wear the watch on the wrist for a long time without feeling the need to take it off due to any discomfort.
|28 micro gas tubes on hour, minute and GMT hands and dial for night reading capability|
All in all, this latest addition to the Roadmaster Marine GMT lineup is a welcomed one that brings a fresh new colour that we think will prove to be highly popular among collectors and the average watch-wearer alike. As a limited edition timepiece of just 1,000 pieces worldwide, this Ball timepiece is one that you do not want to miss. Blink, and it could already be gone.