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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.
|Ball Trainmaster Titanium Black Ref. NM1038D-L5J-BK|
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 watches are renowned for their precision, robustness, and durability. This new Trainmaster Titanium Black continues to uphold Ball’s official railroad standards. The Trainmaster is made of Grade 5 titanium and feels lightweight on the wrist, resulting in a pleasant wearing experience. The dimensions of the timepiece also help a ton - at 38mm in diameter, the watch has a short lug-to-lug of 45.5mm and a height of 10.35mm.
|Lightweight Grade 5 titanium case|
People would often think of a titanium watch as completely satin-brushed, but that is not the case with the Trainmaster Titanium Black. The case is finely satin-brushed while the bezel is high-polished. So polished, in fact, that the writer almost mistook it for stainless steel! The applied indices and sword-style hands sit atop a beautifully rich, black dial that exudes confidence and charm.
The dial features baton indices throughout, with thicker batons at 12, 6, and 9. A white date wheel can be found at 3, adding a useful complication that does not mess up the dial's proportions because it balances out the opposite index at 9. A piece of anti-reflective sapphire crystal protects the dial and aids legibility in harsh lighting. The screw-down crown and screw-on caseback give the watch 30m of water resistance, ample for a dress watch.
|14 micro gas tubes on hour, minute and second hands and dial for night reading capability|
Like all Ball watches held to the highest railroad standards, this Trainmaster Titanium Black is shock-resistant up to an insane 5,000G and is anti-magnetic to 4,800 A/m. Ball also does without conventional Superluminova. Instead, their watches use micro gas tubes for a more efficient glow in the dark. This timepiece is fitted with 14 gas tubes on the hands and dial to enhance night reading capability. The gas tubes are up to a hundred times brighter than your typical luminescent paint used in the watch industry through innovative Swiss laser technology. The gas tubes also have a lifespan of over 25 years and do not require an external energy source to function.
Turning the watch over will reveal an exhibition case back showcasing the Ball Calibre RR1101. The RR1101 is based on the ETA 2892-2 movement, an upgraded movement of the more commonly used ETA 2824-2. It has 21 jewels, beats at 28,800 BPH, and a power reserve of 42 hours. The ETA 2892 trumps the ETA 2824 in terms of power reserve and thickness - it is almost 2mm thinner than the ETA 2824! As proven over the decades it has been in use, the movement is reliable, robust, and will stand the test of time.
|Exhibition case back with Ball's calibre RR1101|
Ball pairs the Trainmaster Titanium Black on a 19mm black leather strap with cream stitching. The strap feels soft and supple and should conform to the wrist perfectly, allowing for a comfortable fit. The leather strap also tapers gently to a signed Ball buckle.
Dress watches are rarely done in titanium. The fact that Ball has risen to the challenge and introduced a titanium dress watch is definitely worth commending. The Trainmaster Titanium Black packs a ton of watch into a perfect dress watch diameter, giving customers a brilliant alternative and changing the perception of what a dress watch should be in the eyes of many.