Over the last two years I have discovered quite a few exciting watchmakers located in the United States. It is also one of the most lucrative and progressive markets in the world. Ultimately this is because the demand is so high in this region. For that reason Devon, Sisu, Deep Blue, Lum-Tec, Egard and Lew & Huey are flourishing. There are also a range of artisans like Donald W. Corson, Frank Heydrich and Richard Paige who custom make all of their watches to order. In fact Richard is so proud of his heritage he even equips them all with vintage American mechanical movements.
Ball Watch has roots in Fredericktown, Ohio and was established by Webb C. Ball. Interestingly until twenty years ago direct descendants of the family owned the business. Subsequently in the early 1990’s the name was sold to Swiss investors. In a similar manner to Louis Moinet, Graham and Arnold & Son, they honour the fine traditions of the past. This is sympathetically reflected on their website, where information can be found about the history of the company and the online museum.
Previously I have tested Ball’s Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQuest and their BMW Chronograph. Both of these timepieces display an enormous amount of character and were a pleasure to review. The Trainmaster Pulsemeter II is one of their latest and exciting models. Fortunately due the exceptional kindness of the Avstev Group in Sydney (http://www.avstev.com), I was able to get access to this fine watch.
Dimensionally the timepiece is slightly smaller than the Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQuest and their BMW Chronograph measuring 42mm x 15.65mm. These proportions suit the style of watch and should appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Generally I found the timepiece sat comfortably on my wrist and I didn’t experience any friction from the lugs. Primarily this is down to the classical case design and choice of 316L stainless steel in production. Personally I would have expected a more exotic material like ceramic or titanium for a watch of this price. However that is purely my opinion and I am sure not everyone will agree with my viewpoint.
The Trainmaster Pulsemeter II has a really cool and distinctive façade. What makes this watch so attractive is the stylish black dial with contrasting gold markers and hands. These characteristics have been executed well and give the timepiece a high quality appearance. Other striking features include 18 micro gas tubes (for easy night time reading) three sporty sub counters, anti-reflective sapphire crystal lens and a large day/date window. Overall the composition is refined and the attention to detail is first rate.
At the heart of the watch is the reliable self-winding Caliber Ball RR1402, which is based on the ETA Valjoux 7750. The movement comprises 25-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). This mechanism is perfectly showcased through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Trainmaster Pulsemeter II features hours, minutes, seconds, day/date and chronograph timers. The timepiece also is shock resistant to 5,000 Gs and is water resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
The Trainmaster Pulsemeter II (as tested) has a stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp. Priced at $3,999.
For more information visit the company’s website: http://www.ballwatch.com