The new Ball Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty (Ref. NM2888D-PG-LJ-GYGO) is not just a dressy accessory. It has a piece of history in its name.
Although Ball is not overwhelmingly popular in Europe as a premium brand, they, as far as I know, still enjoy a pretty good reputation in the United States. Also, it must be mentioned that the brand has its own legacy that greatly influenced the watchmaking industry all over the world.
Did you know, for example, that it was the brand’s founding father Webb C. Ball who introduced such a novelty (in the late XIX century, of course) as an assembly line? Besides greatly increasing an average timekeeper’s quality and accuracy, the new manufacturing process at the same time greatly decreased its price (or at least the cost of making it.)
Another thing that you may haven’t been aware of, is that the famous Swiss-based COSC chronometer certification authority based its set of requirements on the guidelines developed by Mr. Ball for the American railroad system.
The guidelines itself have developed around 120 years ago after a particularly nasty railway accident when Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad company asked Mr. Ball’s company to somehow standardize the use of watches by the operator’s employees so that the trains would stop hitting each other due to bad timing.
Well, some people may argue that naming a new model after such a somber event is not a particularly appropriate thing to do, but, still, here we have a new Ball Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty automatic (Ref. NM2888D-PG-LJ-GYGO).
Offered in a compact rose gold body only 35.5 millimeters in diameter and 10.5 mm high (you can’t even imagine how nice it is to see a torrent of normally-sized dress watches after a flood of “sporty” monsters with chunky cases and bombastic designs,) the new watch is produced in two variants that differ from each other only with the colors of their dials.
One, the most imposing to my taste, is presented in an elegant combination of 18-karat rose gold and anthracite (they call it “grey,”) and the other sports a more expensive-looking (but slightly less comfortable to look at,) silver face.
As usual, the timekeepers sport the signature set of 15 luminous tubes filled with T25 (for 25 millicuries) tritium radioactive isotope.
Although this kind of design is usually reserved for “divers” and other military-style timekeepers, Ball Watches somehow manages to integrate the tubes into a classic design without making it look silly.
Since the American brand is currently based in Switzerland, the new Ball Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty is equipped with a good old ETA 2892 automatic ebauche. Ironically, the movement doesn’t seem to be a chronometer-grade job.
Thanks to the choice of caliber (the mass-produced mechanism is almost dirt-cheap when bought in bulk,) the guys somehow decreased its value for a true aficionado but managed to keep the price at more than acceptable level (at least, for a watch that comes in a rose gold body.) The One Hundred Twenty is offered at MSRP of just $6000.
What more can I say? A very impressive timekeeper, indeed.
See also: Ball Trainmaster Celsius
Photos: Ball Watches
Ball Trainmaster One Hundred Twenty (Ref. NM2888D-PG-LJ-GYGO) specification
Price: $6000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber ETA 2892, Swiss Made
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Rose gold, 18-karat
Size: 39.50 mm
Case height: 10.50 mm
Dial: Grey or Silver
Hour markers: Rose gold, luminous, applied
Hands: Rose gold, luminous, dauphine-shaped
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black or brown crocodile leather strap with an 18-karat rose gold buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective