In 1891 6,335 people were killed and 35,362 injured on the American Railroads, due to inaccurate railroad timing. To combat the substantial loss of life, on September 3rd, 1891, one of the great American Railroad companies, appointed Webb C. Ball as Chief Time Inspector. Mr. Webb C. Ball penned his instructions to the American watch manufacturers to create the official Railroad standard in the horological community. In this very moment the Ball Watch brand has been forged its name in American and Horological history. With the creation of the Ball watch company the official Railroad chronometer was born. Ball’s timepieces, with it’s very high standards then become the official railroad standard watch. These specialized timepieces became critical for safety and operational timetables of train order. These highly accurate timepieces were then used to prevent the accidents like the devastating Kipton Ohio train collision.
Webb C. Ball’s, time pieces had several requirements in order to meet the Railroad chronometer accuracy demands. The typical requirements were:
- Only American-made watches may be used (depending on availability of spare parts)
- Only open-faced dials, with the stem at 12 o’clock
- Minimum of 17 functional jewels in the movement
- 16 or 18-size only
- Maximum variation of 30 seconds (approximately 4 seconds daily) per weekly check
- Watch adjusted to at least five positions: Face up and face down (the positions a watch might commonly take when laid on a flat surface); then crown up, crown pointing left, and crown pointing right (the positions a watch might commonly take in a pocket). Occasionally a sixth position, crown pointing down, would be included.
- Adjusted for severe temperature variance and isochronism (variance in spring tension)
- Indication of time with bold legible Arabic numerals, outer minute division, second dial, heavy hands,
- lever used to set the time (no risk of inadvertently setting the watch to an erroneous time, when winding the watch with the stem)
- Breguet balance spring
- micrometer adjustment regulator
- Double roller escapement
- Steel escape wheel
- Anti-magnetic protection (after the advent of diesel-electric locomotives)
Ball’s, safety standards and timepieces standards demand then encompassed a remarkable 175000 miles of the American railroad system. The Time Signal Service of the United States Naval Observatory was responsible for testing the accuracy of the infamous railroad chronometer. To this day the phase, “Ball’s Time,” spoken among American Railroad men still ring true today.
The Legend Lives on today in this remarkable legacy:
The American watch industry has fallen to the vast technology of our time, but the Ball Watch Company lives on in the rigorous standards of Swiss watchmaking. Today the Ball watch company continues to push the boundaries of the watchmaking, with new improvements to accuracy, shock protection, magnetism and visibility of time keeping in adverse conditions.
To safeguard this legacy of American Watchmaking, quality to innovation, and accuracy of today’s Ball timepieces, the Ball watch company has partnered with Time Innovations. Today Time Innovations is authorized and trusted to maintain the heritage and accuracy to Ball’s amazing timepieces. Time Innovations preforms several functions for the Ball Watch company.
- Battery Change
- Warranty Repair
- Complete Service / Movement Overhaul
- Replacement of any faulty watch parts
- Analyze whether the watch parts function correctly, and check for rust or wear
- Assemble and lubricate the movement in accordance with the technical documentation
- Movement accuracy check and calibration if necessary
- Demagnetization of the mechanism
- Crystal replacement
- Hands replacement
- Gaskets and seal replacement
- Stem and crown replacement
- Dial replacement or restoration
- Ultrasound cleaning of the case and bracelet
- Watchbands or Strap replacement
- Exterior Cosmetics including Buffing, Polishing and Restoration
- Pressure testing to factory specifications
Here at Time Innovations we understand the importance of your Ball timepiece, it’s esthetics, it’s accuracy, it’s heritage, it’s history. Ball’s timepieces, standards, name, and excellence has withstood the test of time. Time Innovations is authorized and here to keep your Ball Timepiece accurate for generations to come.