5 Stunning Swiss-Made Timepieces From Ball Watch Company

by Andy Jones on Jan 25, 2023

5 Stunning Swiss-Made Timepieces From Ball Watch Company

Very few watch companies can claim that their timepieces were engineered to prevent a life-threatening situation. Undoubtedly, military watches have significantly impacted humanity by saving lives & fostering precise timekeeping. But talking about real-life or death scenarios? Not many watch brands can put that on their resume.

Ball Watches are different.

In the 1890s, a hapless railroad tragedy caused by an inadequate watch left numerous Americans dead. Consequently, Webb C. Ball was assigned the daunting mission of creating an accurate & reliable timepiece to avert similar disasters in the future.

And that connection to the railroads is still at the watch brand's core. It's a great tale & one we will return to later. First, let us witness some of the best watches that Ball Watch Company - now a Swiss-owned company - currently produces.

The Best Ball Watches

Ball's range is heavily influenced by the company's connection to railroads, allowing for a wide variety of inspired watches. Therefore, we will present some of Ball's finest pieces that express functionality & vintage-inspired trends.

As you can notice, Ball has implemented GTLS illumination technology into its watches. Although this is not an absolute one-of-a-kind feature, it definitely makes them stand out from the crowd. Later we will learn more about the brand's history & discuss the build quality of the watches.

Before we delve any further, it is essential to assess the brand's current collection - & we can assure you that some stunning pieces are worth exploring!

1. Ball Engineer M

The Marvelight from Ball encompasses the company's ethos perfectly. This timepiece is straightforward, reliable & incredibly efficient at best: telling you the time. It has a mid-size design featuring an automatic movement powered by GTLS illumination – or Tritium, as some may know – which entails small gas-filled tubes that offer around 25 years of continuous 24/7 glow without any external power source required!

The Marvelight integrates this innovative technology into the raised markers & on the hands to create an unforgettable experience. Per the Railroad heritage, you can read the watch in any lighting available! Its 80-hour power reserve surpasses most quartz models, providing excellent reliability & versatility. This is no ordinary wristwatch; it's a tool designed with precision to give you confidence every step of your journey.

Ball Engineer M is all about history & quality.

This Swiss-made watch boasts an exquisite mechanical movement that can be admired from the exhibition. It is even a tribute to its American roots, as the 'RR' design on the counterweight of its second-hand pays homage to RailRoad Certification for their earlier watches! Its impeccable craftsmanship offers durability & style & a journey through history.

2. Ball Skindiver II 

The Skindiver II is the opposite of the Marvelight; it's bigger, heavier & designed for ocean excursions rather than railway travel. However, this model still has a story as it pays homage to its predecessor - the brand's skin-diver watch from over five decades ago in the early 1960s.

Our admiration of skin-diver watches knows no bounds. During the 1950s, they were developed as a lighter version of professional dive watches & their understated design still appeals today.

Well, that was the plan.

Ball has taken its traditional design to the next level with this model. At 43mm & 500M water resistance, it is slim & lightweight yet retains the classic skin diver look – a straightforward case, simple black dial & bezel. But to guarantee optimal brightness without compromising these features, Ball opted for GTLS illumination over painted-on lume.

The outcome is undoubtedly awe-inspiring - provided you don't mind the variance from the original slim design of Skin Divers. Moreover, it features an appealing Ball automatic movement (created using a Swiss ETA base). As such, this piece presents a top-notch quality that guarantees more water resistance than ever necessary.

If you are aiming for a contemporary timepiece with an appreciation of Ball's storied past, then this is the perfect watch for you.

3. Ball Hydrocarbon Original 

The Ball Hydrocarbon Original is a robust diver watch with a classic vibe that makes it stand out from the pack. Its crown guard adds an additional layer of sophistication, but look closer & you'll find plenty more to appreciate! 

From its distinct design points to some fascinating features, this timepiece has all kinds of detail waiting for anyone willing to take the time to explore.

Where to start?

Let's begin with the crown, which guarantees it remains securely screwed in. Then, we have the bezel - this piece has a sapphire crystal for added protection - a rarity among watches. Lastly, the GTLS illumination system is cleverly tucked beneath the dial & bezel; when cut away at markers, it reveals glowing tubes underneath.

The intricate details of this watch are what makes it so enticing. Although, you should be mindful that it has a hefty presence due to its immense 14.5mm thickness & large crown. Its impressiveness is the incredible 200M water resistance rating, anti-magnetic shielding & numerous shock absorbent features!

This is Ball's bulletproof watch.

4. Ball Manufacture 80 HRS

Ball's dress watch is a classically elegant model that distinguishes itself from its Fireman counterpart with an extended 80-hr power reserve - perfect for those who frequently switch their timepieces.
And at 40mm, the case & 12mm thickness make this piece ideal for wrists of all sizes. It's no surprise that Ball remains one of the most famous watch choices today.

But let's forget about all of that for a minute.

Look at the beautiful dial of this watch. Its deep blue hue & clean lines make it a timeless classic. Yet, with GTLS tubes cleverly integrated into its hands & markers, modern technology is impressively blended into this vintage piece.

Again Ball outdoes itself by not allowing style to be sacrificed for function - they have made something extraordinary here!

And that's why this watch made it onto our list.

5. Ball Marine GMT

To conclude, we have one watch that is especially notable for its complexity & features. It has various hues available, but the Root Beer version stands out. The dial & case buttons are an impressive sight – you can tell there's a lot packed into this timepiece!

The GMT watch from Ball is an incredible invention. With two buttons, you can easily adjust the time zone without manually blowing a second crown. One button moves back or forward one hour - making it easy to stay on top of multiple time zones simultaneously!

Not only have they produced a watch that can efficiently adjust the day & date for two different time zones, but also it comes with an exciting look that allures even the most dedicated watching geeks. Equipped with multiple features, this GMT watch was designed to resemble a tool—and rightfully so, since its primary purpose is to assist pilots in their navigation!

The Roadmaster Marine GMT is an exemplary demonstration of Ball's dedication to quality & craftsmanship. Boasting a Sellita automatic movement as its base drivetrain, it boasts a robust titanium case encasing the mid-sized beauty within.

And the Root Beer colouring? That is the icing on the cake.

Take a closer look at this one-of-a-kind Swiss watch with its outstanding features. This timepiece sports an impressive ceramic bezel, sapphire crystals - both front & back - for extra protection & Tritium tubes sure to provide incredible illumination. Trust us when we say you will want to take advantage of this opportunity!

If you need any more motivation. It's limited to 1000 pieces.

A Brief History Of Ball Watches

Ball stands out among Swiss heritage brands with an easy-to-understand & widely known background. This is what today's Ball watches draw their inspiration from.

After a disastrous train accident in Ohio during the 1890s, Railroads recognized the necessity to standardize their timing. They appointed Webb C. Ball as Chief Time Inspector. This marked the beginning of what we now know as Ball Watches.

As a result of his ingenuity, Mr Ball created the railroad standard for all watches employed on railways. This included multiple must-have features that (to this day) can be observed in any Ball watch, such as the 'RR' referenced by its second hand - a nod to Railroad Standard's long-standing legacy!

It's an understatement to say that Ball was successful in this endeavour. By 1908, they had serviced more than one million watches for nearly 200 railroads - a feat of astounding success! 

Unfortunately, like many watch companies, their ownership changed over time & they eventually landed with a Swiss company based out of La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Are Ball Watches Good Quality

Absolutely! Though they're pretty pricey, ranging from one to two thousand pounds, you would get a fantastic product with these watches. This type of investment comes with top-notch quality & specifications that will not disappoint.

There are a couple of points to note.

  • Ball watches utilize their own mechanical movements, built from the groundwork provided by Sellita & ETA - two highly-regarded Swiss companies. With this in mind, you can be confident that they've got reliable mechanisms at work.
  • Additionally, Ball is amongst a select group of companies that frequently rely on GTLS to give their watches an illuminated glow. Luminox & Traser are two other examples. This illumination provides continuous light for up to 25 years without fail. Therefore, the Ball brand's watch quality always stays within its high standard.

It's worth emphasizing that the company is highly inventive & equips its watches with uncommon features. Let us give you an example - the last watch on this list has a distinct method of setting up a second timezone.

Let us remember the Hydrocarbon Original, with its Tritium underlaid on the dial & bezel. Its cutaways reveal a light source you won't see in most places - how cool is that?

Where Are Ball Watches Made?

Ball has become a Swiss-owned enterprise, with all watches fabricated in La Chaux-de-Fonds. 

Ball only uses top-notch Swiss automatic movements from Sellita & ETA to ensure their products' best quality & reliability. 

Furthermore, they proudly display 'Swiss Made' on every watch dial to guarantee its authenticity.


Ball watches are often overlooked, but why? Based in Switzerland & widely accessible, these timepieces feature a captivating backstory which fuels their design. However, one must experience them to comprehend the electrifying essence of these watches; after exploring this article's showcase of Ball models, we have no doubt you'll be convinced!

Combining several styles, Ball watches have a unified brand ethos & consistent DNA. If we had to encapsulate the distinctive qualities of their timepieces in one phrase, it would be:

  • vintage-inspired
  • reference the railroads
  • have an automatic movement
  • tritium illumination

And, of course, it would have Ball's distinctive second hand. So Uncover the mystery for yourself. Explore the links of the Ball watches from one of the best authorized retailer in New York, i.e. Time Source Jewelers

TSJNY has the most outstanding selection of Ball Watches & these timepieces offer something for everyone. Their highly trained, knowledgeable staff will help you find the perfect one for your wrist. Visit us today to explore a world of bold, beautiful timepieces, and sure to impress!

And do share your findings with us in a comment below! Remember to note Ball's iconic second-hand when you're finished.