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My Ball Waltham Pocket Watch


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I thought forum members might be interested to see one or two of the pocket watches and wristwatches in my collection. As far as pocket watches are concerned, I concentrate on American Railroad Grade watches. Here's a couple of pics of my 1903 Ball-Waltham:

 

Ball%20face.JPG

 

Ball%20movement.JPG

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Yes - the Ball Company didn't actually make watches. They collaborated with watch manufacturers like Hamilton and Waltham to regulate, test and certify their pocket watches as "railroad approved". So: crown wound and lever set; at least 17 jewels; black arabic numerals; seconds sub-dial; adjusted for temperature and at least 5 positions. Hence the Ball seal of approval on the face and on the movement.

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That's a very fine pocket watch and looks to be in a gold case,  unless my eyes fail me,  definitely one worth saving and caring for.

 

Many fine movements (High grade minute repeaters for example)  were thrown in the bin just to sell the 18ct gold case as scrap.  Today the movement would be worth much more than the gold value of the case.  Sad to think of all the fine watches that died for a few bucks.

 

RogerC 

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Sad to think of all the fine watches that died for a few bucks.

 

RogerC 

 

So true.. I have a box full of great pocket watch movements where the jewellers have scrapped in the gold. Almost like an elephants graveyard.

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Presumably, Mark, your 'elephants graveyard' is a good source for spares for repairs to older movements. I've seen some great pocket watch movements for sale - the problem is getting cases for them, as few people seem to make and sell them as commercial objects these days. In the heyday of the pocket watch, particularly in America, you could go into a shop, select your movement and then select the case of your choice.

 

I often wonder if there's an opportunity for an enterprising watch company to do that nowadays - the customer goes in and picks a movement, casing and bracelet/strap to suit - probably not!

 

There is a chap in Hertfordshire who actually makes cases. He's a craftsman and naturally charges craftsman's prices for a case - so you'd want a damned good movement to start with, one that would warrant such an artefact.

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An interesting adage to this story about Mr Ball. After a big train crash in the states concerning a head-on crash between two locos, the government got involved to make sure it wouldn't happen again.

 

As it was concerning time and one engineers timepiece being wrong led to the tragedy so Mr Ball invented the railroad timepiece so all engineers had the same time.

 

Hence the saying comes from of "Being on the BALL." Another useless but interesting piece of history.

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