The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.

Ball Trainmaster Pulsemeter Caduceus



Ball Watch Explorer, Dr. Christopher Hillman, is the inspiration for Ball's 2014 Trainmaster Pulsemeter Caduceus. The most notable features on the new Caduceus are the dual pulsemeters. A pulsemeter is a complication for measuring pulse rate or heartbeats per minute. Pulsemeters on watches are usually designed to measure a pulse rate from a count of fifteen or thirty heartbeats. In practice, a tester begins counting heartbeats as the second hand crosses the start of the pulsemeter scale, then determines the pulse rate by viewing where the second hand is on the pulsemeter scale at the 15th beat. For instance, if 15 beats take twenty seconds, then the scale will indicate a pulse rate of 45 beats per minute.

Like the Caduceus, Ball's other Pulsemeter watches, including the Doctor's Chronograph, Pulsemeter Pro, Pulsemeter, and Pulsemeter II, all use 15-count scales. The scale of the Caduceus is unique from Ball's other Pulsemeter watches in two distinct ways. First, the pulsemeter scale is repeated on the dial. Instead of a single scale, the Caduceus presents scales beginning at both the twelve o'clock and six o'clock makers. Second, instead of relying on the chronograph second hand for the calculation, the Caduceus uses the central second hand of the watch. It's the first time Ball has used a pulsemeter on a non chronograph model.

The "caduceus" is the insignia at six o'clock. It is a staff entwined by two snakes with two wings at the top. As Ball's press release for the watch points out, "Alchemists were referred to as sons of Hermes, linking the caduceus to medicine and pharmacy. Numerous medical groups have adopted the caduceus as their symbol during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as did the Medical Department of the United States Army in 1902."

The Caduceus features a blend of both familiar and new elements in a Trainmaster. For those wishing for a smaller piece, the Caduceus features the same 39mm case and 19mm lug width as the retired Trainmaster Sixty Seconds I, and the Trainmaster Streamliner. This makes it significantly smaller than the current formal Trainmaster watches. For example, the Cleveland Express and Trainmaster Power Reserve both feature a 41mm case with 20mm lugs. The Caduceus also features the same white enamel dial as the two aforementioned models. Also like those pieces, "BALL & Co." is styled to form the "7" on the seven o'clock marker to recall 19th century Ball pocket watches.

The newness in the Caduceus comes in sporty touches. In order to make the watch lighter, the case is crafted in titanium. Perhaps inspired by nomadic Dr. Hillman, the brown leather strap with contrast stitching looks more casual than most Trainmaster watches. Like the other enamel dial Trainmasters, the micro gas tubes on the index markers are relatively small though their lume signature appears stronger than many watches in the collection. This is because its tubes are placed on their sides instead of vertically or "on end". While the lume is certainly sufficient to tell time in low light, it is definitely modest when compared to many other Ball watches.

The Trainmaster Pulsemeter Caduceus is a 250-piece limited edition that retails for $1,999. It also holds the designation as Ball's least expensive Chronometer grade watch. Below are additional photos of this limited edition timepiece.

A look at the hands and top half of the dial of the Trainmaster Pulsemeter Caduceus.

The "caduceus" insignia and signature "BALL & Co." styled to form the number 7. Note also the second pulsemeter scale.

One of the two pulsemeter scales on the Trainmaster Pulsemeter Caduceus.

The crown and case side of the 11mm thick Trainmaster Pulsemeter Caduceus.

The brown leather strap is relatively informal and pairs nicely with the titanium case.

The caseback of the Trainmaster Pulsemeter Caduceus.

The relatively spartan yet highly visible lume of the Trainmaster Pulsemeter Caduceus.

The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.