The Stainless Steel Trainmaster Standard Time
In 2013, BALL introduced the 18kt. rose gold Trainmaster Standard Time. Now, three years later, BALL introduces the same Standard Time watch in a stainless steel case. Like its precious metal predecessor, the steel watch celebrates the United States transition from more than 70 time zones, to five time zones, an event that took place eight years before the BALL Watch Company was founded in Cleveland, Ohio. The day of this coordinating event, known as "The Day of Two Noons", was November 18th, 1883. Ultimately, Webb Ball would lead his company to help standardizing railroad time, and according to BALL Watch USA CEO Jeff Hess, he became the primary timekeeping inspector for over 1,750 miles of railroad track.
Last year, when we looked at the Cleveland Night Express, we could trace the design inspiration to a specific watch that BALL made in the 1920s. According to Hess, with the Standard Time, there isn't a specific watch that serves as the inspiration in the same way. Instead, it's a celebration of the type of easily readable watch that Webb Ball would have liked, and the kind of style that was prevalent in early BALL watches. This post takes a look at the stainless steel models of the Trainmaster Standard Time. The price of the steel model is $2,499 and is available on black alligator or steel bracelet. The rose gold version introduced in 2013 retails for $7,999.
The best place to start when discussing this watch is the dial configuration. It's a white enamel dial with blued hands, large black arabic numerals, and a seconds subdial at six o'clock. Save for the six o'clock subdial, this dial layout could also be used to describe perhaps the most popular BALL watch around $2,000 dollars, the Trainmaster 60 Seconds II. The Standard Time has a more spartan layout that does not include various features found on the 60 Seconds II, including the inner twenty-four hour scale, day of the week complication, and Arabic minute indices.
The heat blued hands stand out on the white enamel dial of the Trainmaster Standard Time.
The top of the dial of the Trainmaster Standard Time showing the vertical micro gas tubes as the "pip" style hour markers.
The recessed seconds subdial features a combination of Arabic number, line, and dot indices.
The lower portion of the dial featuring the signature "BALL & Company" seven also featured on the 60 Seconds II.
The vibrant heat blued hands (with applied micro gas tubes) of the BALL Trainmaster Standard Time.
At 39.5mm, the watch is slightly smaller than most of the Trainmaster models such as the 60 Seconds II, Cleveland Express, and Power Reserve, which all have 41mm cases. At 10.5mm thick, it is also about as thin as any other BALL watch. Unless BALL comes out with a radically different movement, it's going to be hard for them to break the 10mm barrier because of the extra spacing required to apply tritium tubes on the hands. For now, this is about as thin a BALL watch as there is.
It's worth noting that we've seen this case before in the Trainmaster Eternity. However, though the case and front box crystal appear the same, the back sapphire crystal is different than when the Eternity made its debut in 2009. Back then, the case back featured a small boxed crystal that was a little wider than the rotor. On both current Trainmaster Eternity models as well as the new steel Standard Time, the case back has been replaced with a wider, flat sapphire crystal.
The case back of the new Trainmaster Standard Time in stainless steel.
A picture we took back in 2009 of the boxed crystal that was used on the early Trainmaster Eternity models.
Mechanically, the watch features a Chronometer movement instead of the Elaborate Grade movement that are featured in the 60 Seconds II and the Eternity. This watch features the "pip" style hour indices made of vertically placed tritium gas tubes. The result is a discreet, but effective lume signature. Though the case is slightly smaller, it features the same bracelet and 20mm lug width as the slightly larger 41mm Trainmaster Models.
Is the steel Standard Time the Trainmaster you've been waiting for? Below are additional photos of the Trainmaster Standard Time on both steel bracelet and black alligator strap.
The Trainmaster Standard Time featured here on the Trainmaster bracelet.
The Trainmaster Standard Time on black alligator strap.
A side view of the case, lugs, and crown of the Trainmaster Standard Time in steel.
The minimal, but effective lume signature of the Trainmaster Standard Time.
A comparison shot with the identically cased Trainmaster Eternity (left) and Standard Time (right).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.