Racer watch has roots in American railroad history

Ball Watch offers its Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph for $3,599

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Swiss watch
Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph is designed for drivers | Ball Watch photos

A Swiss watch-making company rooted in American railroad history has unveiled its news timepiece, which is designed for drivers of cars rather than locomotives.

The Engineer Hydrocarbon Racer Chronograph “is a complex model combining hours, minutes, seconds and date functions,” says the Ball Watch Company of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. 

“For the true race car enthusiast, it is also equipped with a chronograph that makes sporty automotive gauges pale in comparison. Its brushed steel (or ceramic) bezel is marked by a tachymetric scale allowing it to monitor speed at any time.”

Ball was founded in 1891 as a result of a head-on collision by trains in Kipton, Ohio.

 “American railroad companies appointed Webster Clay Ball as ‘Chief Time Inspector’ to supervise newly synchronized timing protocols,”  according to Ball Watch. “This standardized ‘railroad time’ efficiency originated the popular ‘Be on the Ball’ proverb and inspired the future Swiss Society of Chronometry which governs the highest watch timing certification standards today.”

Ball notes that its RR1401-C movement, “a genuine mechanical motor, is COSC-certified (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing), thus ensuring maximum precision.  

“For both day and nighttime reading, tubes of green H3 gas have been affixed to the dial and hands with a color distinction at 12 o’clock where the tubes are yellow. These iconic, state-of-the-art tubes allow for unparalleled brightness in the dark, illuminating up to 100 times brighter than the Super LumiNova paint typically used in the watch industry. Impressively, the Swiss technology glass-filled microcapsules require no external charge source.”

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Ball’s Racer Chronograph model has a 42mm stainless steel case with a bezel in stainless or black ceramic. Three dial colors are available. The watch is said to be water-resistant up to 100 meters, and resistant to shocks of up to 7.5 g and magnetic fields of up to 4.8 A/m, which Ball says makes it ideal for extreme terrain.

The watch has an MSRP of $3,599. For more information, visit the Ball Watch website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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