The Ball Trainmaster Worldtime is one of the cheapest world time watches in existence, and it offers a lot of interesting features. The dial highlights the logo “Official RR standard” which dates back to the brand’s history. The company was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1891, by Webb C. Ball, a railroad “time inspector,” but it is now based in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland.
The hour and minute hands, and hour markers, are luminous, with light provided by micro gas tubes, powered by H3 (tritium), producing light that is initially 100 times more intense than SuperLuminova, with a lifetime of 25 years. This is a totally safe form of radioactivity, with tritium that releases low-energy beta particles activating a luminescent coating within the mineral glass tubes. The differentiated colours are an attractive feature. Read more about the process here.
GMT calibre based on an ETA movement
The watch is powered by the BALL RR1501-C calibre, which is basically the ETA 2836-2 that has been modified, adding a 24-hour output that in this piece is used to drive the 24-hour worldtime ring. The movement is chronometer-certified by COSC. The view through the porthole-type window in the caseback reveals the calibre with its personalized oscillating weight.
Stepped dial design
The dial provides a sense of depth through its successive levels: the cities ring at the edge is highest, followed by the 24-hour worldtime ring that rotates anti-clockwise to show the time at any place in the world. Then the central part with the hour, minute and second hands, and two windows for day and date. The case is 41 mm in diameter and – considering the dial design – fairly slim at 12.5 mm. Water resistance is 5 bar, 50 metres. It is available with a crocodile leather strap with buckle or clasp, or a stainless steel bracelet.
The Ball Trainmaster Worldtime turns a basic GMT capability – what is normally a 24-hour hand indicating the time in a second time zone – into a world timer display by using the 24-hour output to drive a complete 24-hour ring with day/night differentiation, read off against the fixed cities ring. The result is one of the cheapest world time watches on the market. The 24-hour display and the local time are simply adjusted separately using different positions of the crown.
Price and availability
The Ball Trainmaster Worldtime is available in two versions, black or white dial. Its export price is 2,350 Swiss francs, €2,100. The black dial version is reference GM2020D-S1CJ-BK, the white dial version shown below is reference GM2020D-LL1CJ-SL. More information from the Ball Watch website.