Before the development of railroads across the United States, there was no need for a standardisation of time or any real accuracy in time keeping. Each town kept its own local time, based on the position of the sun. When trains began to connect really distant cities, it got problematic and difficult to avoid collisions. Moreover, there was no policy nor standards for the watches used by the railroad employees.
On 18th April 1891, a head-on collision between two trains in Kipton, Ohio, resulted in several human deaths. At the time, trains were using the same lines in opposite directions and had to cross each other at defined crossing points. That day, one of the conductors’ watches stopped for four minutes leading to the fatal collision.
In order to make train rides safer for travelers and employees of the railroads, Webb C. Ball was designated “Chief Time Inspector” and set up tests and standards for all watches used on the trains. Ball’s criteria of accuracy and reliability were so strict that they later inspired others like the Swiss Official Testing Institute (COSC).
Today, Ball Watch is one of the most respected and established watch brands in the United States. It continues to update the product range in the 21st century to keep pace with shifting consumer patterns. But, despite changes in appearance, the founding spirit of the brand - industrial function - is never compromised. It is upheld in Ball's original details, such as the watch dial that faithfully follows his design guidelines for the standard railway watch. Every detail, from the shape of the hands to the style of the numerals, was laid down by the founder in his quest for accuracy in timekeeping. It is a vision that the Ball family remains faithful to. For legions of men and women today whose split-second decisions keep the world ticking, it is a shared commitment.