Recently I have written quite a few articles featuring watchmakers (marketed at various price points) located in the USA. Most of them are producing a range of well-designed and distinctive timepieces. Notable commercial brands include Ritmo Mundo, Android, Egard and Sisu to name just a few. There are also smaller companies like RPaige based in Hawaii (who uses historical American mechanical movements), Frank Heydrich (specialising in meteorite watches) and Donald W. Corson.
A few months ago I wrote an in depth review featuring renowned watchmaker Ball. The timepiece I featured is called the Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQUEST and is water resistant to a staggering depth of 3,000 metres. Although the company originated in the US, all their watches are now manufactured in La Chaux-de-Fonds Switzerland. Recently I was invited by the Avstev group in Sydney to try one of their latest models. The watch in question is the collaboration with BMW and aptly called the Ball for BMW Chronograph.
Many brands have designed timepieces in association or inspired by automobile manufacturers. Two of my favourites are Hublot’s MP05 La Ferrari and Parmigiani Fleurier’s sublime Bugatti timepiece. These sensational creations are exceptionally exclusive and therefore won’t be accessible to most buyers. In contrast Ball have created a timepiece with BMW that is not only stylish but also relatively affordable. Dimensionally the watch measures 44mm x 13.25mm, which by todays standards is about average. These proportions should appeal to a wide cross section of buyers including German car enthusiasts. Generally I found the watch sat comfortably on my wrist and I didn’t experience any friction from the lugs. Even though the stainless steel case feels fairly lightweight I would have preferred use of high performance materials like titanium or carbon.
Visually the Ball for BMW Chronograph has a really high quality and sporty appearance. The watch has a plethora of features including a stylish black textured guilloche dial with three sub counters, large day/date window and tachymeter. Although I really like many characteristics of the design I feel they had the potential to expand much further. I would love to have seen actual elements from BMW cars rather than just the logo and small details from the interior. Italian watch brand Meccaniche Veloci effectively incorporated real parts from cars, boats and planes on the dials of some of their watches. They even constructed a watchcase from the same carbon ceramic found in Brembo brakes.
To power the watch Ball has equipped it with a reliable COSC-chronometer-certifiedETA (Valjoux) 7750 self-winding movement. This calibre comprises 25-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The mechanism is perfectly showcased through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Ball for BMW Chronograph features, hours, minutes, small seconds, day/date window and chronograph counter. The watch also has a power reserve of around 40 hours and is water resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
The Ball for BMW Chronograph I tried on, came with a durable steel bracelet. Priced at: $4,995.
For more information visit the company’s website: http://www.ballwatch.com/