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I have so much trouble with these.
Can someone tell me how I can figure out what a Ball is? Hard one huh?
Just some start information would help, see the attached photo, it was in a recent auction, and I could only use "The Book" to try to find out about this watch, with no real confidence in what I did find.
I couldn't tell about the size, or other info.
I also super sized it myself and still had problems with the serial number. I THINK it says either B208708 or 8208708 and even the 7 is questionable.
Tell me what you think.
It did get 5 bid but did not reach the reserve. Highest bid was $227.50
I'm curious about the Ball watches and this is a good place to start getting some info.
This is a 16 size, Ball - Waltham. The hairspring stud and the "B" prefix to the serial number are the identifying markings you would look for here. The picture is not the best quality. It looks to be a 17 jewel Official RR Standard. Ball collectors would call this a "common" Ball watch. I don't have the production figures handy, but there were many made. This is only a "start," I'll be back later wnen I find my reference with all the production stuff. It's 7:06 a.m. I'll have some time to look this up later.
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Sheila, See page 155 and study the regulator styles and location of hairspring stud. Each watch company had its own patent for regulators. Also see pages 57 & 58. This is just one way.
Cooksey and Joel are entirely correct about the regulator and stud differences and the references in the "Complete Guide to Watches" are very helpful. However I use something that I find easier to remember. Case-screw locations are in essentially opposite positions between those two movements and the deeply-dished winding wheels on a Ball-Waltham are easily spotted even in fuzzy auction pictures.
There is additional information in our Ball Watch Company Research Forum and Ball-Hamilton or Ball-Waltham Movement??? contains explanation and comparisons of how to spot them easily.
Ball-Waltham case-screw locations and dished wheels...
Hi again, Sheila:
Now that I have had breakfast, took Beethoven (our dog) for a walk, and had lunch, and located my "reference" book, I'm ready to find more information for you. When I began collecting watches, some 32 years ago, there were few "reference" books on the market. Colonel George E. Townsend had written his "Almost Everything You Wanted To Know About Anerican Watches and Didn't Know Who To Ask, published in 1971. In 1977 Colonel Townsend published "American Railroad Watches. It is these books that I used to glean information on the Ball Watch Company. The American Railroad Watches has a usable and quite reliable section on the identification of Ball watches. You need to keep in mind that Ball never made a watch. His watches were actually the "ultimate" contract watches. He had watches made to his specifications by the following companies: Hamilton, Waltham, Elgin, Illinois, Hampden, E. Howard, Seth Thomas and Aurara. The majority of the Ball watches were made by Waltham and Hamilton. The problem comes in just how to identify all these watches. Lindell makes a good point for the case screw locations. Each company had their own locations. They also used their own regulators, as Mr. Shugart suggests. My suggestion is to study the Shugart book, but also try to handle as many Ball watches as you can. You may wish to try and find the Townsend books too. These books (Townsend) will not give you price values, but they will give you some good reference material. These books have been up for sale (used) on this site, or look on eBay. I hope all this is of some help.
hi sheila, i use an easier method on the hamilton, waltham and illinois 16 size watches, if the serial number starts with a B6xxxxx, it is a hamilton, B2xxxxx, it is a waltham, and if it starts with a B8xxxxx, it is an illinois. of course there are earlier walthams that start with B5xxxxx and such, but i find this an easy way to distinish the maker.
hope this helps
You Guys are GREAT!
I'm going to copy all of this and look into the books that were mentioned.
I have always wanted to know more about these watches, but to tell you the truth, I knew so little about them, that when I ran into one in "The Book" that had the same movement in two different sizes, I got lost. I know it may seem simple to most of you, but when your new to a watch, it really makes you feel like a d*mmy.
Like you, I can pick out certain watches without even thinking about it, but you sure are limited when you know nothing about one.
I've been collecting for some time now, and it's time I really branch out, and get down to some serious detail about some of the watches I have always wanted to know about.
"The Book" has been a "God Send" and I could not have even begun to know watches without it, but it's looks like it's time to add other books to the list, and maybe go over some of the references here, to get me jump started on watches I don't know that well.
The simple methods you guys have listed, takes me a long way to knowing how to "see" a new watch, it makes such a huge difference to have the hints available.
Last, I did know that Ball had their watches done by other companies, however I had no idea how many were involved!!! Great information, and great hints on how to know the difference.
I just printed out the information, and it goes up on the wall for Ball reference, until I get a little more familiar with them.
Thanks you guys!!!! This is fantastic!
And we won't even think about the Illinois yet! lolololol
I agree with Charlie that many 16-size Official RR Standard Ball-Waltham movements will begin with a "B2" or B5" number, however there were also movements starting with "B0" and "B1"that must be taken into consideration. (And there are lesser 16s movements beginning in "B8" listed. )
Early Ball-Waltham B060713 was the 13th blocked...
Thank you Lindell, I've added it to the information.
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