Ball-Hamilton 18S 17J LS adj. 5p 999 Official RR Standard #486694 pocket watch, SB&B chrome case

Your Price: $675.00
Ball-Hamilton 18S 17J LS adj. 5p 999 Official RR Standard #486694 pocket watch, SB&B chrome case
PM2576: 1 available for immediate delivery
  • Description
  • Store Policies

  • Full Description
  • Item Specifics
  • Company Info
  • Running Condition
  • Railroad Grade Info
  • How To Wear & Use
Ball-Hamilton 18S 17J lever set (LS) adj. 5p 999 Official RR Standard #486694 pocket watch, beautiful clean nickel full plate movement with gold jewel settings (GJS) and concentric circle damascene pattern, movement has a few small short scratches near screw heads, handsome porcelain enamel dial with fancy bold Arabic numbers and subsidiary seconds has some very short faint hairlines (not distracting) and a small flake at the edge near the lever under the bezel, bold blue steel hands, re-cased into a mint screw back & bezel (SB&B) chrome fully engraved case with crisp vertical basket-weave pattern engraving under the large floral designs and blank fancy monogram shield, engraved heavy pendant, fancy engraved bow and glass crystal, case showing hardly any wear, measures approx. 54mm in diameter x 17mm thick (crystal included). A high grade Ball railroad grade watch in excellent condition!
  • Company: Ball-Hamilton
  • Movement Size: 18S
  • Jewels: 17J
  • Setting/Movement Type: lever
  • Adjustments: 5 positions
  • Model/Grade: 999 Official RR Standard
  • Serial #: 486694
  • Movement Finish: nickel
  • Movement Details: GJS
  • Dial Material: porcelain enamel
  • Case Style: SB&B
  • Case Material: Chrome
  • Case Details: re-cased
  • Case Width/Diameter: 54mm (2.13 inches)
  • Case Length, bow included: 68mm (2.68 inches)
  • Case Thickness: 17mm (0.67 inches)
  • Crystal Material: glass
  • Misc. Info: re-cased
  • Year Made: 1904-1905
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Gender: Gentlemen's
The Ball Watch Company, out of Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1879, but it was after a tragic train collision in 1891 (due to what is believed to have been a problem with one engineer's watch not keeping accurate time) that the company began the task of standardizing what we now term Railroad Grade Watches.  This detailed article about the collision discusses the event, and the lasting repercussions to our modern transit and timekeeping systems.

In 1893, Ball sold their first watches; however, it is an interesting note to this company that they never manufactured a watch, but rather had specific timing and design guidelines for watches that were then produced by the following other companies: Aurora, Elgin, Hamilton, Hampden, N.Y. Watch, E. Howard, Illinois, Seth Thomas,Vacheron & Constantin and Waltham.  While many of these companies produced high grade and railroad grade quality watches for their own sales, the watches produced for the Ball company were standardized for both mechanical and cosmetic features, and were not representative of each of the individual company aesthetics.

The Ball company continued to sell Ball Model watches until 1969, and was also a driving factor in helping to standardize timing specifications across North America as technologies improved.

For additional reference, we've posted a Serial Number Production List which includes information for Ball serial numbers and dates of manufacture.
The NAWCC also has a comprehensive article about the company.
This watch is in good running condition, unless otherwise noted in the description.  This means that on receipt, pending any item-specific running conditions noted in the description, you can expect the watch to be winding and setting properly and to run smoothly while keeping reasonable time.  We consider "reasonable time" to meet these basic guidelines:
  • Railroad Grade Watches will be keeping +/- 5 minutes per day
  • Pocket and Wrist Watches with 15 or more jewels will be keeping +/- 10 minutes per day
  • All key wind watches and watches with 14 or fewer jewels will be keeping +/- 15 minutes per day
The above guideline is the lowest standard in which we would ship out a watch, however in most cases, you will see much better timekeeping.  Most of our watches have been in storage for many years, so if you plan on carrying/wearing them everyday, you should consider having them cleaned and oiled soon, and then once a year thereafter to keep them in top running condition.  If the watches will be for occasional use or display, they should be cleaned and serviced every 3 to 5 years depending on use.

We do have a professional watchmaker that does all of our cleaning and repair work for us.  To have your watch serviced before shipping, simply add this Cleaning/Service Agreement to your shopping basket.  The cleaning and timing service is $95, and depending on the time of the year, has a turnaround time of 1 to 3 weeks.

Please note that we provide this service in addition to the listed purchase price of our watches.  If you do purchase this option and later decide to return the watch, this fee is non-refundable.
This is considered a "railroad-grade" pocket watch.  To be a railroad-grade watch, the following criteria must be met:
  • be 16S or 18S
  • have 17 or more jewels
  • be lever set
  • be in an open face case
  • be adjusted to 5 or more positions.
In order to ensure the accuracy of pocket watches used by railroad employees, with the ultimate goal of preventing train accidents, the General Railroad Timepiece Standards Commission published a set of guidelines for railroad companies and watch manufacturers in 1893.  These guidelines, which specified the criteria for a railroad-grade watch, were prepared by Webb C. Ball, the general time inspector of North American railroads and founder of the Ball Watch Company.

For more information, visit this Wikipedia article on railroad chronometers or this Smithsonian National Postal Museum article on the influential train wreck tragedy that resulted in the establishment of railroad watch standards.

Our entire collection of such timepieces may also be viewed at our Railroad Grade Watches category.
Unlike modern quartz watches, most vintage watches need daily winding in order to keep the watch functioning for timekeeping.  Additionally, there are a number of different ways to set the time other than simply pulling the crown away from the watch body.  We are happy to provide an overview of each of the different setting types on our "How To Use" page, where we also provide information on proper winding techniques for each style and some suggestions for the proper long term care and storage of your watch.

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  • Understanding Our Descriptions
  • Return Policy
  • Payment & Shipping
We process a very large number of watches and accessories each year for sale via our web site, eBay and local avenues.  We attempt to offer descriptions and photos that are as complete and clear as possible on each item, and we always encourage you to write us with questions if something is not addressed in the description!

In each description, we attempt to note the following things:
<maker><size><jewels><setting><adjustments><grade/model><serial number>, <movement information>, <dial information>, <hand information>, <case information>, <misc. information>, <overall condition and comments>

Taking an example of a watch already described, we've bracketed the different sections and ordered them as above:
<Ball-Hamilton> <16S> <21J> <LS> <adj.> <Official RR Standard> <#B651197>, <nickel movement with gold jewel settings and concentric circle damascene pattern, should be noted that the gears on the movement may not be all original however watch is running strong and not affecting running condition>, <porcelain Ball marked dial with Arabic numbers has very faint hairline (not distracting)>, <blue steel hands>, <beautiful YGF SB&B Ball marked case with engraved bezels and blank monogram shield showing normal even wear (no brass)>, <fancy bow>.  <High grade Ball watch in very good condition, perfect to carry everyday!>

We also provide a List of Abbreviations that we use in our descriptions, as well as a Pocket Watch Sizing Chart that explains numerically and graphically the various sizes of pocket watches that we offer.
We offer a 30-day return period beginning the day you receive your items for all PM Time Service merchandise.  To receive a full refund, the item must be return in "as shipped" condition, with no new personalized engravings or end-user adaptions.  Items damaged in transit will be eligible for the full refund pending the application of the insurance claim on the damaged watch or item.  Please see our Shipping & Return Policy page for full details.
Holiday & Vacation Dates - Unless otherwise noted on our holiday page, you can expect an order placed to be processed and shipped out within 2-3 business days, often much sooner.  If you need an item quickly, please do double check our holiday page to make sure we will be in the office!

Please use the "Estimate Your Shipping" button on the Shopping Basket page to get a specific quote on your current shipping fees.  The estimate will be available once you have added at least one (1) item to your shopping cart.

In order to provide a fair and secure shipping experience for our customers, we require full insurance for the total value of your order with all items purchased.  You can view the amounts required to cover full insurance on your order on our Shipping Overview page, and it will also update automatically on the shipping estimator.  At this time, we do not allow for a customer to opt-out of insurance on their shipments.

We are happy to accept PayPal, as well as checks and money orders, for payment on all orders.

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