Rare 23 Jewel Ball Hamilton Grade 999N – The “Official Railroad Standard” Pocket Watch

On May 10, 1893, just west of Batavia, New York, Empire State Express Locomotive No. 999 set a world speed record of 112.5 miles per hour. Although there’s doubt that the train exceeded 81 miles per hour, the “fast train” service between New York to the World’s Fair was a national sensation.

Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, Webb C. Ball Ball started marking Hamilton Watch Company movements grade 999. By 1911, when this watch was born, Ball was selling “his” very best pocket watches as “Official Railroad Standard.” He fixed a gold emblem on the movement to separate these high end 999’s from their brothers.

This triple signed (all-original) Ball 999 wears the emblem proudly. From its flawless dial, to its beautiful blued hands, to its immaculate and accurate movement, it is the ultimate embodiment of Webb C. Ball’s fanatical attention to detail.

The 999’s rose gold-filled case – complete with the sought-after stirrup bow – deserves special consideration. It is, in a word, magnificent. Another? Unmolested. A perfectly preserved home for a highly-prized 23-jewel, open face, level set masterpiece, one of just 800 made that year.

If you buy one American railroad pocket watch – and we’ve yet to meet a customer who has – this Ball 999 Official Railway Standard is the ideal choice. It’s everything Webb C. Ball wanted a pocket watch to be, and more: a historically significant timepiece that’s as beautiful and useful today as it was 109 years ago when it left Cleveland, Ohio.

All our treasured timepieces are completely disassembled, expertly cleaned and oiled using the finest quality watch oil and gear grease, and adjusted for accuracy. Full one year warranty.



Manufacturer: Hamilton
Manufacturer Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Movement Serial Number: B601515
Grade: 999 Ball
Estimated Production Year: 1911
Run Quantity: 800
Total Production: 54,600
Size: 16s
Jewels: 23j
Movement Configuration: Open face
Movement Finish: Nickel
Movement Setting: Lever
Adjusted: Yes
Adjusted # of Positions: 5
Adjusted to Temperature: Yes
Railroad Grade: Yes