By Nancy Olson
CronotempVs Collectors is an international private watch collector community that partners with major watch brands and independent makers to create timepieces that highlight traditional watchmaking. Sixteen different projects have been realized since the club’s founding in 2009 and the most recent is the “00Red” shown here, created with Switzerland-based Ball Watch. It is a limited edition of just 91 watches.
Based on Ball’s well-known Engineer III collection, the timepiece comprises many of the features for which Ball Watch is appreciated—including the use of tritium gas tubes for illuminating the dial. They make their unique-in-the-industry presence known here as “00”, claiming space at 12 o’clock and framed in red.
The 33 tritium gas tubes that create the luminescence on the 00Red’s gray dial are completely self-powered and 100 times brighter than conventional luminous material used on watch dials. The pure tritium gas is safely sealed in lightweight mineral glass tubes used to form the hour markers and highlight the hands. There is no radiation risk to the wearer because of the very low amount of tritium used and the integrity of the tiny vessels that encase it.
The 904L grade stainless steel employed for the 43mm case and bracelet, while not seen widely in the watch industry because of the difficulty posed in machining it, takes on a high polish and is capable of withstanding extreme conditions due to its formulation. Mu-metal—an alloy of nickel, iron, copper, and molybdenum—shields the movement from magnetic fields up to an intensity of 1,000 Gauss. And, like all Ball watches, the Engineer III 00Red is subjected to rigorous testing for impact resistance. Other details include a screw-in-crown, water resistance to 100 meters and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
The automatic caliber RR1102-C that beats inside is COSC certified, and it guarantees an average daily rate of -4/+6 seconds accuracy. Its functions include hours, minutes and sweep seconds, and its chronometer status is confirmed in red script above 6 o’clock on the dial. Other red details include the pointer end of the seconds hand (also set with a tritium tube), which I think pulls the color-popped design together in a visually pleasing way.
CronotempVs has members in 18 countries and over 600 watches have been realized over the years. Former projects have included such well-known collaborators as Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Cartier and IWC, among many others. The Engineer III “00Red” is priced at $2,749.