Originally Posted by papa kot
Ball watches not what I would call dressy. Go try one one and you will see for yourself. I did. The tubes filled with tritium are simply ugly.
Also do not let the company history fool you: It is true that at some point in time there was an American company that produced watches for railroads, but that company does not exist any more, as the rights to use the name of the company were sold years ago.
It sounds like you need a dress watch and to me this means a leather strap, a thin profile and no complications. May I suggest a pre-owned Zenith or a vintage Omega?
I was not a fan of the gas tubes. They are like a novelty I'd tire of quickly. I like your vintage idea.
As for brand history, there are several brands that were closed for many years but revived after someone bought the rights to the name...the most famous being Blancpain (closed for about 20 years IIRC) and I believe most of companies under that British Masters Group are largely revived names/brands...and they all talk about their history, even though they are not the same companies they were before closing. Whether that can be held against a company...I suppose depends on the buyer. BP claims to be the oldest watch company as it was established in 1735, but I discount this as they were closed for many years and are a revived brand.
I've seen and tried on a few Ball watches several years ago. The ones I tried on were sportier than what you are considering. I found them kind of clunky, not particulary impressive almost more of a styling exercise than a quality watch, and the gas tubes were a novelty that I think would wear quickly on me.
I think if you like the watch and the price fits your budget, then either could be fine. I can understand your friend's discount making these watches very enticing. The ones you are considering are normal looking, and not goofy like some of their sportier pieces. As expected (in their price range) most of their watches use ETA movements, which are good solid workhoreses, but nothing exceptional.
I'm not really sure one could describe a watch or brand as SF approved. We all have different tastes, budgets, and needs...so no watch can be everything to everyone. There are lots of top of the line brands that offer models I would never buy, great quality but not my taste. So SF approval should be taken with a grain of salt.
However, I like Papa Knot's suggestion of looking at some vintage Omegas, Zeniths, or maybe some vintage Heuers, or Movados (not the quartz ones you see at a mall). You would get something different and probably much higher quality.