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Only Watch 2017: Hautlence Playground Pinball Ball-e

By Jovan Krstevski

The Only Watch 2017 sees a lot of beautiful one-off timepieces from popular brands all over the world. These watches range from heritage reissues to highly innovative timepieces yet they all share the same DNA – they are all unique and created by super watch brands. HAUTLENCE in support of the charity auction that benefits Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research has created a unique piece called the BALL-e. This PINBALL model is taken from the Playground mechanical games collection of the brand. For the young at heart, this piece is highly nostalgic as it is based on the iconic game from our childhood. These days some still play pinball either on a real pinball box or a digital game, either way we still enjoy it. Now what would happen if the game sits on a wrist, well that would be interesting to learn. The purpose of the watch is practically to “slow down” time and we admit that life is hard sometimes so a little play time is most welcome.

The Ball-e comes in a 37 mm by 43.5 x 13 mm grade 5 titanium with DLC treatment case. Surprisingly, it is not that large at all considering its complications but it does look thick. The combination of the satin-finish and polished finish completes a robust modern design. It is then faceted with a high quality sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment that allows the owner to fully enjoy the game. This one-off piece is the mature model of the collection basing on the finishing alone. No one would thought that this would just be a one-off playground visit, but here it is and it is quite magnificent.

The dial is made of grade 5 titanium, laser decorated and cut, and sand-blasted to perfection. It also features drawn strokes, hand bevelling, and bumpers with rubber rings. The mechanical aspect of the watch is nothing but impressive. It is clearly an adaptation of a minute repeater function that is built in to the movement. The control of the game is a lever on the lower right side of the rectangular case that jump starts the ball. The activation is done by pulling on the lever downwards and setting it free; this process also activates the central star and spin wheel for ten seconds but each one of the 3 blued steel balls is bounced around rather quickly around the dial. Furthermore, the sapphire crystal is laser cut over the entire surface of the dial resulting to a very smooth overall case finish.

In the dark, the BALL-e reveals its second personality, wherein the dial displays the head of a small robot which acts as a protective talisman. Indeed, with BALL-e, HAUTLENCE opens up the doors to a world where play is an integral part of life, the piece basically reminds us “to keep smiling, despite the ills life throws at us.”
Moving forward, the Ball-e is powered by a minute repeater regulation mechanism featuring a variable inertia regulator, rack winding, and 15 second power reserve. Its 110 components also feature 18 carat gold settings, grade 5 titanium bridges, 14 jewels, double flat stones with olive hole, and black PVD main plate and barrel bridge.
The one-off piece wears on a hand-stitched alligator strap with a grade 5 titanium folding buckle and is estimated to fetch somewhere around 24,000 USD to 39,000 USD.