Free solo climber prodigy & new BALL Ambassador
As the instigator of chronometer standards and with a rich past linked to the history of railroads in the United States, BALL Watch Company places the legitimacy of its watchmaking expertise at the service of all explorers, sportsmen and key player in civilian society. BALL Watch has brought together the most emblematic representatives of these groups in the BALL Explorers club. Like the American railroads that constantly pushed back the boundaries in the conquest of the New world, these exceptional individuals contribute to the exploration of new horizons as they take up the greatest challenges.
With numerous climbing records to his name, Alex Honnold is one of the most intrepid and skillful climbers in the world. He is considered a true living legend of free solo climbing. In 2012, he was appointed the new BALL ambassador. He is proud to join the very closed circle of BALL Explorer Club members that includes, in particular, Guillaume Néry, the current world champion of constant weight freediving; Brian Binnie, astronaut and pilot of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft, and Edurne Pasaban, the first woman mountaineer to have scaled all 14 mountain peaks over 8,000 meters high.
Alexander J. Honnold was born on 17th August 1985, in Sacramento, California (USA). He started climbing when he was 11, initially indoors on climbing walls, and then outdoors on the natural rock walls in his home area. Constantly climbing higher and attacking increasingly difficult ascents, he gradually switched to the most extreme discipline in sport rock climbing: free solo climbing. This practice is derived from free climbing in which the climber foregoes all ropes, harnesses and protective gear, relying solely on foot and handholds when climbing. Leaving no room for error, this sport is the domain of a handful of the most seasoned and talented climbers.
At the age of 18, Alex Honnold dropped out of University of California Berkeley, where he was an engineering student, to devote all his time to climbing. It is in Yosemite National Park in California, world renowned for its spectacular granite domes, that Alex Honnold has attained his finest achievements. Here, he managed a total climb of more than 2,130 meters / 7,000 feet in less than 24 hours, more than 90% free solo, including the Park’s three highest rock walls: Mount Watkins, El Capitan and Half Dome. His many records also include the gigantic Astroman and Rostrum walls in Yosemite Park.
He combines exceptional dexterity and the unparalleled physical condition needed for such a performance with an absolute precision of movement. This constant quest for precision is one of the common denominators between Alex Honnold and watchmaking. In the same way that BALL Watch developed the first chronometer standards at the end of the 19th century, Alex Honnold has alone established new standards in sport climbing. Through his climbing feats, he has attracted considerable media attention and acquired fame that goes far beyond the world of rock climbing.
Nonetheless, Alex Honnold is simply focused on enjoying the great outdoors, traveling in his van and climbing whenever the mood takes him. “I enjoy my life very much. It’s simple” Alex has often said. He considers the purity of his sport discipline as an absolute addiction. “I like the simplicity of soloing,” he says. “You’ve got no gear, no partner. You never climb better than when you free-solo.” He also finds that the sport fits his psychological makeup. “If I have any gift, it’s a mental one.”
Extremely modest and with a real ability to drive himself to constantly improve his performance, Alex Honnold is pushing back the boundaries of adventure with each of his climbs. He quite naturally personifies in his own way the values of determination, a thirst for challenge, precision, strength, excellence and humility that typify BALL Watch. A real source of inspiration for the brand, he is the ideal person to represent BALL watches because of his extraordinary personality and the exploits that lie ahead for him.
Today, more than ever, BALL Watch Company and Alex Honnold are continuing along their chosen path together, confirming their role as essential players in the exploration of modern time.