Founded in the USA in 1891, with a history in timekeeping for American railroads spanning 130 years, Ball manufactures in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Founder Webb C. Ball set up tests and standards for all watches used on trains to ensure time keeping was accurate and to avoid disaster collisions. This became the rail road standard or “RR Standard” and till today features in Ball watches’ logo.
The Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime is quite a mouthful to say. It also reflects the various aspirations of this watch. To name a few in summary this is an automatic chronometer which features a day/date complication, world time display and is a dive watch.
The 42mm stainless steel case features a serrated unidirectional rotating internal bezel and comes with a steel folding buckle bracelet. At 14.05mm thickness the case will squeeze under a casual shirt but probably not a formal shirt. Inside the case is a chronometer certified COSC Ball RR1501-C automatic caliber. You can take a peek at this from the sapphire crystal exhibition case back which shows the neatly decorated movement – nothing too flash but decent.
Water resistant up to 300m/1000ft certainly ticks the box for a diving watch but the world time display means that the dial is quite busy and legibility while diving may be impaired. Thankfully, the 36 micro gas tubes which illuminate the watch work brilliantly and are simplified to just the hands, the hour markers and bezel. Ball’s signature micro gas tubes for constant low-light illumination far exceeds the performance of luminescent paint which is applied to most watches in the market and is one of my favourite things about Ball watches.
There’s a lot of things going on with the dial. I love the concept of world timers but execution can sometimes end up a messy…well mess. As far as this watch’s world time display, it’s attractive – with simple white text contrasting against the black dial and a day/night indicator on the internal rotating bezel. I enjoy the pops of orange and yellow on the dial which are different. So many watches are monochromatic or with a bit of red, which works well but it’s a refreshing change to see orange which doesn’t get a feature too often.
In an attempt at legibility, the dial has large Arabic numerals only at the 12 and 9 position. The 3 position features the date window, while at the 6 position is a day window. There’s a certain lack of balance with the large Arabic numerals vs the smaller day/date windows which I’m not a fan of. Couple this with the Ball logo and “Official RR Standard”, chronometer designation and water resistance and the dial real estate has filled up considerably. It all makes me feel a little claustrophobic. Nonetheless, this watch almost has everything but the kitchen sink built in. It’s impressive that they’ve fit this all in while making a reasonably attractive and slim watch.
My favourite takeaways from this watch – the internal bezel, the gas lumes and the many functions of the watch.
The Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime (DG2232A) is limited to 1000 pieces and retails for AUD5,250.
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