Classic-inspired dive watches have been one of many hottest tendencies of the previous decade, so given the identify of this watch – the BALL Engineer Master II Skindiver Heritage – you’d be forgiven for assuming that that is simply one other in a protracted listing of again catalog reissues. Whereas most fashionable throwback watches absolutely embrace classic aesthetics, the BALL Skindiver Heritage takes just a few stylistic nods from the previous. Take away “Heritage” from the identify, and that is merely a well-built dive watch with some refined classic cues (like the shortage of crown guards) and quite a lot of fashionable tips up its sleeve. Strap on the Skindiver Heritage and one factor that’s instantly obvious is that there’s nothing classic concerning the sizing. In evaluations, you’ll typically hear us say that a watch wears smaller than its dimensions would counsel – not so within the case of the Heritage Skindiver. The 42mm case might not appear overly giant on the spec sheet, however when coupled with the 15.2mm top and lengthy 53mm lug-to-lug distance, there’s no query that you simply’re sporting a big, overbuilt, and absolutely succesful fashionable diver.
One of many defining options of BALL watches is that they’re invariably overbuilt. Want lume for nighttime legibility? Ball opts for tritium gasoline tubes. Need the watch to withstand magnetism? The Skindiver Heritage is proof against 80,000A/m. To finish the bundle and ensure the watch can face up to onerous use, Ball builds in shock resistance to five,000Gs and 300m of water resistance. Whereas German manufacturers like Sinn and Damasko are sometimes heralded because the go-to software overbuilt ready-for-the-apocalypse watches, the extreme aesthetics aren’t for everybody. That is the place BALL is available in; these are extremely succesful software watches however very a lot Swiss of their type and execution (albeit with the blood of the American West working by their mechanical veins).
Getting again to the case, the BALL Skindiver Heritage is a big watch, no query, however the measurement is tempered by the form of the midcase, which gives the look of a a lot thinner watch – a lot in the way in which that the Tudor Black Bay midcase doesn’t. As well as, these lengthy lugs slope down and hug the wrist, permitting the watch to put on comparatively comfortably on my 6.75” wrist. Don’t get me unsuitable, although, it nonetheless wears like the big, hefty watch that it’s. The case form is conventional for a skindiver, eschewing crown guards and opting as an alternative for a big, signed crown with ample knurling that’s simple to grip and easy to function. The chrome steel case is properly brushed on the highest and mid-case with high-polished bevels alongside the transition. The strains are sharp and the ending is great – precisely what I’ve come to count on from BALL.
The Skindiver Heritage comes on both a rubber strap or H-link bracelet with polished middle hyperlinks. Ball opted for a 22mm bracelet, however the taper helps cut back a few of the visible (and bodily) heft of the watch and the polished middle hyperlinks do make the watch into extra of a gown diver and thus a bit extra versatile for some shoppers. That mentioned, I’d have most popular a completely brushed end. The bracelet is comfy and enhances the case, however it’s let down through the use of a pin and collar system to take away hyperlinks (apologies to BALL; I mangled one of many pins making an attempt to measurement the bracelet) and a stamped push-button clasp. I’ve made this argument earlier than, however if you see microbrands producing bracelets with screwed hyperlinks, milled clasps, and tool-free changes for underneath $500, it’s time for the larger manufacturers to step up.
The BALL Skindiver Heritage is available in both a black or blue dial, however each develop into way more colourful when the lights exit thanks to completely lumed bezels and tritium gasoline tubes on the markers and palms. When you’ve by no means skilled tritium gasoline tubes on a watch, they’re a deal with to behold at evening, and there’s a purpose they’ve gained a cult-like following. Not like conventional lume that requires an exterior mild supply to cost and rapidly loses depth, tritium (the radioactive isotope of hydrogen, Hthree) undergoes beta decay, releasing a gentle supply of sunshine, that means that it’ll be simply as brilliant at 5am because it was earlier than mattress. By encapsulating the tritium in gasoline tubes coated with completely different phosphor compounds, the tubes may also glow in an enormous array of colours and stay secure as a consequence of being housed in a non-hydrogen-permeable container. With a half-life of 12.three years, tritium will proceed to glow brightly for years, however when the time comes, BALL will change the tubes for a nominal payment.
Within the case of the Skindiver Heritage, BALL made use of 15 micro gasoline tubes in three colours – inexperienced for the hour markers, orange for the 12 o’clock marker, and yellow for the palms. Although these colours are definitely most seen at evening, they do nonetheless glow faintly through the day, including coloration to the dial. Mixed with the intense orange minute hand, the result’s a enjoyable and colourful watch day or evening. Simply make sure you’re available in the market for a colourful watch – these preferring austere monochromes ought to look elsewhere. Or, in order for you much more coloration, check out the BALL Marvelight III Caring Edition.
Although the tritium gasoline tubes are all the time the headliner in BALL’s watches, the dial and bezel can definitely maintain their very own on the stage. Positive, the format is nothing new, however it’s executed cleanly and attractively. In different phrases, it’s a well-known and fashionable design that ought to attraction to many. The handset does differentiate the watch from most others available on the market, with white syringe palms for the hour and minutes and a hanging orange seconds hand. The seconds hand gives a enjoyable pop of coloration, however the RR counterweight (a nod to the model’s provenance on the American railroads) is somewhat ornate. I prefer it, however I can see why some discover it a bit garish. The day-date operate at three o’clock is a kind of love-it-or-hate-it components. I’ve to say that in COVID occasions and dealing from dwelling each day, I respect the day operate greater than I usually would.
The bezel on the Skindiver Heritage is especially spectacular. It’s simple to grip, and the motion of the 120 clicks is agency and optimistic with pronounced clicks and no back-play. Very good. The bezel insert is ceramic with lumed markers that glow a pale blue, including a further coloration to the combination at evening. No complaints in any way.
Powering the Skindiver Heritage is the COSC-certified computerized caliber BALL RR1102-C, which is a modified Swiss made ETA 2836-2. This motion is basically the day-date model of the tried and true ETA 2824-2 and options 25 jewels, a 38-hour energy reserve, and beats at 28.8kbph. COSC certification is definitely an added bonus – every motion is shipped to one of many COSC labs and subjected to a collection of exams, amongst which is certifying that the watch will run with a mean every day fee of -Four to +6 seconds/day with low positional variance. As talked about earlier, BALL additionally employs an Amortiser anti-shock system to guard the motion and is shielded from magnetic fields as much as 80,000A/m.
Taking a look at watches akin to the $2,949 BALL Skindiver Heritage, it actually depends upon what you’re after. When you’re concerned with extra of a classic look and an in-house motion, the Tudor Black Bay Heritage is difficult to disregard (albeit for a further $850). The Tudor definitely has BALL beat on the bracelet and the 70-hour energy reserve on Tudor’s MT5602 is a bonus, however you’re lacking out on the excellent tritium gasoline tubes, ceramic bezel, and funky combine of colours on the BALL. That mentioned, if what you’re actually after is the tritium gasoline tubes and also you’re on a tighter price range, Marathon gives a variety of army watches, together with the 41mm GSAR computerized diver’s look ahead to $1,608. The Marathon GSAR gives a purpose-built diver with superb tritium gasoline tube lume, however one with a very completely different aesthetic.
For these searching for a dressy software watch with best-in-class illumination, basic Swiss styling and execution, however a colourful character, the BALL Engineer Grasp II Skindiver Heritage is price a protracted look. The Skindiver Heritage comes is priced at $2,949 USD and extra data might be discovered on the brand’s website.
>Mannequin: Engineer Grasp II Skindiver Heritage
>Measurement: 42mm-wide, 15.2mm-tall, 53mm lug-to-lug
>When reviewer would personally put on it: Throughout lengthy, darkish Canadian winters when the colourful aesthetics (particularly at evening) actually shine.
>Buddy we’d advocate it to first: Lume addict searching for a dressy, overbuilt dive watch with fashionable Swiss styling.
>Greatest attribute of watch: Tritium gasoline tubes – they’re addictive.
>Worst attribute of watch: Pin-and-collar system and stamped clasp on the bracelet.