The Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime punches above its entry-luxury pricing The Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime punches above its entry-luxury pricing

The Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime punches above its entry-luxury pricing

Zach Blass

The whole idea of a tool watch is a bit romantic in the modern age of smartphones, smartwatches, and dive computers. But watch collecting is a romantic hobby at the end of the day. To make an analogy, I always joke whenever I go to the US Open tennis tournament in NYC, and see spectators dressed in full tennis gear, that it is like they want to be prepared in case they are called onto the court for a match – which, of course, will never happen. The same can be said for a tool watch. It is not so much that we will depend on their robust builds and complications, testing them to their extremes. But it is comforting to know in a doomsday scenario they could absolutely be depended on. In the era of luxury sports watches, prices have climbed to a point where even the most robust watches can feel too precious – babied rather than living their best lives. At its entry-luxury price point, this Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime, however, is a watch with a spec and build that rivals more expensive professional watches in its segment with a complication set that could have you looking at your smart devices less while abroad.

The case

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Packaged in a 300-metre water-resistant stainless steel case, this collection sequel has made things more wearable with a 42mm case, 14.4mm thick, that is just 48mm lug-to-lug – a sweet spot lug-to-lug length for modern sports watches. Befitting of a tool watch the entire case is satin brushed – even the case flanks and crown guards. Only a hint of polishing can be seen on the coined perimeter of the outer. Speaking of the bezel, from afar you might think the timing bezel insert is on the outside of the watch. But, it is actually beneath the sapphire crystal.

The dial

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Now, the Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime is offered in three dial configurations, sunburst black, blue, and green which we have in hand here. Looking at the dial, all of the indications are luminous except for the worldtime cities. The luminous material, however, is not SuperLuminova like most modern watches. Instead, Ball, and this is a signature of Ball, continues to use tritium gas in its place. 36 micro gas tubes can be found on the dial, hours, minutes, central second hands, and inner timing bezel. With its usage of radioactive tritium, this is why it has an inner timing bezel rather than an external timing bezel. These micro-gas tubes do not rely on the sun to charge – they are always emitting light even during the day. This means guaranteed legibility in darker settings, no need to whip out a UV torch to recharge. On the subject of legibility, the dial does a great job of packing in its multiple complications in a clean and legible manner.

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At 3’ you have your calendar date, at 6’ your calendar day, and bordering it all a worldtime ring. The cities of the worldtime ring rotate in conjunction with the timing bezel, which you actually manipulate by rotating the outer bezel, so you cannot really track your dive and worldtime at the same time. That being said, who would need to know the time elsewhere while diving? The 24-hour ring a step in rotates in conjunction with the rotation of the hours and minutes hands as time passes or as the hands are rotated clockwise in the setting position. If you rotate the hands counterclockwise in the time setting position, however, the 24-hour ring will not move – this ensures you can set your local and worldtime indications properly with relative ease.

The straps

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Each of these colourways can also be purchased on either a bracelet or black rubber strap. The bracelet goes a more elegant route than the case, with the three-link bracelet brushed on their shouldering links and the centre link entirely mirror polished. There are three permanent links on each side, with the removable links added or removed via screws – no pin and collar compromise here. Its clasp is done in the three-fold butterfly style, which I really like, as I find it keeps the watch better centred on the wrist.

The movement

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Powering it all, you can see exhibited beneath the caseback the automatic 38-hour BALL RR1501-C movement which is effectively a modified ETA 2836-2. It is COSC-certified, so highly accurate within +6/-4 seconds per day, and the watch is rated to be resistant up to 4,800 ampere per meter and 5000Gs – so rather and anti-magnetic and highly shock resistant. I do not know how many millimetres in thickness would have been saved with a solid caseback, considering the movement is not the most elaborately decorated. But I think a solid caseback may have been a better move, especially considering the watch comes with a free name engraving.

The verdict

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With a price point of US$3,249 on a rubber strap, or US$3,399 on the bracelet I think it is safe to say you’re getting a great deal of watch for the dollar. I shouldn’t say something like this without qualifying it, so comparing the Engineer Master II Diver World Time on a bracelet against, say the US$4,375 Black Bay GMT, with the Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime you get 100 metres more water-resistance and added day and worldtime functionality in a case, while 1mm larger in diameter, that is more compact lug-to-lug. The concession is ultimately 38 hours of power reserve rather than 70, but this is also a watch that is effectively US$1,000 less. Food for thought.

Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime pricing and availability

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The Ball Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime is available now but is limited to 1000 pcs. per configuration. Price: US$3,249 (rubber strap), US$3,399 (bracelet)

Brand Ball
Model Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 14.4mm (T) x 48mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 300m (screw-down crown)
Dial Sunburst green, black, or blue
Crystal Sapphire crystal and exhibition caseback
Strap Stainless steel bracelet w/ butterfly clasp or black rubber strap
Movement Ball RR1501-C, ETA 2863-2, automatic
Power Reserve 38 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date, world time, COSC-certified
Availability Now, limited to 1,000 pcs.
Price US$3,249 (rubber strap)
US$3,399 (bracelet)