The Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT is a tough titanium worldly beater watch The Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT is a tough titanium worldly beater watch

The Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT is a tough titanium worldly beater watch

Buffy Acacia

Current trends are headed towards smaller and classier watches in all aspects, compensating for the flood of dive watches we’ve endured for the last decade. That said, room still needs to be made for those who want to go against the grain. Welcoming those who crave the hyper-masculine, stern and tough, is the Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT. What makes it special isn’t just its rugged specifications and appearance, but also Ball’s railway heritage and reputation for quality.

The case

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While not technically an integrated bracelet watch, the case of the Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT is almost defined by its relationship with the bracelet. The lugs are quaint in comparison to the bezel, preventing too much focus from being pulled from the dial. That bezel is where the watch gets a lot of its personality too, as the detents give it a cog effect. Functionally, they make it easier to grip with wet or gloved hands while underwater, although the 24-hour ceramic bezel insert may not be very convenient for timing dives. Its diameter is only 40mm, although its presence makes it seem larger, and the 47.8mm lug-to-lug is drawn out to 51mm due to the shape of the bracelet.

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The Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT is made from titanium, which gives the watch a utilitarian grey hue, as well as reduces the weight in comparison to stainless steel. With approximately 50% less density, it won’t feel like an anchor on your wrist. The water resistance is rated at 300m, with a screw-down crown at 3 o’clock. If you’re wondering about the crowns on the left side of the watch, they’re actually pushers for the GMT hand. The top one at 10 advances the GMT hand by one hour, while the bottom one at 8 brings it back. As for the finishing, a predominantly brushed finish with polished accents imparts a sense of luxury along with its tool-watch ideals.

The dial

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Setting yourself apart isn’t easy when you’re a dive watch, but Ball hit upon a unique combination of elements that few brands would even attempt. Each aspect screams strength, with the broad hands carrying imposing weight. The large numerals at the 12′, 6′, and 9′ positions would still be a powerful element even if they weren’t constructed from micro gas tubes. The tubes, containing tritium gas safely in glass, are a fascinating alternative to regular luminous paint like Super-LumiNova. They don’t require UV charging, instead emitting a soft glow for the entirety of their lifespan. The tubes can retain their glow for up to 25 years, although they begin to dim after 12, at which point they may be replaced during a standard service.

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With a total of 23 references, you have plenty of choices when it comes to colours. Black, blue, green, and white dials are represented, each with its own variations of highlight colours and bezel combinations. There are even three references with silvery meteorite dials for a cosmic twist. Those models also incorporate a rocket-shaped GMT hand, and the elaborate Ball Watch Company logo as a counterweight on the seconds hand.

The bracelet

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As I touched on earlier, this watch is almost married to its bracelet. The 20mm lug width means that you could easily swap the bracelet out for any other kind of strap, but it might look somewhat incomplete due to the small lugs. The shoulders of that first link are what bring the watch’s effective lug-to-lug length out to 51mm, which is the point at which many average wrists will be intimidated. But, the extra length gives it a smoother taper down to the width of the bracelet, and the brushed finishing of it all contributes to the overall adventurous vibe.

The movement

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Ball’s RR1203-C calibre can be viewed from the sapphire display caseback with neat touches of decoration and gold-filled engravings on the rotor. It’s based on the ETA 2893-2, but Ball has applied their own in-house GMT module which uses that pusher system. Some people may prefer not to have their GMT adjusters sticking out of the case, but it will be an interesting bonus for others. Running at a smooth 4Hz over a 38-hour power reserve, it also features a day/date display and COSC certification for chronometer-level accuracy.

The verdict

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While its chunkiness is rooted much more in its style than its measurements, the Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT may still be quite an intimidating watch in the modern climate. But, if you’re a fan of the industrial look at a relatively moderate diameter, then it’s a great choice for the money. You do need to consider how the 51mm lug-to-lug-measurement and case-side pushers will influence your wear experience before diving in.

Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT pricing and availability

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The Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT is available now as a limited edition of 1,000 pcs. Price: US$3,249

Brand Ball
Model Roadmaster Marine GMT
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 14mm (T) x 51mm (LTL)
Case Material Titanium
Water Resistance 300m
Crystal(s) AR-coated sapphire
Dial Black, blue, green, brown, or white
Lug Width 20mm
Bracelet Titanium and stainless steel bracelet, folding buckle
Movement  Ball RR1203-C, ETA 2893-2 base with in-house GMT module, automatic
Power Reserve 38 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date, GMT
Availability Limited Edition of 1,000 pcs.
Price US$3,249