Hello WUS and Fellow WIS! I don't post here as much as I used to. But thought it would be nice to come give a review of my Everyday watch after one year on the wrist!
I should clarify, that when I say everyday...I mean at least 6 days out of 7. This was my "down to one watch" watch...for quite a while. I do have a couple in the drawer, the ubiquitous Gshock for those times when that is what you need. I am also not ashamed to say that I own a Shinola Runwell. I DO live in Michigan, and I do sales...so there are times that when in front of the right person, it is a good fit. Matter of fact, I was so impressed with it, I bought one for my kid for his 16th birthday ( on a super internal sale ) but I digress....Back to the Ball.
I traded my Omega Aqua Terra for this watch from a fellow member who had purchased the Ball new from Topper. It was only a couple months old, and nearly new. I had been looking for a Everyday watch. One that would fit in to my life for every occasion. I had thought the Omega was that...but the 38.5 mm was just too small for my massive 8" wrist.
Some History on Ball... The company was founded in the late 1800's and was synonymous with Railroads, And after the "Kipton Disaster" (feel free to google it) they created the "RR standard" These timepieces had to meet the railroads exacting standards of the following.
- No lid on the dial, size 18 or 16 (44.86mm or 43.17mm)
- Plain white dial, bold black hands and Arabic numbers
- Winding stem at 12 o’clock
- Minimum of 17 jewels
- Must have a double roller
- Must be lever set
- Adjusted to at least 5 positions
- Be adjusted to temperature 40 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit
- Accuracy with a gain or loss of maximum 30 seconds a week (right in that COSC area)
This model is a Ball Engineer II Hydrocarbon Silver Fox Limited Edition. Number 817 of 1000 made. Named after Colonel Robert "Silver Fox" Stephens, who in 1965 became the fastest and highest flying man on earth when he flew an experimental Lockhead YF-12A an average of over 2,000MPH at over 80,000 feet. Cool story bro...
It is COSC Certified, Shock Resistant to 7500 G's Water resistant to 333 Meters, 41.5 mm case, with 4mm anti reflective sapphire crystal. Anti Magnetic to 12,000 AM. Has 16 Flat Tritium tubes with an original MSRP of $2799.00. Not sure if they had a pre sale discount like they do these days.
These day's Ball is a swiss made watch, with serious American roots. Ball is one of the top 20 brands every year for COSC certification ( I will get into that more later )
Some of the reasons I choose this watch as my daily wear.
I work for a construction sales company, and part of my job is to Demo tools. Hammer Drills, Concrete Breakers (jack hammers) Powder actuated tools. I am in mud, dirt, silica dust, giant magnets, and all other types of things that can really frack up a watch.
I liked the tagline "accuracy under adverse conditions"...that kind of sums up my life! Has it been super accurate? No...not as much as I would like. We all know COSC (pre watch case) should be -4 to +6. This one has jumped all over the place, all the way up to -12 a day.
Now even though it is "Anti Magnetic" Chronometr (to 12,000 A/M) I have discovered that getting too close to something like this...
Does not help in that COSC rating. I have had to have it demagnetized twice. Once time also getting it regulated. I at one time was going to send it back to Ball for servicing...but discovered that if you let the mainspring wind down, and wait a day before rewinding, it will typically go from -7 a day to -3. No idea why.
I have appreciated the sturdiness of this watch. I is a bit "thicker" then what I was used to. And even at 41.5 mm it wears bigger with the 16.1 mm bulky case. But it wears very comfortable.
I liked the brushed sides, as they keep glare down, and really hold up against a lot of scratching.
I like the screw down crown, and the crown protector really is top notch. There are occasions that my fat wrist will pop it open, but is is very sturdy, and I can't see it ever breaking off.
The clasp is top notch on the bracelet. IT has a nice feature of having a "divers clasp" on both sides. It closes well, and stays shut. I have had to get used to not being able to throw another strap on whenever I want...as the screw down bracelet is made to take heavy abuse. (which I give it) This was a mandatory thing for me since my issue a few years ago, leaving my beloved Hulk on the bottom of Lake Michigan...anyone that has been here for awhile knows that story... Give me a second as I wipe the tears from my eyes.
One of my requirements in a watch is water resistance, and this with 333 meters will hold up to whatever I would throw at it. Sooo...showering...swimming at the Y, and occasional beach trips.
I have had issues with the screw down links starting to pop out, 2 times. Both times from heavy impacts. Once was from throwing punches at a heavy bag...and the other was a direct impact from a flying piece of concrete. I took it to my watch guy, who threw some Lock tight in, and they have stayed in place.
Overall it has held up extremely well. There are some minor scratches on the bracelet and clasp. There is a couple of small ones on the bezel insert. However, for what I do for a living, and the abuse this takes....Wow...just wow! Ball is not making it up when they say made for adverse conditions. I anticipate every 2 to 3 years having to throw $3-400 for a full service. A little sooner then what many would do. But the way I live and work. I think that is fair.
This has been a great watch, and even with some minor problems. I am sure that it is a lifetime piece. Or at least a 25 year piece...when the tritium runs out.
For the price of the watch, it falls in line with more expensive watches I have had in the past as far as fit and feel. I would not hesitate to buy another Ball, or encourage someone looking for a "everyday" watch, that you can still hand down.
It is in a price point, that yes still expensive to some, but not so expensive that it needs to be a safe queen that you only pull out every once in awhile. I think this falls into that perfect category of an "every man" watch. Not so out of a price range that with some saving most can't get to. And still high enough quality that most watch snobs won't look down at one on the wrist.