Engineer II Magneto S: Introducing the A-PROOF® System
The Engineer II Magneto S is the most anticipated new release from Ball in 2014. It is the only 2014 model featuring SpringLOCK®, Ball's patented balance-spring protection cage which reduces the effect of mild repetitive shock. This is the fourth Ball model to feature SpringLOCK and follows three watches from 2013 including the Hydrocarbon Black, Hydrocarbon Airborne, and Trainmaster Cannonball II.
At $3,399 retail, the Magneto S is up to $1,200 dollars less expensive than the other three-hand SpringLOCK models, and is the first Engineer II watch to use the system. Setting the Magneto S apart from other Ball watches, and for that matter all watches, is its retractable anti-magnetic shield called the A-PROOF® system.
Before we talk about how the A-PROOF system works, it makes sense to discuss magnetization in watches. The service center of our largest partner estimates as many as a quarter of all watches brought in for service are magnetized. When a watch is magnetized, the hair spring contracts causing the watch to speed up. Sometimes the effect can be so dramatic the watch will gain hours in a single day. Common household items like speakers, desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones all contain magnets which when in close proximity can magnetize a watch. While magnetized watches can be fixed without opening the watch in almost all instances by using a demagnetizer, finding a demagnetizer can be a challenge.
Watch companies have been coming up with solutions for decades to protect watches against magnetization. Perhaps the most famous anti-magnetic watch is the Rolex Milgauss which offers up to 1000 Gauss of protection using an iron shielding system. In 2013, Omega introduced a Seamaster Aqua Terra model with the most effective anti-magnetic protection to date by producing various sensitive components in anti-magnetic materials resulting in protection exceeding 15,000 Gauss. Where does the Magneto S fit in? It offers similar protection to the Rolex at about half the price of the Omega.
Earlier this year at Baselworld, Ball's CTO, Philippe Antille and I discussed the A-PROOF® system. One of the Magneto S features he seemed most proud of was the thin 13mm case. The ability to have both a tall bezel and retractable shield in such a svelte package was accomplished by using Mu-metal. Mu-metal is an anti-magnetic alloy used in the aerospace industry which provides exceptional shielding without thick or multiple layers required with traditional materials.
Appreciating how people enjoy looking at their watch movements, Philippe conceived the idea of a retractable anti-magnetic shield. The resulting design is a metal diaphragm operating much like the bladed aperture of a camera lens. The system easily opens opens and closes by turning the bezel which gives a heavy and solid action. An indicator on the side of the case at four o'clock shows white when open, and clear when closed.
Below are more photos of the Magneto S, easily one of the most fun new releases of 2014.
The A-PROOF system in the closed position providing 1000 Gauss of protection.
The A-PROOF system in the open position, revealing a display back and the SpringLOCK equipped movement.
A closer look at the SpringLOCK cage protecting the movement's hairspring against mild repetitive shock.
A close up of the dial of the Magneto S.
The A-PROOF system indicator is clear which shows the anti-magnetic shield is in the open position.
When the A-PROOF shield is retracted, the indicator shows as white.
The lume signature of the Magneto S.