Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)
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  1. #1
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    Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer



    The 40mm Ball Engineer II case makes its second appearance in a new model for 2014 with the "Engineer II Pioneer." The first time we saw this case was in the Marvelight (retail $1799), which combined an elaborate movement (ETA 2824-2) with incredibly tall tritium tubes for the hour indicies. While the Pioneer does not feature the Marvelight's massive micro gas tubes, its smaller circular tubes are mounted in a similar manner, as both watches feature their tubes mounted on shiny silver indices for contrast. The Pioneer is also a much more expensive watch at $2,499 due to its use of a COSC calibre movement. This puts it at a similar price to the 40mm Chronometer Red Label and Engineer II Chronometer.The two most standout design attributes of the Pioneer are the combination of a suede style strap with a high-polish case. When I discussed the Pioneer at Baselworld with Ball's CTO, Philippe Antille, he said the watch was designed to appeal to a younger audience than most Ball watches. Part of that strategy involved pairing it with a nubuck leather strap option in addition to the bracelet. This is in contrast to the more formal alligator strap option used with the Red Label. [NOTE: After reviewing the recording of my talk with Phillipe, it is apparent I overemphasized his attempt to appeal to a younger customer in the design of the Pioneer. In retrospect, the discussion was more about introducing new strap materials on this watch and the fabric strap of the Aviator III as an update of strap options that might also appeal to younger customers. While our discussion included the Pioneer strap, most of the focus was on the Aviator III strap.]
    .
    The nubuck leather strap on the Ball Engineer II Pioneer.

    Where many designers put straps like this onto "heritage" pieces, the finish of the Pioneer is not particularly retro. Its most defining feature is its highly polished case. An entirely high polish case is a rarity for Ball as almost all of their models feature some brushed finish treatment. The only other BALL watch I can think of that completely forgoes brushed finish is the Engineer Master II DLC. In that piece the shine is somewhat diminished by the black DLC.The dial is a departure from recent Engineer II models. Instead of having the Marvelight's galvanized dial that has a subtle sunburst pattern, the Pioneer's silver dial features an even silver dial that doesn't have a central focal point. In addition, the black dial will be enamel. Since this will be a new texture, it will be deserving of it's own photo shoot.While the feature set may be the same as other models, the Pioneer definitely has a look that deviates from a typical Engineer II model. It will be interesting to see how a watch that was designed to appeal to a new customer will appeal to both long-time fans of the brand, as well as watch lovers in general.


    The high-polish bezel of the Engineer II Pioneer.

    Tritium tubes on raised silver indices and the silver enamel dial of the Engineer II Pioneer.

    The high polish lugs, bezel, and side of the case in the Engineer II Pioneer.


    The lume signature of the Engineer II Pioneer.
    Last edited by robattopper; December 31st, 2014 at 19:16.
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  2. #2
    Member Moffett's Avatar
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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    At 32 I'm not sure if I'm still being considered as part of the younger audience, but I am a fan.


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    Ball Watch, Bremont and Longines moderator samanator's Avatar
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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    I guess shiny and a more natural looking strap make it younger? Must be working since I would be more drawn to the brushed case, better lume and lower price of the Marvalight(And I'm old). COSC is nice, but if it was COSC and SpringLock then it would be easier to justify the price gap between the two.
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    Member Norm S's Avatar
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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    I like how simple the dial is. Just the logo and a singular "chronometer" really highlights the dial


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  6. #5
    Member Sparrowhawk's Avatar
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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    Have to agree, I'm not young, nor am I yet a geezer. I am in my prime.

    Not a huge fan of the Marvelight, like this one even less. I get polish for a dress watch, maybe something in the high end of the Trainmaster line, like in 18k gold. I like minimalism, but this just looks like more of the same with respect to the dial and case design, (even though the tube indices are polished as well), with 'enhancements' that are detractors for me.

    If I was going to get something in this vein at all it would be the Engineer Master II DLC. Some may say that the EMII DLC is not a competitor for the Pioneer, but for me it's a better all around watch, with all hours but the 3 being GTLS tube numerals.

    It would be nice to see Ball go the other direction with respect to polish, not so much brushed, but stealth or neutral, especially for their military or explorer inspired watches, EHC, Engineer II, and Engineer Master II. My Ball BMW GMT has DLC, and I wish the DLC was not polished, if it was muted or stealth DLC, the look of the watch would be greatly enhanced.

    I'm sure there are those who like or will like the Engineer II Pioneer, as some who have responded to the thread have stated, but it's not my first choice.

    If by appealing to young, Ball means being flashy, Ok, I guess I get it, but I still don't like it. Sorry, but the suede strap makes me think of an old grandpa's watch, not something new and exciting. Does the strap come pre-inground with old people smell? Just because other watch companies are doing this, does Ball have to do so as well?

    Fashion trends come and go, but excellent design and function will endure. I would hope that Ball would make their statement by continuing to be being different, in both design and technology, the use of GTLS Tubes, SpringLock, Amortizer for example. The DeepQuest is a good example of Ball's design being unique, minimalist, functional, and excellent. Now we just need a DQ v2, with SpringLock, a Power Reserve indicator, Grand Date, a second timezone similar to the Aviator Dual Time, and a stealth finish.

    I'm sure that some will like and others may come to like the Engineer Master II Pioneer, as there have already been replies to this thread stating that there are those who do, but it's not a step forward for Ball for me.




    Quote Originally Posted by samanator View Post
    I guess shiny and a more natural looking strap make it younger? Must be working since I would be more drawn to the brushed case, better lume and lower price of the Marvalight(And I'm old). COSC is nice, but if it was COSC and SpringLock then it would be easier to justify the price gap between the two.

  7. #6
    Member gtuck's Avatar
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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    Quote Originally Posted by samanator View Post
    I guess shiny and a more natural looking strap make it younger? Must be working since I would be more drawn to the brushed case, better lume and lower price of the Marvalight(And I'm old). COSC is nice, but if it was COSC and SpringLock then it would be easier to justify the price gap between the two.
    Totally agree. I also prefer the Marvelight face, brushed over polished surfaces and am not a nubuck fan. In fact, not an Engineer II ss bracelet fan either with the chunky links. (love my Trainmaster bracelets though!) Recent watches have all been COSC to satisfy my accuracy OCD. But $700 is quite a differential between the two watches. I'm old too.

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    Member Voodoo13's Avatar
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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    The Marvlight should have been a COSC, imho.

  9. #8
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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    The highly polished case and rather plain white dial doesn't match up at all with the rough suede strap--kind of like mixing oil with water--all at a rather less than youthful price tag. If straps are a selling point, then this one definitely needs a croc.

    Straps aside, this one doesn't seem all that appealing. With all that unused real estate on the dial, seems like they could have put the date window, without the Cyclops (the target buyer IS the younger crowd, right?!), above the "6" and then they could have actually had the "3" numeral as well for a perfectly symmetrical dial. A swing and a miss for me.
    Last edited by timefleas; December 31st, 2014 at 04:25.













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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post
    The DeepQuest is a good example of Ball's design being unique, minimalist, functional, and excellent. Now we just need a DQ v2, with SpringLock, a Power Reserve indicator, Grand Date, a second timezone similar to the Aviator Dual Time, and a stealth finish.
    What part of "minimalist" equates to PR, large date, and second time zone?

  11. #10
    Member Sparrowhawk's Avatar
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    Re: Engineer II Pioneer: A High Polish Chronometer (silver dial photo review)

    What part of minimalist does not equate to having these functions in a watch design? A watch could have these elements and be gaudy or it could be minimalist, it could also be neither.

    A watch might be more minimalist if it had only 2 hands, hour and minute, but then again it might not, depending on the design.


    Quote Originally Posted by ~tc~ View Post
    What part of "minimalist" equates to PR, large date, and second time zone?

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