Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy
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Thread: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Australia / Japan

    Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    Just thought I'd say hello after some time away from the boards, as I've just organised to purchase a watch I never thought I'd buy.

    Now, I suppose there are quite a few watches in this category, although most would be due to either lack of willingness to spend crazy dollars or an intense dislike of a particular make of watch (why hello, Hublot). There aren't many watches from brands I greatly admire, in a style I typically covet (diver), whereby I could say with confidence that I have less than zero interest in a purchase.

    But, as many of us will attest, never say never - as it will come back and bite you. Particularly if that never is along the lines of 'No, darling, I'll never buy another watch - this is definitely the last'. Or, alternatively, if that never is 'That Ball Skindiver... that's one watch I'd never buy'.

    Attention turned back to the next watch, however, when I started planning a trip to Japan with my wife. I've been several times, and for this reason she's always wanted to go. Also, there's an island called Tashirojima that is simply covered in cats, and she's fascinated with those kind of oddities, so it seemed like the great basis for a trip. I started thinking about watch-hunting in Tokyo - perhaps bringing back an interested JDM specimen, or tracking down a vintage treasure.

    As an afterthought, I also figured I'd do a quick tour around some local dealers, as in Australia we have a goods and services tax (similar to a VAT) of 10%. However, if you're soon to travel overseas, and you take the item with you, you can purchase certain goods tax free. I figured this extra incentive enough reason to examine a few local pieces and see if there are anything compelling out there.

    There were a few pieces in which I had a middling interest; a UN maxi marine, an IWC pilot, but nothing which really got me excited. Literally the final stop on my search was a dealer that I visited primarily to try and look at a Longines Legend Diver, but who - luckily - was also a Ball dealer.

    To cut a long story slightly less long, I hardly recognised the Skin Diver. Even examining the watch in the case, I struggled with the idea that this was the same watch that I'd seen in photographs. The bold ceramic bezel, the striking dial, the polarising split day/date (which, it turns out, I love) just left me stunned. Then I got my hands on it.

    When I saw the first photos of the Skin Diver, one of the things that left me immediately underwhelmed was the bracelet. The end links looked odd, the clasp struck me as cheap, and I wondered (seriously wondered) as to what Ball had been thinking in their production of this. Of all things, Ball can deliver an outstanding bracelet, and this offering left me puzzled, so say the least. All that changed the moment I got the Skin Diver in my hands.

    Firstly, the clasp: this is actually a superb example of understated quality. I know they have suggested that the Skin Diver II will feature a different clasp, but to me this is actually a step backwards. The current clasp is the best-built example of this style of clasp I have ever seen. The finishing, whilist appearing dull in photographs, is extremely fine, with thick steel giving the clasp a real sense of authority (for want of a better word) in hand. When looking at it in the context of the whole watch package, this clasp is exactly what a vintage-inspired diver needs. This is a clasp that inspires confidence.

    Secondly, the end links and bracelet. I still believe the end links clash against the case, but when you look at the watch in person you realise that this is an intended - perhaps an almost necessary - feature of the watch. Watches of the vintage that the Skin Diver seeks to emulate didn't seamlessly flow together; shark mesh watch bands, for example, achieve almost the opposite effect, challenging the eye with contrasts in texture and finish. Beyond the end links, the bracelet is Ball through and through - exceedingly high quality, extremely comfortable. I was not surprised to hear that another buyer, in purchasing a Longines, had attempted to buy the bracelet from the Ball to fit to his new watch.

    Finally, the case, bezel and dial. Oh how wrong I was about this watch. The ceramic bezel, which I am not often drawn to in other models, is a revelation - the clarity of the markings is beyond compare. This coupled with the knowledge that the ceramic construction will protect that legibility for decades is itself amazing. The wide tubes provide exceptional illumination, the face itself is both clear and visually interesting - the minute marks are, I find, extremely attractive, and add some complexity to what could have been a very austere dial (looking at the prototype of the Skin Diver II, I much prefer the original). The split day/date, for me, just works. I think this, as well as the minute markers, adds as much visual interest as possible without taking this watch out of the 'vintage' space - compared with, for example, texture on the dial. The case is, to put it simply, perhaps the best watch case I have handled bar none. I can't provide more detail than that - you just have to hold the thing in your hands.

    Anyhow, as you can imagine, this watch is soon to be joining my collection. It is being held for me by the dealer, as I cannot collect it (due to the tax implications) until I am within a certain time period of leaving for Japan. As soon as I can, I'll post pics.

    Until then, please consider Tashirojima (aka, Cat Island):

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    lvt, Citizen V and samanator like this.
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  2. #2
    Member ten13th's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    NorCal, USA

    Re: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    Congrats. Now, have about some photos of watches?
    Follow me on Instagram: ten13th
    My watch collection: A mixture of metal, plastic, leather, glass, a few drops of lubricant and a few batteries.

  3. #3
    Ball Watch, Bremont and Longines moderator samanator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pompano Beach, FL

    Re: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    Welcome to the Ball forum and congrats on getting one of my most recommended watches. Fully agree on the clasp, anything more would just add bulk to one of the most comfortable, fit everyone bracelets made. The entire package is balanced and works nicely. It also defies it size very well. I'm also for Ball making the split day date the only way the do day/date watches and for me makes the side by side just look too crowded. We need Ball signature item that they do on all watches. The two areas where I think the Skindiver can improve is a slightly thinner font on the bezel and slightly thicker hands. I'd like to see it offered with a few colors also.

    I haven't had much chance to use this but since this is a new standard here, I let it do the talking:

    lvt and dosei like this.
    BALL Watch, Bremont and Longines Moderator

    My wife buys dogs and I buy watches and to date I have never stepped in watch poop!

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  5. #4
    lvt is online now
    Member lvt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    The dark side of the Moon

    Re: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    Quote Originally Posted by samanator View Post

    Haha, I didn't expect so much of Ball waches in a single post :P
    saturnphive likes this.
    Ball - Casio / G-shock - HMT - Longines - Parnis - Seagull - Seiko - Steinhart - Tissot - Victorinox - Yema

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Grand Prairie, TX

    Re: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    I have owned my Skindiver for just over a year, and it is one of my favorite things I own. I have had more questions about the watch than any other in my collection. The truth is that all others have been neglected for Skindiver wrist time. I love the bracelet that it came on, but I switched to Zulu straps about 6 moths ago. It gives the watch a great look, and with a black or grey Zulu I find that it works for dressier occasions as well. Because of the color scheme of the watch it looks great on gray, red, black, and most especially a black and grey Bond Zulu.

    I have seen the pictures of the Skindiver II pro to, and I am happy that I have the first addition. The redo is a step back in my oppinion.

    I am having trouble posting pics, but I will do so as soon as I overcome my technical difficulties.

    Enjoy the Skindiver. Great watch from a greta company.

  7. #6
    Member Nokie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Marin County, CA

    Re: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    Skindiver is an awesome watch. Good choice.
    "Either he's dead or my watch has stopped"
    Groucho Marx

    "The only reason for time is so that everything does not happen at once..."
    Albert Einstein

  8. #7
    Member Sparrowhawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Re: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    Surprised they don't call the island Nekogashima...

  9. #8
    COZ is offline
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Minnesota, USA

    Re: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    Congrats on the Skin Diver, here's a pic until you get yours up...

    I would like to see the hands a little wider also. I've put it on a Breitling ocean racer rubber strap, love this combo.
    Last edited by COZ; April 12th, 2014 at 02:05.
    dosei likes this.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Healdsburg, California USA Earth

    Re: Incoming: Ball Skindiver, the watch I never expected to buy

    Wow, fantastic watch!

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