I’ve been fortunate to handle a variety of different watches from Ball as of late. While I tend to request models that sort of fit into my own personal tastes, sometimes it can be good to get out of that comfort zone, and check out something a little different. That’s the boat I found myself rowing when the Ball Engineer Master ll Diver Worldtime landed on my review desk.
I’ve reviewed simple three-handers, watches with segmented numerals and those with wide indices, and of course a GMT. A world timer? Not so much, and that’s precisely what we’ve got here. Now, GMT watches and worldtime watches can do similar things, but they approach it in different ways. Rather than a hand moving around the dial, you’ve got a two-part system, at least on this implementation.
First off, you’ve got the 24-hour ring that rotates at the outer edge of the dial of the Ball Engineer Master ll Diver Worldtime (pictured right above). This is locked into sync with the hour hand, and you set it by rotating the crown in reverse (when setting the time). Once you’ve got that set to your preference, you then have that outer ring of cities to set so you can see what time it is anywhere. On many watches, that’s handled by another (in my opinion, extraneous) crown. Here? You interface with it via the bezel.
At first glance, the bezel of the Ball Engineer Master ll Diver Worldtime looks like any other dive timer bezel, but once you realize it’s under the crystal, you know you’ve got something different. You can rotate that around to get your current city or time zone meshed to the current 24-hour time on the inner ring, and now you can see the world at a glance. Once it’s there, you never need to touch the bezel again. At least, that’s what I did during the loan period. If I owned the watch, I would probably play with getting the 24-hour ring set such that I could leave the bezel with the triangle at the 12 o’clock position.
That said, you could just as well use the bezel on the Ball Engineer Master ll Diver Worldtime as a dive timer. Or an egg timer. Or a parking meter timer. You’ll have thrown off your world-time tracking, but that’s an easy enough thing to get back to (particularly if you have the hour ring set so you just go back to the “zero” position with the bezel). That’s not all you get with the watch, either – you’ve got the date at 3 o’clock, and the day showing up at 6 o’clock, as shown below. In fact, that gives you a sense of the different tritium applications you’ve got here – small tubes, wide tubes, and even under-bezel mounting.
And yes – tritium is all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, it won’t be a bright as some of the monster lume applications there are, but it’s hard to beat not needing to charge it in sunlight. And frankly, once you’re in a dark room and your eyes adjust? Well, it’s not problem at all seeing it. In the photo below, I’ve even paired it up with some tritium pendants that I’ve gotten from Tritiglow (gotta catch ’em all!)
One thing I particularly want to call out on the Ball Engineer Master ll Diver Worldtime is the strap. Well, ok, the strap is ok – it’s a decent rubber strap, and one we’ve seen from the brand before (which is to say a hard fitted end would be nice). I really like their bracelets (which would be another nice offering on this model), but on their straps, I really, REALLY like how they’ve done their buckles. On the underside, they’ve got it recessed so the buckle can sit in more tightly to the strap, and give you less under-wrist bulk. A few other brands do this as well, but it’s rarer than you might think, and makes for a much more comfortable wearing experience.
So, the big question at the end of the day is this – did I like the $3,149 limited-edition Ball Engineer Master ll Diver Worldtime? In terms of worldtime watches, this was about my favorite. That said, I would probably still opt for a “plain” GMT (my own preference, I suppose), and if I was going for a watch from Ball to add to my own collection, this wouldn’t be it either (that would be the Marvelight II, Icebreaker M, Archangel, or the recently-reviewed AeroGMT II. That’s just me, however. If you pull up next to me with the Ball that suits your fancy, I’ll raise my glass to you and be willing to talk it over why that was the one for you. That’s the thing – with Ball, if you want tritium, they’ve got it, and probably in a style that fits your tastes. ballwatch.ch
- Brand & Model: Ball Engineer Master ll Diver Worldtime
- Price: $3,149
- Who’s it for? You like a watch with a ton of protections (shock, magnetic, WR, and so on) and really need to know the time around the world, at a glance
- Would I wear it? Of all the various world timers I’ve tried, this was my favorite. That said, I prefer the simplicity of a GMT hand (as it doesn’t require my reading glasses to check things)
- What I’d change: I think a bracelet option, at this pricepoint, would be appreciated
- The best thing about it: This has a lot going on – it’s a world timer, but the bezel can also be used as dive timer. Oh, and the fact that there’s no extra crown to set the inner bezel? All the better!
Tech Specs from Ball
- LIMITED EDITION: 1000
- WEIGHT: Approx. 130g
- Automatic caliber BALL RR1501-C
- Chronometer certified COSC
- SIZE (CASE): Ø 42mm, height 15 mm
- WATER RESISTANCE: 300m/1000ft
- ANTI-MAGNETISM: 4,800A/m
- MICRO GAS TUBES: 36 micro gas tubes on dial, hour, minute, second hands and inner bezel for night reading capability
- World time indication
- Uni-directional diving bezel illuminated by micro gas tubes
- Hours, minutes, sweep seconds, day and date
- CASE MATERIAL:
- Stainless Steel
- Sapphire crystal transparent case back
- CROWN: Screwed-in crown
- CRYSTAL: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
- DIAL COLOR: Black
- BRACELET: Rubber strap with pin buckle
- LUG WIDTH: 20mm
- LUG TO LUG: 48mm