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Ball Engineer III Outlier Watch Review

Ball Hands on Watch Reviews

Ball Engineer III Outlier

Ball Engineer III Outlier

One thing you should not say about the Ball Engineer III Outlier is that it is an homage, especially to the Rolex Explorer II. I took some flak on the video above, where I referenced this. Now, in terms of actual design, this newer piece from Ball is not the same. The case design is different, as is the dial because Ball uses tritium tubes. I took the word homage in the truest definition, something that is inspired by and has similar characteristics. Paying homage to. But in the watch world, homage tends to mean copy, a replica with a different name.
The Ball Outlier is a 904L stainless case and bracelet, this particular version has a black dial, an orange GMT hand, and a date magnifier, and this is a true or travelers GMT as well. So, in that sense, and if you laid it out on paper, you would say they are similar. Again, the design is different, but I meant no disrespect to Ball, nor did I want to offend anyone. I do bet had I not mentioned it in the video, the reverse would have happened, with people saying it was an Explorer homage. Back to the Outlier, this piece has a custom GMT movement, is limited to 1000 pieces per color, and comes in either a black, blue, or white dial, with either a black ceramic or stainless steel bezel insert, and starts at $3,4000. 

Specifications:

  • 40mm 904L Stainless Steel Case and Bracelet
  • 41.2mm bezel diameter
  • 9-3 with crown-44.2mm
  • 46mm Lug to Lug
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • 13.4mm Thick including crystal
  • Weight 162 Grams
  • Top Hat Sapphire Crystal 
  • Ceramic Bezel Insert
  • Automatic BALL Manufacture caliber RRM7337-C
  • Chronometer certified COSC
  • Amortiser® patented anti-shock system
  • 1,000 Gauss (80,000 A/m)
  • 5,000Gs shock resistance
  • 200m Water Resistant

MSRP $3,749

https://shop.ballwatch.ch/en/search?search=OUTLIER

Ball Engineer III Outlier

With three colors, and two bezel options, pricing starts at $3400 for the stainless bezel insert, but this version, with the ceramic bezel insert, is $3,749. This is MSRP, and I have seen this model listed at dealers for a few hundred less for each model, but constantly the ceramic bezel version is about $300 or $350 more. I incorrectly stated in the video that the steel bezel version is not lumed, but I was incorrect. The steel bezel has dual lume, black lume on half, and C3 lume on the other. The bezel is a GMT or 24-hour bezel, but instead of a 24 they put a lumed pip triangle, of course, this is a bi-directional bezel, and it has such a precise feel when turning it, where it “locks” into place at every hash mark. It is quite a solid feeling GMT bezel, which is not always the case with this style of watch. 

Ball Engineer III Outlier

The Ball Engineer III Outlier does have a 904L stainless case and bracelet, and this is not the first time Ball has used 904L, as they do use it on a lot of their higher-end models. 904L is not stronger or harder, but it is more corrosion resistant, and it does have a different sheen or luster to it, especially when polished, this GMT is very highly polished, dare I say too highly polished for this style of watch. The entire case is highly polished, not just the sides, as is the crown, the bezel edge, and the outer links of the bracelet, with the inner links being brushed. It does look very beautiful but I think almost all highly polished steel could have been toned down a bit. 

Ball Engineer III Outlier

And even though his is a GMT watch, you still get 200m of Water Resistance on the Ball Engineer III Outlier. And, as I said above with this very much being a “tool watch”, I am not sure why they polished everything as they did, as 904L is not more scratch-resistant than 316, so if it does get hard used, it will be noticeable. That said, it is a beautiful-looking piece, that can withstand a lot of abuse as far as the movement shock protection and its being anti-magnetic. This watch is built internally to be able to take a beating. 

Before we get to the movement of this Outlier, let’s discuss the dial. It very much is a Ball dial, with a lot of tritium tubes, the Railroad counterbalance to the second hand, and the Ball logo and text. The dial is matte black, not a glossy or sunburst dial, and at times can look more of a dark grey, but this does cut down on reflection. On top of that, the outer edge or chapter ring of the dial is placed on top of the main dial, almost like a stadium dial but not quite, and with the dial and bezel, you can track three timezones. 

Ball Engineer III Outlier

The date magnifier is present as well, something Ball really seems to like on their watches, which is not my favorite, and for the most part I would always like a watch better without one, but at least this does have a date as I have seen a lot of GMT watches lately without one. One thing I very much do like though is the top hat sapphire crystal used on this piece, a classic touch to a modern style watch, and it just adds to the overall look of this piece and gives the dial a very cool look with the way those tritium tubes can distort from certain angles. 

Ball Engineer III Outlier

But let’s talk about the movement for a bit, It is listed as a Ball Caliber movement, but I have found is a base Soprod M100 movement. Ball worked closely with Soprod to develop this movement and added quite a few touches along with the module to allow for this flyer’s GMT. This allows the hour hand to move independently of the minute hand and allows the user to quickly change the time to their destination upon arrival. This movement much like the newer Miyota 9075 movement does not have a quick set date feature though, which I do find a little odd that this could not be factored in somehow. 

In the dark, the Ball Engineer III Outlier is like pretty much all other Ball watches, in that it will glow without any light source or charging, and in my opinion, Ball does tritium better than anyone in the game. The bezel on this example is Superluminoa, as there are parts around the dial, so you kind of get the best of both worlds with this one. 

On this wrist, this is a very comfortable watch, as the case is 40mm, but the bezel is actually 42mm, so this watch wears larger (as is the case with a lot of Ball Watches). On my 7 1/2 inch (19.05cm) wrist, I think it looks and feels fantastic, and it is not overly heavy either. It feels very balanced. 

Now the bracelet of the Ball Engineer III Outlier is very well finished, and it is comfortable on the wrist, but the deployant buckle is a little underwhelming. Sure, it functions just fine and there are half links present, but for a watch with a retail price of almost $4,000, I guess I expected more than just a signed butterfly deployant. I think a more elaborate clasp not only would enhance the bracelet but would also allow one to get a more custom fit on the wrist. 

Ball Engineer III Outlier

So no, this Ball Engineer Explorer II is not an homage to the Rolex Explorer II, at least not to most of our viewers. I thought it was, in the sense of materials used, colors and that is a round GMT watch, but I meant it in the best sense. I guess what I should have said was it was a great alternative as it does the same thing as an Explorer II, with a slightly similar look, while also being thousands of dollars cheaper and not sacrificing any functionality. I think it is a beautiful piece, and every dial color looks great, especially the white, though I am not sure why Ball does not offer the ceramic bezel on the white dial. Maybe there will be future iterations of this piece, but for now, these models are limited to 1000 pieces, maybe we will see an Outlier II in a few years. 
Ball Website

Ball Engineer III Outlier

I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.

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