Ball’s first iteration of this dive watch dates all the way back to 2006, so 16 years ago, and now their latest version, the Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer (get used to that long name being plastered through this article), is hitting the scene. As usual, you will have a lot of tritium tubes on the dial, including some that you would not expect, 300m of water resistance, antimagnetic protection, an inner rotating bezel and a choice of two dial colors and even two color choices of tritium tubes. Pricing starts at just about $2,500 for the rubber strap version in this review and on a full stainless steel bracelet for $2600. Lots of dual crown divers on the market, so let’s take a look at what Ball brings to the table with this one.
I have to say, and I think it caught me a little off guard seeing this watch in person, I was not expecting this much high polish. Now let me be clear, this is purely subjective, and some people will absolutely love this, but for a watch that is marketed as a do-it dive watch, it is a little odd that the outer bezel, case sides, and crowns are all high mirror polished. The only part of this watch that is satin brushed is the top of the case, and the case back has a few different finishes, but for all intent and purposes, this is an all-high polished piece, and if you get the bracelet, which I will show in a stock photo below, it becomes very flashy.
Blue dial on bracelet (Stock Photo)
I am sure the bracelet is very nice, but it is one of the main reasons I had Ball send me this Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer on the rubber strap, but I have to say, this still does put this watch in the no go category. I prefer little chamfers of high polish or little accents here or there, but for a dive watch like this, and if one were to actually use this watch as a backup to their dive computer, I just see this getting very scratched up. And you absolutely can use this as a backup or as a recreational piece if you would want to go old school, as the internal bezel not only turns via the two o’clock crown, but it does so very precisely and audibly with a clicking sound and feel, and can be used underwater, as you need to push down to turn this crown.
All that out of the way, this is a beautiful dive watch, and though I have seen a few say this is a little generic looking, I prefer the term classic. I love a dual crown, inner rotating bezel dive watch, basically, anything that resembles the EPSA compression dive watch is usually up my alley, whether it be a true compression case or not doesn’t really matter to me. Obviously, others feel the same as there are so many of this style of watch out there and at all different price points. I wouldn’t say this piece reminds me of any one vintage piece in particular, but yes it does have that basic layout, and at 42mm by 50mm, it is sized like many others as well, which again, is not a bad thing in my opinion and I am glad to see it is over 40mm and not under.
The dial of the Ball Engineer Master II Chronometer Diver (What a name right?), is pretty similar to a lot of other Ball watches, especially the diver, and I will admit the logo and text underneath and the different fonts used, can get a little busy, especially with the signature RR (Rail Road) second hand, but its kind of Ball’s thing, so it works, though I would love if they could come up with a different and less wordy logo at some point.
Tritium tubes are all around here and I did say there were some unique ones, and there are. You may have already noticed that the inner bezel is lumed, but that is not lume paint under those stencil numbers and markers, no that is a ring of tritium all around the inner bezel, basically sandwiched between 2 different layers, to give you long-lasting bezel lume. I believe Ball is the only company that has ever done this with a watch, and I for one do think that is pretty cool.
What I don’t really love though is the cyclops, and it seems Ball really loves these date magnifies these days, and all I will say is for those who like them, great. But for those that don’t, and for those of us where a cyclops is a deal breaker, maybe Ball should look into offering the date magnifier as an option and not standard. Just a thought.
Ball offers a lot of watches that have COSC movements, and this one is no different, with the ETA 2892-A2 as the base moment used here, and while it is a great movement and my example has been keeping time well within spec, Ball did do something I enjoy very much, and that’s covered up that movement! I know, I know, most folks love to see a movement through a display case back, and I do myself when it is a really special movement, but especially with a dive watch, I expect a solid case back, and here they did not disappoint. Would you really prefer to see the movement instead of this awesome relief artwork of the dive helmet and seahorses? Really?
As I stated previously, 42mm is a great size, as I feel that even for those that prefer a much larger watch 42mm works, and it’s not so big that it works off those who prefer something a little smaller normally. Now you can be on either side of the coin and reading this right now and saying, “No, I will never wear a 42mm watch!”, and that is fine, we all have our reasons and at $2,500 you damn well better like the size of your watch, but I have always found 42mm by 50mm to be my sweet spot, at least for the past decade or so anyways and on my 7 1/2 inch wrist, this is very comfortable watch and with the case back making this watch ride a little high, I don’t feel those crowns riding into the back of my hand either.
The rubber strap is a little plain, but it does work and the custom buckle kind of reminds me of a roller-style buckle and feels like one on the wrist, so all good there, but I do have to say, this strap stinks of vanilla to a point that it is almost sickening. This is not the first rubber strap I have encountered that wreaks of vanilla, I have found some will have a light scent, of course, some not at all, and others, like this one, like I accidentally dropped a bottle of vanilla extract on my arm. So much so, that the girl at the post office asked me if I had cookies or cupcakes on me. No joke. If you are overly sensitive to smells, you may want to let this one air out a bit.
Then we get to the tritium of the Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer (thank goodness I am copy/pasting this and not typing the name over and over) and like any watch with tritium, it shows up in complete darkness, so you will not be getting any day lume with this one. For those that are not familiar, these are tritium vials encased in glass tubes that need no light source to charge, but they are not as bright and you do need to be in pretty much complete darkness for them to glow. The tradeoff is, that they will glow this bright for at least 10 years, even if you stuck it in a drawer for a solid year, it would not matter. No focus stacking here, I did my best to give you an accurate look at this yellowish orange and green tritium lume.
What would I like to see different on this Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer? Well, I think it’s pretty obvious, but I would prefer a much more satin finish, either brushed or blasted or even brushed titanium. The date magnifier would need to go as well, and I think the dial text, well let’s just say less is more. I love the overall design and case shape, the size is great and the coolness factor, as well as the functionality of the way the inner bezel operates and the ring of tritium under the bezel, are big high points, but possibly not enough for this to become a daily wear piece. What say you? Is it perfect as is? Let me know what your thoughts are down below or on Youtube.
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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