Ball Skindiver Heritage
If you are looking for a Skindiver, you have a lot to choose from when it comes to Ball Watch Company. This one here, the Ball Engineer Master II Skindiver Heritage (its full name), which I will refer to throughout the review as the Ball Skiniver Heritage, is one of many available on the Ball website. At first glance, it is kind of overload if you search Skindiver and you will also wonder, why are there so many and why do they essentially look the same? Well, they are not all the same, and there are many differences depending on exactly which series and model you are looking at, but this is the blue dial under the Heritage lineup, with the thinner hands, blue ceramic bezel COSC and coming in at that perfect sweet spot in my opinion of 42mm. Of course, it is loaded up with tritium tubes on the dial and available with either a rubber strap or H-link bracelet and they start at just around $2850 on the rubber strap.
42mm Stainless Steel Case
53mm Lug to Lug
22mm Lug Width
123 Grams on Rubber, 220 Grams on Bracelet
Ceramic Bezel Insert
300 Meters Water Resistant
BALL RR1102-C Movement (Base Eta 2836)
Price $2850 on Rubber, $2950 on Bracelet
What is a skindiver? That’s a question I see asked often. Simply, it just means it is a dive watch that is more intended for diving that relies on breath-holding as opposed to using scuba gear, oxygen tanks, etc. Basically, it is not meant to go as deep as heavy-duty dive watches, such as the last Ball Hydrocarbon I reviewed. Weirdly though, this Ball Skindiver Heritage is still 300m water-resistant, which is still a high water resistance, but some of the other Ball watches are water-resistant to 1000m, so I guess it all depends on the brand. More importantly, this watch has the look of what we normally refer to as Skindiver, and we have seen this design with Seiko and countless other brands. No crown guards, a slimmer and more sleek case, and something that easily does double duty as an everyday piece as well as a light dive watch, a day at the beach, or for a dip in the lake.
The dial of this lineup comes in either blue or black, but you’ll notice if you want the black dial, it has a different handset, much thicker and fatter than the slim hands you see on this blue dial. Not sure what the reasoning for that is, but it seems a good amount of the Ball Skindiver’s have the wider hands, and only a few have these slim hands, which I prefer. The blue sunray dial is a nice deep shade of blue and of course, reflects light nicely, and you get a day/date complication and of course, large tritium tubes, and yet the dial stays pretty uncluttered, allowing for an easy to read piece.
There are so many Ball watches available, I cant honestly say this is my favorite, but it has been my favorite so far that I have reviewed and that is due to the design and shape. This design and case style is pretty iconic at this point and just a great wearable watch. The crown is easy to grip and satisfying to turn, as is the large knurled crown, and all the finishing on the case is exactly what you would expect for a $3000 watch.
The Ball Skinidver Heritage comes on either an H-link bracelet or a branded rubber strap, and I have to say the rubber strap is far and away my favorite of the two. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a very nice bracelet, solid stainless steel, with a good weight that balances out the case head and a simple clasp and extension.
But, I am a sucker for a nice rubber strap, and this is one of them. Yes, it is branded, but it is so flexible and comfortable, and I love a watch that has straight lugs where a strap will fit seamlessly, not allowing for any gap whatsoever. And beyond that, the custom buckle is another nice touch, and it just all works together to be a very satisfying way of wearing this Ball Skindiver Heritage. At least for me.
If there is one downfall, it is the way the bracelet attaches to the case. I did not show it on video, as I don’t think anyone wanted to hear me cursing, but man is the bracelet, or more specifically the end links, really attached to the lugs of this case. I mean they are on there. Basic spring pins are used for the connection, but this is a tight fit, and as such, those end links will leave marks on the back of the lugs. My advice is if you are a little OCD, buy it on the rubber strap, or if you do buy it on the bracelet, leave it on the bracelet, so you don’t see any unsightly marks.
Under that case back above is a base ETA 2836. Now, Ball, like many companies likes to market their movements as something more than they are, give them their own name, almost leaving people to think they are in-house or manufacture movements. The reality is, there is probably a custom rotor under that diver case back and of course, it is COSC certified, and I guess they feel that is enough to give it their own caliber number. And in fairness to Ball, they are far from the only brand to do this, and you are getting a very nice and accurate movement in this skindiver, and a certificate to prove it.
Of course, I can not end this review without a lume shot, as one of the big reasons people by Ball Watches is for their use of tritium tubes. I am not a big fan of tritium, I know it has its purpose, but also feel it is limiting to dial design choices. That said, Ball has been using them for a long time and probably has some of the best-looking dials of brands that use tritium, and you still get some SuperLumiNova on the ceramic bezel as well, so best of both worlds.
It is plain to see that this Ball Skindiver Heritage has a lot to offer and because Ball Watch has such a wide array of models, you don’t have to shell out $3000 to get a Skindiver. There are non-COSC models that are much less and even 40mm models with domed bezel inserts for a slightly more upscale look, so when it comes to Skindivers, Ball has you covered. I know it probably goes against what most think, but I would love to see a Ball without the tritium, but I get it, that is what they are known for, and as I said, they do it well, and this Ball Skindiver Heritage is a perfect example. Beyond that, I do really have an affection for this piece, as it not only looks great but is very comfortable to wear. And that rubber strap. Oh, that perfect rubber strap.
Let me know what you think of this Skindiver, down in the comments below.