Okay, here we go with another “tribute” to a historic model that was in production fifty or even sixty years ago. This new Ball Engineer Master II Skindiver automatic diving watch (Ref. DM2108A-P-BK), for example, pays homage to the original Ball Skindiver timekeeper that was introduced in 1962.
Comparing pictures of the original and the heir that was introduced a couple of weeks ago during the Baselworld 2012 trade show I must admit that the new model came very close to reproducing the predecessor in all of its manly, rugged charm.
Like most timekeepers that were introduced 50-60 years ago, the new Ball Engineer Master II Skindiver is offered in a very compact stainless steel case only 40.50 millimeters in diameter (believe it or not, the size was considered huge back then.)
And, although powered by a mass-produced ETA 2836-2 automatic movement and rated for whole 300 meters of water resistance, the watch is not terribly thick either measuring just a tad over 14 millimeters in height.
Its unidirectional rotating bezel with black aluminum ring and luminous diving scale looks even more usable and its dial that shows whole fifteen luminous elements (they used 12 tritium-filled micro-tubes for the hour markers and three more for the hands) seems to be very legible not only in a dark bedroom, but also deep underwater where there is no light.
However, the dial seems to be the main disappointment of this model: as you can see on the photos, its day of week indicator and the date window are placed in different parts of the dial making the watch look utterly stupid.
Of course, the design allowed Ball’s engineers to preserve the luminous tube at 3 hours, but wasn’t it possible to simply place the indicators at 9 and 3 o’clock respectively like Fortis did it for its military-styled B-47 Big Black Limited Edition (ref. 675.18.81 K) automatic watch. By the way, the Big Black is powered by the same caliber, so technically there were no problems in adapting the ebauche for such a layout!
Well, if the placement of calendar windows doesn’t irritate you to the same degree that it gets on my nerves, then this is a nice choice for you. I mean, the movement is robust and reliable, the case is versatile and finely crafted, and the tritium tubes are way brighter than normal Superluminova patches we are used to. If only not this date window!
Photos: Ball Watches
Ball Engineer Master II Skindiver Automatic (Ref. DM2108A-P-BK) diving watch specification
Price: $2600 (Retail)
Movement: Automatic, caliber ETA 2836-2, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week
Power reserve: 40 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.50 mm
Case height: 14.30 mm
Lug width: No data
Numerals: Arabic (on the bezel)
Hour markers: Luminous (H3-filled micro-tubes)
Hands: Luminous (H3-filled micro-tubes)
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap with standard steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, convex, antireflective
Case back: Screwed, solid