Although not as jaw-dropping as the massive Engineer Hydrocarbon DeepQuest 3000M diver (DM3000A-SCJ-BK) that the brand started selling about two years ago, the limited-edition Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster Captain Poindexter still makes quite an impression with its massive body and a bold face with broad, pointy hands that look like they were inspired by some super-sword from one of those Final Fantasy series of videogames.
Created as a homage to Alan Poindexter, an American astronaut who took one of Engineer Hydrocarbon watches into space and aboard the International Space Station, the Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster Captain Poindexter offers the same easily recognizable styling as other members of the family and offers a similar degree of legibility in just about any condition (including submerging deep underwater and surviving nuclear Armageddon).
It must also be noted that I am satisfied with the size of this object. According to official specs, the Spacemaster Captain Poindexter measures only 41.5 millimeters in diameter, which places him on the right of the border that separates a rugged, full of masculine presence timekeeper from a metal monster that would look better on a Hulk rather than on a normal human being.
At just over 16 millimeters high, the watch is a bit too thick and may pose some problems if you plan to wear it with a business suit. However, taking into account its formidable water resistance rating of some one thousand feet, the timekeeper’s thickness is well justified.
Frankly, I can’t find any significant flaw with this little monster besides the stuff that is dictated solely by my taste and personal preferences. The exterior is organic and natural, although I am not sure about those four thingies on the rotating bezel. Perhaps, they serve to protect the piece’s synthetic crystal from being shuttered by some hard object, I don’t know.
The watch features their proprietary Self-Powered Micro Gas Lights (3H) system with whole 80 micro gas tubes filled with mildly radioactive (but absolutely harmless if you don’t plan to eat them) tritium that glows brightly in the dark for dozens of years.
According to their website, this version is limited to whole 1000 pieces (which doesn’t make it that limited in the long run.) It will be available both with matte black and blue dials. While the version in blue looks a lot more cheerful, it is the one in black that truly strikes a chord with me. Space is black, after all.
As the American-owned company puts it in its press release, the watch is powered by a COSC-certified automatic chronometer with day and date indication. The movement is called Caliber RR1102 and, to be frank, I have no idea* about which ebauche they took as a base for this mechanism. Well, I don’t think that it matters much, since, with a brand of this caliber, the choice of caliber (no pun intended) will always be an academic question: the mechanism is guaranteed to be reliable enough to ensure the most satisfying experience of owning this gadget.
UPDATE ON Caliber RR1102: The mechanism is based on ETA 2836-2: a slightly more complex version of the bullet-proof ETA 2824-2 that, besides the usual hours, minutes, central seconds, and date, also features a day of week indicator.
Photos: Ball Watches
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster Captain Poindexter specification
Movement: Automatic, Caliber RR1102 (based on ETA 2836-2,) COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 41.50 mm
Case height: 16.10 mm
Dial: Black / Blue
Numerals: Arabic, luminous
Hour markers: Luminous (3H tritium tubes)
Hands: Sword-shaped, luminous (3H tritium tubes)
Water resistance: 333 meters
Strap: Tapered stainless steel bracelet with patented folding buckle and extension system / Extra rubber strap with standard buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective, 4.00 mm thick
Back: Stainless steel