The new Ball Engineer II Magneto S (ref. NM3022C-N1CJ-BK) features a very interesting combination of sporty -albeit a bit deceptive- exterior with a reliable -even if a bit too standard- mechanism. However, what makes this new gadget truly stand out from the ranks of other magnetically shielded wristwatches is the way the shielding system actually works.
I don’t know whether it was the Swiss watchmaker who had to shell a serious amount of cash to Marvel to use the name of its main supervillain, or was it the comic book publisher who plans to use the wristwatch in one of its upcoming blockbusters (or, perhaps, neither of these assumptions is true and the name of the piece has nothing to do with the character), but I must admit that the new device in fact deserves some attention thanks to its ingenious, yet simple complication.
Like their last year’s Engineer II Pioneer Chronometer model, the new watch is equipped with a slightly modified ETA 2824-2 automatic movement that they prefer to call BALL RR1103-CSL. Unlike many rebranded ETA calibers from other watchmakers that often differ from the original only with a refinished oscillating weight, this COSC-certified chronometer-grade mechanism actually earned its new name.
According to the brand, they have replaced the original Incabloc system with their own “revolutionary” and patented SpringLOCK anti-shock system that, while being rated at the same 5000 G (which basically means that the movement must retain its accuracy after a drop on a concrete floor from one meter high), reduces balance-spring’s shock impact by 66%, which is quite impressive indeed.
The mechanism’s anti-magnetic protection is ensured with a MuMETAL nickel–iron alloy cage (according to Wikipedia, the alloy is usually 77% nickel, 16% iron, 5% copper and 2% chromium or molybdenum), as well as by their own A-PROOF diaphragm on the back. The latter is an exceptionally interesting device that allows you to take a look at the movement by turning the notched bezel: a very nice design for those who just have to have their daily fix by taking a loving look at the tiny engine.
Alas, the caliber’s finish is quite basic for the grade with its oscillating weight featuring the usual Geneva stripes and a gold inscription.
Compared to the aforementioned Pioneer, this new Magneto S looks a lot sportier and also a bit more legible.
While there are only three micro-tubes that are filled with mildly radioactive, self-illuminating tritium gas (the rest of dial elements, including the markings and numerals on the rotating bezel, are filled with some chemical luminous compound, possibly the omnipresent Superluminova), all elements are easily readable at night with a baton-shaped hour marker at 12 hours even featuring lume of a different shade of green for easier orientation.
Although featuring styling that hints at some serious water resistance capacity, this is not a diving watch. Rated at just 100 meters, the device will allow you swim in it or do some snorkeling, but use it for real diving and you may immediately start shopping for another timekeeper, which is better suited for this sort of endeavors.
At 42 millimeters in diameter, the wristwatch is similar in dimensions to the 2014 Engineer Hydrocarbon Hunley, but, with its subtler styling and better proportions, doesn’t look as massive, which is actually a good thing for a timekeeper that is supposed to be worn during office hours.
Photos: Ball Watches
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Ball Engineer II Magneto S (Ref. NM3022C-N1CJ-BK) watch specification
Price: $3400 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber BALL RR1103-CSL (base ETA 2824-2), COSC-certified chronometer, A-PROOF anti-magnetic system up to 80,000 A/m, SpringLOCK anti-shock system, shock-resistance up to 5,000 G, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Movement decoration: Oscillating weight adorned with “Cotes de Geneve” pattern, covered with antimagnetic A-PROOF diaphragm
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Hour markers: Luminous (green Superluminova)
Hands: Luminous (tritium tubes)
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black cordura fiber with buckle
Case back: Sapphire