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Review: Ball Engineer II Volcano

With hands-on analysis and live photographs.
by Simon Neo on December 1, 2016
Positives

Interesting case material used for the watch
Rugged, sporty look

As its tagline of “Accuracy Under Adverse Conditions” suggests, Ball Watches goes all out to design and create the most accurate timepieces on the planet. The Ball Engineer II Volcano is no different.

These timepieces have been built to withstand the toughest and most adverse of conditions a watch can be put through. The latter is true especially in the latest release from Ball Watches Engineer II series, the Ball Engineer II Volcano.

 

 

The Ball Engineer II Volcano.

The Ball Engineer II Volcano.

 

The Ball Engineer II Volcano was designed with one simple goal in mind which was to have a timepiece capable of achieving accuracy under the harshest conditions a volcanic setting can offer. In a volcanic environment, one can expect an unusually high magnetic reading due to exposure of the earth’s geomagnetic field and as such, the watch must be designed with special materials such as anti-magnetic casing to prevent disruption from the volcanic magnetic fields.

During the Singapore launch event we attended, the guest speaker was none other than home grown mountaineer David Lim, who led and organised a team to the top of Mount Everest. Sustaining an injury on the summit push, he did not make the summit himself though two other team members succeeded in making the top on May 25, 1998. A week after his return, and not related to the climb, he was stricken with Guillain–Barré syndrome, a rare nerve disorder where the immune system attacks the peripheral nerves. Paralysed from eyes down, he spent six months in hospitals, and emerged partially disabled in both legs.

He overcame the extreme odds and made the world’s third solo of Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano in the world (6893m) in 2005. And was there to give us a glimpse of the difficulties involved in scaling mountains (and volcanos).

 

Case, Dial and Hands

Coming in a 45 mm case, the Ball Engineer II Volcano’s case is made using a special material called Mumetal. The patented Mumetal & Carbide composite has shielding properties that prevents any form of disruption caused by a magnetic field thus ensuring the accuracy of the watch.

 

The Ball Engineer II Volcano's case is in Mumetal, a special

The Ball Engineer II Volcano’s case is in the patented Mumetal and carbide. Perhaps the first watch to ever sport this case material.

 

The watch is designed to withstand a magnetic field causing 80,000 A/m or an equivalent of 1000 Gauss. This is comparable to the magnetic resistance the Rolex Milgauss can provide and falls short when compared to Omega’s Planet Ocean and Globemaster which can achieve an anti-magnetic protection of up to 15,000 Gauss.

 

The case looks like forged carbon, but is able to withstand magnetic fields of up to 80,000 A/m

The case looks like forged carbon, but is able to withstand magnetic fields of up to 80,000 A/m

 

From an aesthetics perspective, the dial comes in dark grey and compliments well with the carbon black casing, the dial markers and hands are fitted with micro gas tubes for night reading capability which is a standard for most Ball watches. We like the overall design of the watch, rugged and sporty feel with the choice of colors. The red 5 minute markers and the red center seconds hands are aesthetically pleasing.

 

The dial is highly legible.

The dial is highly legible. The micro tubes on the markers glow very bright in the dark, and does not depend on exposure to light earlier.

 

The addition of a date indicator on the dial in some ways adds value to the dial, giving the timepiece a more complete look.

 

The Movement

The Ball Engineer II Volcano is powered by the automatic caliber BALL RR1102-C that operates at a frequency of 28,800 vph and offers a reasonable power reserve of up to 38 hours. This movement is chronometer certified COSC, further ensuring the quality and accuracy of the movement along with a shock protection of up to 5000Gs and water resistance of up to 100m.

 

The caseback shows an engraving of a climber succeeding on a climb, straddling the peak.

The caseback shows an engraving of a climber succeeding on a climb, straddling the peak.

 

The caseback is uniquely designed with an engraving of a mountaineer straddling the peak of a mountain which was just conquered. We would have wished to have a peek of the movement through an opening from the back, but we did not get the opportunity to open the back. We found the engraving to be enticing as well and we can settle with that.

 

Concluding Thoughts

We like the innovativeness of this new release in terms of the material used. The R&D efforts to create the composite material of Mumetal & Carbide goes to show the commitment the brand has towards its objective of “Accuracy Under Adverse Conditions”. Although the performance of the material pales in comparison with other brands such as Omega Watches, we should consider the efforts made and recognize the work done to build a watch able to withstand the conditions set out.

 

On the wrist, it is a little on the large side, but not uncomfortable. The weight is similar to a stainless steel case, but the murmetal feels warm to the touch.

On the wrist, it is a little on the large side, but not uncomfortable. The weight is similar to a stainless steel case, but the murmetal feels warm to the touch.

 

From an aesthetics point, the watch is simple in design and the colors are well-matched to give it a sporty look, the interesting case material used helps to bolster the rugged look the watch gives off. Priced at S$ 3980 (inclusive of GST), the Ball Engineer II Volcano comes with options of either a rubber strap or canvas strap with a standard buckle.

 

Technical Specifications:

Movement

  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1102-C Chronometer certified COSC

Functions

  • 15 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second hands and dial for night reading capability
  • Patented anti-magnetic protection
  • Hours, minutes, sweep seconds, day and date

Shock resistance

  • 5,000Gs

Water resistance

  • 100m/330ft

Antimagnetic

  • 80,000A/m

Case

  • Patented Mumetal & Carbide composite
  • Diameter 45mm, height 12.4mm
  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Screwed-in crown

Band

  • Rubber strap with standard buckle and canvas strap with standard buckle

Dial

  • Grey
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