When Ball Watch requested me to check dive one of many firm’s latest watches, the Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer, I hesitated a bit. Ball Watch didn’t jingle a diving bell for me, however one thing else from historical past jangled. A model’s “historical past” part is at all times the primary one I examine earlier than testing a watch.
Other than diver’s watches with their restricted histories, there are pilot’s watches, which have loved rather more time in historical past than divers, and railroad watches, which have the longest historical past linked to technical necessities.
One factor is frequent to all three of all these watches: if they’re minutes – and even seconds – off, life is threatened.
The 1891 Nice Kipton Practice Wreck of Ohio, which occurred as a result of an engineer’s watch had stopped, is the purpose typically taken because the impetus for making a dependable railroad timing system. Webster Clay Ball was appointed chief time inspector of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railways after the tragedy, establishing precision requirements (“RR Commonplace”) and a timepiece inspection system for chronometers utilized by railroad workers. Ball was an Ohio-born watchmaker and jeweler, and his native enterprise finally grew into the Ball Watch Firm.
Ball reacted fairly rapidly to make railroads of the late nineteenth century safer. And within the early Sixties the corporate named for him once more moved quick in realizing the identical is critical to make sport diving secure, introducing its diver’s watch to the newly fashioned sport diving neighborhood in america. This neighborhood was already utilizing the then-recently invented Aqualung to dive to better depths with its elevated threat of decompression illness.
Solely a water- and pressure-tight watch with a separate timing machine may help deep divers in safely controlling their no-decompression dive time in the event that they needed to go deeper or keep longer – or each – to regulate the mandatory decompression time at totally different depths, a fairly difficult system that I’ll element utilizing well-known diving watches in upcoming tales.
All in all, that is my form of historical past – and one which I count on from an actual diving watch, regardless of the price, regardless of the looks. I’m the resident diver at Quill & Pad, competent sufficient to check any self-proclaimed diver’s watch to its limits. I each submit these watches to the identical pressures divers expertise and discover their historical past and accomplishments on the wrists of actual aquanauts.
And that’s what I did with my dive buddies throughout the first weekend in October, a lot later than I needed to and far later after Ball despatched us their newest diving watch. However as you may suspect, Corona is responsible for this.
Testing the Ball Watch Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer
Let`s first take a look on the watch earlier than baptizing it. Chrome steel case with a rubber strap – as anticipated – however two crowns, one to regulate the time and date and wind the watch and the opposite to maneuver the interior diving bezel.
All fairly regular for a extra modern diver’s watch that desires to appear like a daily watch (fairly than instrument watch) however options some further sporty features for adventures not solely on land however within the skies in addition to the watery depths. All in all, my form of watch.
As I’m not a giant man, the 42-millimeter watch appears to be like nice on my skinny (for a diver) arms and would, for my part, look even higher on a feminine diver’s arm. However I used to be additionally thrilled and a bit nervous to check dive it, realizing of the three major issues these sorts of watches may give me as soon as deep down.
Three potential issues in diving with the Ball Watch Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer
The very first drawback that I imagined may crop up simply by this diver’s watch with its small indices and bezel markings was eradicated the primary night time I wore the watch. I’ve not often seen such tiny indices shine so brightly. This compelled me to rise up within the night time, fireplace up my iMac, and google Ball Watch.
Wow, sure, I discovered the reply: this watch doesn’t use LumiNova and even Tremendous-LumiNova however fairly a system of 36 tiny micro gasoline tubes to light up the markings throughout the night time or within the depths of a murky lake. So no drawback with the smaller markings that characterize a extra modern watch however could be misplaced on an instrument watch.
Downside quantity two: regardless of which watch I check, they not often, if ever, have a strap that matches over my drysuit. One of the best accessible are these that include an extension. However rubber straps function pin buckles, which solely work if the band is self-tightening (taking place) and self-expanding (going up).
In the event that they don’t do that (and I do know of none that basically do it the way in which I like) one must tighten and loosen it through the buckle. With digital camera gear and scooter in hand as I dive that is completely impractical. And that’s precisely why dive computer systems have Velcro on their wristbands.
Velcro is ideal for diving, however fairly ugly on a modern wristwatch. And that is the rationale why I take advantage of leather-based NATO straps on mine and had one customized made to suit on the Ball Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer I examined. Not an inexpensive reproduction with a pin buckle however one with an actual double-D ring.
With its metal buckles it even matches the technical look of our dive gear, and with the double-D ring for tightening and loosening with one hand, it really works for nearly all technical divers who need to use devices on their arms.
And, sure, it took me a while to have a becoming leather-based wristband manufactured for my Ball Watch check. And I do know what you’re pondering concerning the leather-based, however relaxation assured I take advantage of hydrophobic leather-based that works advantageous for divers like me. And, sure, specialised wristbands for divers will likely be one other story right here on Quill & Pad quickly.
Two out of three issues solved forward of time; the third drawback must wait till the dive. And the dive needed to wait till air filling was doable once more, my drysuit was again from upkeep, and we may keep in a pleasant lodge with lake entry (Corona made that unattainable for some time).
For an applicable surrounding becoming the watch, we selected Schlosshotel Fernsteinsee with its two personal Alpine lakes – Fernsteinsee and Samaranger See – each in strolling distance from the lodge and each glorious for diving in chilly water, image taking, and offering fairly a modern setting to point out off a luxurious watch.
This setting was superb for testing a diver’s watch and documenting the dive. Not good for deep diving, but when a watch stays water-resistant in shallow water it’s going to undoubtedly be water-resistant within the depths that divers roam. And the lake is chilly because it has its personal spring. We measured 13°C in late September, which necessitates the total drysuit I might put on going very deep.
Fortunately, I used to be having fun with the lake with some buddies and will get Ortwin Khan, one in all our greatest underwater photographers, to take footage of the watch.
In the long run, we couldn’t eradicate the third drawback, which I acknowledged upfront: the bezel is just not operable with gloves, neither the neoprene gloves our feminine tester wore nor my drysuit gloves. If you’re critically utilizing the look ahead to diving – which is all of the enjoyable in utilizing a look ahead to diving – you would wish to maneuver the bezel for marking decompression instances (please see The Diving Bezel: The Most Versatile Watch ‘Complication,’ Even If You’re Not A Diver).
That’s almost unattainable at this time anyway with all inside bezels which are moved by tiny second crowns. Which, within the case of this Ball Watch Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer is a disgrace as the corporate has already eradicated the issue with its “newly engineered rotating exterior bezel re-tooled for simpler, sooner setting and simple sporting – particularly with exploration gear – the timepiece now encompasses a rotating exterior bezel for controlling the interior ring” (quote from firm supplies).
If you’re a technical diver utilizing watches to your dive and love the looks and – most of all – the historical past of Ball Watches I’d counsel going for the Ball Watch Engineer Grasp II Diver Worldtime (42 mm). If you’re not diving in chilly water or use dry gloves, all the pieces else works advantageous. In the event you love the looks of an interior bezel and people two crowns like I do, you’ll be able to simply use the watch in your dives.
The Ball Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer (why do advantageous watches must have such lengthy names?) is a rare diver’s watch to be used in sport diving and on daily basis.
Plus, Ball Watch is an organization with an actual historical past in engineering diver’s watches.
With its tiny markings, the watch is kind of modern and doesn’t appear like a diving instrument. However it’s sturdy and simply readable in all conditions, particularly in the dead of night.
Adjustments I might make could be so as to add a diveable leather-based strap (a subject I’ll write about in my subsequent story).
What I don’t want on this watch as a diver is the magnifying loupe over the date or to learn the time throughout the day.
I really like interior bezels and like the thought of out of doors performance as within the Ball Engineer Grasp II Diver Worldtime. And the worldtime operate (even whether it is “hidden” within the bezel) is a really good function for divers as we journey quite a bit in quest of one of the best dive websites worldwide.
Would I take advantage of the Ball Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer for on a regular basis diving? Completely sure.
For extra info on the Ball Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer, please go to www.ballwatch.com/international/1/collections/engineer-master-ii/diver-chronometer.
Fast Details Ball Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer
Case: 42 x 13.5 mm, chrome steel, bidirectionally rotating interior bezel, screw-in crown, water-resistant to 300 m
Motion: automated Caliber RR1101 (ETA base), shock-resistant to 1,000 Gauss (80,000 A/m), formally C.O.S.C. chronometer licensed
Capabilities: hours, minutes, seconds; date
* This text was first printed 13 January 2022 at Diving With The Ball Watch Engineer Grasp II Diver Chronometer
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