Review of the Ball Engineer II Genesis

I pre-ordered this watch from the Ball Website in Dec 2015. However, the shipment only arrived in May 2016. This would be the 9th mechanical watch that I owned, after the Tudor Pelagos 25600TB. I first saw this piece on the Ball Watch Facebook page as a sponsored post and was intrigued by the technologies like the anti-magnetic shielding properties (up to 4800A/m) and the new 1mm thick tritium tubes that the Engineer II Genesis uses. These are technologies that are not contained in most of Ball’s other watches. This watch was unique as it was first released for online sales via the Ball Website, before being subsequently released to the public at a much higher price. At that time, I was not aware that Ball would subsequently release many limited editions via online sales. Anyway, the Ball Engineer II Genesis was released to commemorate Ball’s 125th year anniversary and was a limited production model.

Ball 1

The Engineer II Genesis watch (43mm case and is 13+mm thick) has a day-date feature and a brilliant blue sun-burst dial. The sun-burst dial was something that I found very attractive as it gives the watch a dressy look. The day-date feature was also useful and my Ball SG50 nighttrain and Ball Magneto S did not contain them. This watch uses Ball RR1102 movement, which is an ETA 2836. This limited production model was released to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Ball Watch Company, which was founded by Webb C. Ball in 1891. However, this is not particularly significant to me. Something to note: Ball Watch Company has been releasing quite a number of LEs in recent times.

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Ball Watch Company was founded by an American, Webb C. Ball, in 1891. An accident in 1891 prompted him to act. Refer to link for a brief history of the brand and the founder. Basically, he established stringent watch standards for train operators and inspectors in order to keep good time and prevent railroad accidents from occurring. He was instrumental in the development of chronometry and improving of watch accuracy. He emphasized on keeping precise time and created railroad grade timepieces. This was how the term ‘Official Standard’ came about. Ball watches are known for their visual simplicity, elegance and precision.

Ball 2

The Ball Engineer II Genesis is of a unique design, although I must say it resembles the Engineer II Pioneer and Engineer II Arabic. The Engineer II range is known for their classic designs and natural elegance. I simply love the sword-like hands and the RR (RailRoad) design on the second hand. In addition, the hour, minute and second hands are lumed for great night visibility. Ball is celebrating their 125th anniversary in 2015, and this is testament to the longevity and heritage of the brand. Ball is known for producing reliable watches with good quality. Ball can certainly hold its own against Tag Heuer/Oris in terms of quality and finish. In terms of price point, Ball watches are generally in the affordable range of SGD1.5k to 6k. Ball is also renowned for their use of tritium T25 tubes which can glow up to 25 years and requires no charging. This sets the brand apart from many other luxury brands which use Superluminova. Ball watches are Swiss made, value-for-money and are extremely durable.

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The main reason why I found it so attractive was the technical features and also the dressy feel that came with the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The Ball Engineer II Genesis comes in a stainless steel case and a metal bracelet. The watch is relatively heavy due to the 43mm size and the thick bracelet. The bracelet is well built and has polished centre-links, similar to the Rolex GMT Master II. It also reminds me of the Patek Phillippe Nautilus bracelet. The case is highly polished at the sides and at the bezel area. This watch really plays with the light due to the numerous polished surfaces. This contrast gives the watch a dressy and elegant feel.

Ball 3
The watch draws attraction from others, which I like. It has a flat sapphire crystal which is AR coated. Due to the materials used, the watch will not develop patina over time. There are the words ‘AUTOMATIC’ and 100m/ 300ft printed on the bottom half of the dial. This watch is not chronometer certified.

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The Ball Magneto S is an everyday dressy watch with 100 meters water resistance and shock resistance to 5000g. This is a watch where you can wear daily without having to worry about it. However, one should be careful not to overly bang the watch around as polished centre-links are scratch magnets. The watch also pairs well with casual clothing on weekends.  After nearly 1 year of use, my watch is almost scratch-free and still in mint condition.

Ball 4

Ball Magneto S uses the Ball automatic calibre RR1102, which is essentially a clone of the ETA -2836. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used with many other watch brands whom they get ETA as their supplier. Of course, Ball modifies the movement via adding decorations and also to make it more shock resistant. The movement comes with a 38 to 42 hour power reserve and I have no qualms about the movement at this price point. For an in-house movement, one can be expected to pay at least double. Some of the more expensive Ball models are COSC chronometer certified (-4 to +6 seconds/day). I have tested my watch on a Timegrapher and it currently runs at a decent -7 seconds/day, which is well within my expectations.

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The sun-burst blue dial on the watch has different textures under sunlight/artificial lighting. This is certainly very attractive to look at. There are tinges of blue, white and green on the dial and this gives the watch a playful feel at times. Overall, there are only 2 lines of text on the dial and it does not appear cluttered. The issue I have with this watch is the large case and that the 3-6-9 hour markers are too large, giving the dial an unbalanced feel. My other qualm is that the date window is white and does not blend well with the blue dial.

Ball 5

The Ball Engineer II Genesis has a closed caseback. There is an engraving of a railroad train from the 1800s and also the engraving ‘125th anniversary’. The watch is shock-resistant to 5000g and anti-magnetic to 4800A/m. These are some of the features that allows Ball to stand out from the other brands.

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I have saved the best for last, just like hitting the ‘climax’ of a movie. The Ball Engineer II has incredible lume due to 28 1mm thick micro-sized tritium tubes. Although you cannot charge the lume, tritium tubes can glow up for to 25 years. I have compared the lume to my other 2 Ball Watches and this is by far the most impressive. At times, it even appears as bright as charged Super-luminova. Tritium emits electrons through beta decay, and, when they interact with a phosphor material, fluorescent light is created, a process called radio-luminescence. The radiation exposure is so weak that it doesn’t affect human health.

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To be honest, I have not worn this watch as frequently as I have liked as I am not used to the weight of the watch and the 3-6-9 markers are too large. With slightly smaller markers, this watch would have been a keeper. The problem with purchasing online is that it is not possible to tell how heavy the watch is and how exactly it will sit on your wrist. In March 2017, I traded this piece for the Ball Trainmaster 60 seconds, which I will be reviewing shortly. The Ball Engineer II Genesis is a dressy watch which will also pair well with casual clothing. The three most outstanding features are its (1) Ball Bracelet; (2) 1mm thick tritium tubes and (3) sun-burst dial. The watch was purchased online for SGD 1,310. If purchased from retail stores, the RRP would be SGD 2,200. If you want a dressy quality Swiss made piece, this might be the watch you want.

Ball 7

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