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REVIEW: The Ball Enginer Master II Aviator Dual Time

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Published on 10-17-2009 10:13 AM

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Review of the Ball Engineer Master II Aviator Dual Time
By: John B. Holbrook, II

One of the newest watches in the Ball catalog is the Engineer Master II Aviator Dual Time and it's creating quite a stir in the online watch enthusiast community, and of course, Ball Fandom. With a stainless steel case (water resistant to 100m) measuring in at 44mm, the Aviator Dual Time is one of the largest Ball watch models to date. True and traditional Aviator style watches were purposely designed to be large so that the pilot can easily see them in the cockpit of a propeller driven plane...they tend to bounce around quite a bit. Of course, the Aviator Dual Time also has a large dial to accommodate the second time zone, and the two-digit "big date" complication. Here's a photo of the Aviator Dual Time:

Watch Analog watch Product Silver Clock

I think a key attribute with which any Ball watch is designed around is visability. The Aviator Dual time has excellent "at a glance" legibility with large white sword hands and white markers contrasting against the black background of the dial. Add to that the nice splash of color with the red minute hand on the 2nd time zone indicator, and you have an exceptionally functional and legible watch dial. The dial is protected by a scratch resistant sapphire crystal, with an anti-reflective coating applied to the underside of the crystal. Kudos to Ball for only applying the AR coating to the underside of the crystal.

Watch Analog watch Clock Watch accessory Material property

Of course, with 75 micro gas tubes (100mci tritium) on the hands and dial of the Dual Time Aviator, nighttime readability is also extremely good. Three different colored gas tubes are used - this watch looks really neat when the lights go out:

Watch Measuring instrument Font Gas Auto part

Turning to the back of the watch, we find a lovely engraving of the Wright Brothers and the Wright "B" Flyer - a perfect theme for an Aviator watch with ties to Ohio. The more Ball watches I'm exposed to, the more I'm impressed with their finely detailed case back engravings. They add an entire new dimension of interest to a watch with a detail many watch manufacturers all but ignore.

Watch Analog watch Silver Clock Watch accessory

I was able to obtain only limited information from Ball Watch regarding the Ball caliber 651. According to Ball, the caliber 651 is based upon the ETA 2892, and has added modules for the two-digit big date display, and the second timezone. The ETA 2892 certainly is an excellent platform for modular modification, and many other high-end watch companies use the same approach. Setting the time on the Aviator Dual Time can be a little tricky - the key is to extend the crown all the way and advance past the current time with the main hour/minute hands and set the 2nd timezone to the desired time. Once done, you move the main hour/minute hands backwards to the correct current time. It's not the most elegant approach, but it certainly accomplishes the task, and is understandable given the modular design used in the Ball caliber 651.


WATCH TALK FORUMS Admin Team Member Scott D has the Aviator Dual Time and removed the case back and sent me some photos of the Ball caliber 651 he took which I then cleaned up in Photoshop:

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Automotive tire Rim Circle Symmetry Art

While the modifications to the movement are not visible from the rotor side of the movement, the Ball 651 is clearly based on an ETA 2892/A2 as reported by Ball (evidenced by the unmistakable 2892 rotor). It's also HIGHLY decorated - most ETA movements can be ordered my manufacturers in a variety of configurations or "grades." I'm certainly impressed that Ball would order one of the upper echelon grades of 2892/A2 in the Ball 651. Many thanks to Scott for providing the photos!

Between the 21mm lugs of the Aviator Dual Time is a high quality brown calf skin leather strap with white stitching, which is fastened with a simple tang and buckle style clasp. In my experience, Ball doesn't skimp on the quality of their leather straps - the nicely padded strap on the Aviator Dual Time is both attractive and robust.

Rectangle Watch Jewellery Watch accessory Strap

The retail price of the Ball Engineer Master II Aviator Dual Time is $2399.00 - toward the high end of cost within the Ball product catalog, but quite a value when you consider what the watch delivers, as compared to similar offerings. First and foremost, you get Ball quality and attention to detail - everything is first rate on this watch, right down to the case back engraving. Secondly, you get a horologically unique AND genuinely practical movement in the Ball caliber 651. I've always loved watches with a "big date" display, and a watch with a 2nd timezone is always happy - particularly while traveling. Throw in the appeal of the contemporary, over sized watch design, and the gee-wiz "cool" appeal of the multi-colored luminous dial, and have a watch that's hard to pass up.

Support WATCH TALK FORUMS by purchasing the Ball Aviator Dual Time from one of the authorized dealers who advertise in the Ball Forum of WATCH TALK FORUMS!
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**Photos & Text Copyright 2009 WATCH TALK FORUMS. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.

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REVIEW: The Ball Enginer Master II Aviator Dual Time
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