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REVIEW: The New Ball Engineer Master II Officer>>>>>>>

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Published on 09-15-2009 06:33 AM

Number of Views: 5182

Review of the Ball Engineer Master II Officer
By: John B. Holbrook, II

One of the reasons why I like Ball as a company is because they have strong historic ties to Ohio - I live in Dayton, Ohio. You see, Webster Clay Ball was a Cleveland Ohio watchmaker who was assigned the critical task of establishing precise and uniform time standards as well as a reliable inspection process for all railroad chronometers. In many respects, the Ball Engineer Master II Officer pays homage to Ball's roots in both Ohio and the railroads.

My first impression of the Ball Engineer Master II Officer (I'll refer to it as the Master II Officer from here on out for brevities sake) is that it's reminiscent of a pocket watch - the kind you'd see in an old movie that shows the train conductor pulling out of his pocket and checking the time. The watch is quite sizeable at 46mm in diameter (50m water resistant), with a large funel-shaped crown - again, without the strap, you might mistake this wristwatch for a pocket watch at first glance. The 316L stainless steel case has a pleasing blend of both polished and bushed finishes applied. Beneath the AR coated sapphire crystal of this particular variation of the Master II Officer is a white dial with large, brown Arabic numerals encircling the dial, with a second hand subdial at six o'clock as the only complication on this extremely clean, unfettered dial. The sheer size of the piece, combined with the clean, high-contrast dial make for a watch that's hard to bead in the legibility department.

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Of course, being a Ball, the Master II Officer has low-light legibility which nearly matches the daylight watch viewing experience. The Master II Officer has tritium gas tubes above each of the Arabic numerals, as well as on the hour and minute hands. If that weren't enough, the Master II Officer hour markers feature some of the latest innovations in luminous paint technology. While at first glance the markers don't appear have any luminous coating, the in fact do - blended with the colored paint on markers themselves, as clearly seen in the following photo:

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That jagged look to the markers you're seeing above is actually the crystalline structure of the SuperLuminova used in the paint which covers the Arabic numeral hour markers. The gas tubes combined with SuperLuminova coated markers makes for a really neat dial to look at in the dark.

If you turn the watch over, you'll see the case back has a marvelously detailed engraving of what appears to be the famous Wright "B" Flyer which Orville and Wilbur Wright invented in good old Dayton, Ohio. It's a nice tip of the hat which reminds and affirms Ball's early roots in Ohio.

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Ornately engraved case backs are always a nice touch. But I personally also enjoy an observation back which provides a view of a well-decorated movement. With the Master II Officer, you actually get the best of both worlds! Just depress the button located at the 4 o'clock marker, and the hinged case back opens to reveal an inner case sapphire display back! The interior of the engraved case back is also very finely decorated with a pleasing pattern of perlage - the sort of detail that fans have come to expect and love about Ball:

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Here's a close up of the well decorated Unitas 6497 used inside the Master II Officer - note the well-executed Geneva stripes on the bridgework, and the use of blued screws throughout. The Unitas 6497 (also known as the ETA 6497 as ETA now owns and manufactures the caliber) is a classic hand wound pocket watch movement (that's found new life with the oversized wrist watch trend) known for being both robust and accurate. The Unitas 6497 is a 17 jewel, manually wound mechanical movement with a balance wheel beat speed of 18,000 BPH and a power reserve of approximately 46 hours.

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Between the 22mm lugs of the Master II Officer is brown calf-skin leather strap that I found as comfortable as it is easy on the eyes - it coordinates nicely with the brown color of the dial hour markers.

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A traditional tang & buckle clasp is employed on the Master II Officer, made of case matching stainless steel, and signed with the Ball company name:

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Amazingly, ball has succeeded in making a watch that both honors tradition and heritage, yet is extremely contemporary in style - very "modern retro." It also employs features which any true watch enthusiast will truly appreciate, most notably the hinged case back and super-cool illumination technology on the dial. The retail price of the Ball Engineer Master II Officer is $2,399.00. Both literally and figuratively, Ball provides a lot of watch for the money with the Engineer Master II Officer.

Support WATCH TALK FORUMS by purchasing the Ball Engineer Master II Officer 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 New Ball Engineer Master II Officer>>>>>>>
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