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REVIEW: The New Ball Fireman II>>>>>>>

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Published on 10-06-2009 06:37 AM

Number of Views: 12587

Review of the Ball Fireman II
By: John B. Holbrook, II

I've long held the view that while it is always impressive when a top-tier watch comes out with an ultra-complicated and miraculous engineering feat with a price tag to match, I'm even more impressed by value. I think there's something to be said when a watch company can manufacture a desirable, quality mechanical time piece which is affordable to the largest possible population. At a retail price of $999.00, the new Ball Fireman II line really hits a home run in bringing high quality at price point which is attainable for most watch enthusiasts. And as you can see in the photo below, it's very attractive watch to boot:

Watch Analog watch Clock Silver Rectangle

The Ball Fireman II is available in several different colors, but of course Ball being who Ball is, just happened to correctly guess that red is my favorite color, and that I'm a sucker for a watch with red accents. The combination of red elements on the dial, and matching accents on the strap made this watch extremely hard to send back to Ball Watch USA after completing my review. I was actually quite surprised at how much I liked the watch because the stainless steel case (100m water resistant) has a diameter of 43mm without the crown - a size which is normally larger than what I find looks proper on my wrist.

Watch Analog watch Clock Font Rectangle

Thanks to the diameter of the case and the dial design (reminiscent of a Rolex Explorer) at glance legibility is quite strong with the Fireman II. It has your basic three-hand layout, with wide, easy to read sword hour and minute hands. The second hand is red tipped, and enhances the overall red motif on this watch. The back end of the second hand however is black - including the "RR" logo on the second hand, which unfortunately gets a bit lost against the black background of the dial. The dial is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, which is anti-reflective coated on the underside of the crystal (a smart decision I wish more watch companies would also adopt). The Fireman II also has a day of the month date display located in the traditional three o'clock position.

A total of 14 tritium gas tubes are used on the dial, including one amber/yellow colored tube at the 12 o'clock position. Unlike most other Ball watches I've seen, the Fireman II doesn't include a tritium gas tube on the second hand, which I found to be a curious design choice. Though one can certainly debate the utility of timing events with the second hand in low light.

Colorfulness Font Gas Circle Symmetry

Turning to the back of the Fireman II, we see that Ball includes quite an ornate and uniquely attractive case back engraving of a locomotive. The case back engraving is a really nice touch, which really gives the Fireman II a classy feel of a more expensive watch. I think Ball does a really nice job with their case back engravings which successfully tie their watches with various themes synonymous with the Ball name.

Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Clock Material property

Inside the case of the Ball Fireman II, we find that Ball chose the venerable ETA 2824-2 to be the power plant for this watch. I see an increasing number of watch manufacturers using lower-end Asian movements or ETA clones in watch models designed to appeal to the "entry level" buyer. Whether you see that as a good thing or not is a matter of personal preference, but from my perspective, the ETA 2824 is a preferred choice which underscores Ball's commitment to quality. The ETA 2824 is a 25 jewel self-winding mechanical movement with a balance wheel which oscillates at a speed of 28,800 beats per hour and has a power reserve of about 40 hours.

Between the 21mm case lugs of the Ball Fireman II is a black calf leather strap, decorated with perforations, as well as red stitching and borders. As much as I normally prefer a bracelet over a leather strap, the strap on the Fireman II really is the icing on the cake. It just completes the watch and really sets it apart. The perforations and red accents really give the watch a fun, sporty look you just don't often find. The Fireman II strap is fastened via a case-matching stainless steel buckle engraved with the Ball logo. It's a basic tang and buckle style vs. more elaborate bi-fold or tri-fold deployant style buckles you see on some of Ball's other watches. I don't fault Ball for using this buckle - I rather expect it at this price point. However, if it were my watch, I'd be sorely tempted to spring for a deployant style buckle for this watch that would extend the life of the strap.

Rectangle Bumper Composite material Magenta Automotive exterior

The Ball Fireman II won't impress your watch enthusiast friends with fancy complications or an ornately decorated movement. But it's such a fun watch, you just might find it stealing wrist time away from the rest of the watches in your collection. It's a basic three-hand watch with date complication, but has distinctive Ball features like tritium gas tubes, and a shock resistance rating of 5,000 G's. I think it's also a watch that will cost you money - you'll either buy more clothing options which go with the red accents, or you might just buy the Fireman II in several of the other color choices available (yellow, green, brown, and white) to match your existing wardrobe. And with its retail price of $999.00, you can buy multiple Fireman II's and still have money left over when compared to similar offerings from other manufacturers. I will also add that the Fireman II really is a watch that you need to see and try on to appreciate - I don't think I'd have near the appreciation I have for the piece had I only seen photographs. So I strongly encourage you visit your local Ball Authorized Dealer and check out this watch to see how neat the watch really is.

Support WATCH TALK FORUMS by purchasing the Ball Fireman II 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 Fireman II>>>>>>>
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