Introducing the BALL Engineer M Challenger Featuring the Brand’s First In-House Caliber (Available for Pre-Order)

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BALL have unveiled and made available for pre-order the Engineer M Challenger—the first watch from the brand with an in-house movement. Some of you may remember that back in 2016 BALL released the Trainmaster Manufacture, a watch that introduced the Caliber RRM1101. Although that movement was designed and assembled by BALL, the manufacture of many of the parts was outsourced to specialist firms. Fast forward to 2018 (well, late 2017 when the announcement was first made) and the Caliber 7309, which BALL says it produced “completely in-house.”

Introducing the Engineer M Challenger.

The 7309 boasts an 80-hour power reserve and beats at a rate of 28,800 bph. These two attributes are great to see together considering recent ETA movements with a similarly lengthy power reserve often have a reduced beat rate of 21,600 bph (and therefore have more of a more choppy sweep of the second hand). If that’s not enough, BALL’s new in-house movement is also COSC-certified. Furthermore, it has a date display and BALL’s patented Amortiser anti-shock system. You’ve got to give BALL credit—if you’re going to develop an in-house movement, then it’s worth making it an improvement on what else is currently available.

The movement isn’t bad looking either. Visible through the display back is a large expanse of perlage and a decorated rotor. It remains to be seen how prevalent this caliber will become across BALL’s range, but the first watch to be blessed with it is the limited edition Engineer M Challenger. Future modifications with additional complications would be welcome.

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Keeping the familiar aesthetics of the Engineer line, the Engineer M Challenger features 31 tritium gas tubes making up the blocky Arabic numerals at three, six, nine, and 12 o’clock, as well as the remaining hour indices and all three hands. The minute and hour hands are tapered baton shapes similar to the hour indices, and the counterweight on the back end of the second hand features BALL’s RR symbol.

Altogether, six different variants are to be produced with numbers limited to 1,000 across the whole run. Black, blue and grey dials are available either in a 40m or 43mm case. The classic black dial and more vibrant blue both play well with yellow accents sitting outside of the 12 and six numerals and on the long tip of the second hand, but it is the grey dial that steals the show. The subtle shade integrates nicely with the polished stainless steel bezel and case, while still letting the yellow pop a little.

43mm
40mm

The text on the lower half of the dial helps the balance from top to bottom, though the choice of font for “Chronometer” feels slightly odd, as does the “80POWERHRS” text beneath. The other slight detraction comes in the form of the date window, and in particular the white date wheel sitting beneath a dark-colored dial. It sits just inside the three o’clock numeral on the 43mm version, and it’s pushed down to an angled 4:30 location on the smaller 40mm watch owing to BALL’s reluctance to sacrifice the three o’clock index.Given the relatively large dial area, the smaller 40mm version could prove to be the more popular choice for this style of watch, but the two available sizes should cater to the majority of wrists. Both have a case thickness of 13.4mm so it’s not really slim, and the proportions could be better balanced against the larger diameter. In profile, the polished mid-case looks to have a very nice organic flow with the lugs sitting quite far below the case-back. A reasonable proportion of the height is delivered by the polished bezel above. The screw-down crown also has a polished finish and again features the RR symbol. The flat sapphire crystal has an internal anti-reflective coating.

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The full retail price will be $2,899 with a calf leather strap, or $100 more for the stainless steel bracelet. The pre-order price, applicable until January 31, is a mouth watering $1,699 on leather or $1,799 on steel. That’s an incredible deal on an in-house, chronometer-grade timepiece. BALL

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Brad stumbled into the watch world in 2011 and has been falling down the rabbit hole ever since. Based in London, Brad's interests lie in anything that ticks, sweeps or hums and is slightly off the beaten track.
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