Introducing the Engineer III Endurance 1917 from Ball, Available Now at a Special Pre-Order Price

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BALL’s been on a bit of a roll recently, cranking out release after release and offering each watch at a special reduced price for whoever puts down for the pre-order. It’s a seemingly successful strategy for the brand, and one that I—and surely other value-conscious buyers—welcome. For its latest release, BALL is honoring Sir Ernest Shackleton and the 100th anniversary of his near-tragic Trans-Antarctic expedition with the Engineer III Endurance 1917—a COSC-certified, overbuilt sports watch with some tricks up its sleeve.

For this release, there are actually two distinct models: Classic and TMT. First, let’s take a look at the Classic.

Available in two sizes—40mm x 13.45mm and 46mm x 13.55—the Classic sports a robust stainless steel case featuring a fine mix of brushed and polished surfaces. Other specs include a screw-down crown, water resistance to 100 meters, a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, and anti-magnetism to 80,000A/m. Furthermore, the case features BALL’s patented Amortiser anti-shock system, which is essentially a lock for the rotor that prevents it from damaging the movement in the event of a sudden shock.

The Classic, in 40mm and 46mm.

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There are three dial colors available: black, blue or gray. In terms of the overall aesthetic, the Classic, as its name suggests, sports a rather traditional design, with rectangular markers, faceted stick hands with blunted ends, and a day-date at three. The devil, of course, is in the details here, and as one might expect the dial is given a bit of a kick by BALL’s use of tritium gas tubes. Depending on the case size, there are either 17 (40mm) micro gas tubes on the hands and dial, or 15 (46mm).

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For those who have never handled a watch with tritium tubes, it’s worth noting how cool they are. First, they add some dimensionality to the dial, with the tubes here measuring 1mm high. Second, and most important, is that they ensure a steady glow under dark conditions. Tritium tubes won’t illuminate the way Seiko’s LumiBrite compound will after a brief charge—in fact, they don’t need to be charged—but they’ll emit an even glow throughout the night.The next model is the TMT edition. Eagle-eyed readers have surely noticed something curious on the dial. Yes, that is a mechanical thermometer at the sub-dial at six. Now, I concede that a temperature readout isn’t the first (or second, or third) thing that comes to mind when one thinks of a useful complication on a mechanical watch—nevertheless, it’s something that Ball has pioneered and used in past releases. The thermometer is actually a proprietary module built into the base movement, and it uses a bimetallic coil to achieve near-exact accuracy. That said, I imagine that accuracy would be affected significantly on the wrist versus off the wrist, as one’s body temperature is likely to impact the reading. BALL recommends taking the watch off and resting it for 10 minutes before taking a reading.

As far as utility goes, this complication might be better suited to dives, where the watch, resting over a wetsuit, would be less impacted by body temperature.

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The TMT comes in a 42mm x 13mm case available in two finishes: stainless steel and stainless steel with a Titanium Carbide coating at extra cost. Like the Classic, the case of the TMT features a screw-down crown, water resistance to 100 meters and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. The anti-magnetic rating is reduced to 4,800A/m here. 16 micro gas tubes light up the dial of the TMT.

Like the Classic, the TMT is also available in black, blue, or gray. The two share largely the same basic design language, though the TMT is undoubtedly more complex. Sub-dial aside, there’s also a date window positioned right off one o’clock and floating right by the BALL logo. This is something I have seen in the past from BALL watches bearing this movement. To be completely frank, it doesn’t speak to me and reads very much like an afterthought. I often like the quirky liberties BALL’s design team takes with their dials, but this has always stood out to me as a miss.

Unsurprising then that, of the two models, I’m far more partial to the Classic. It has an attractive, clean look that should make for a solid daily beater, and it lacks the superfluity of the TMT model. The thermometer module is cool on paper, but in reality it adds clutter without offering any meaningful day-to-day functionality. And once again, the date is a bit of an eyesore.

The thermometer readout is available in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Both of these variants are powered by COSC Chronometer-certified calibers. The ref. RR1102 inside the Classic is a base ETA 2836, and the RR1606 inside the TMT is an ETA 2892 with the aforementioned thermometer module. In keeping with the theme of the Shackleton expedition, BALL lubricates their movements with a special oil designed to endure temperatures of –40°C to 60°C (-40°F to 140°F).There are several strap and bracelet options available upon pre-order. All stainless steel models come with either a rubber strap or a matching stainless steel bracelet for a slight surcharge. The stainless steel with a Titanium Carbide coating is only available on rubber. There’s also a branded nato strap offered at extra cost.The Engineer III Endurance 1917 is currently available for pre-order direct from BALL. The Classic is $1,239 on rubber and $1,299 on bracelet; the TMT is $1,739 on rubber and $1,799 on bracelet and for the edition with the Titanium Carbide case. As they’ve done with past releases, BALL is offering custom case back engraving at no extra cost.


The pre-order ends August 23, 2017. To get yours, visit BALL today.

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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