Ball was built around early railroad timepieces, yet in the 1960s they produced a professional dive watch dubbed the Skindiver. The Skindiver is back, now in a limited edition 42-millimeter timepiece that boasts some impressive technology, including Ball’s nano-tube lume radiating brightly through the domed timing bezel and the option of a COSC-certified, in-house movement with an 80-hour power reserve.
Until the middle of Janurary, Ball is offering the Skindiver Heritage LE in various colorways and configurations at pre-order prices ranging from $1,199 up to $1,949. There are three tiers to this offer based on the movements: the first tier features Ball’s BR1102 automatic caliber with a day-date complication (built on an ETA 2836-2 base); the middle tier uses the same caliber with COSC-certification; and the top tier gets Ball’s 7309 manufacture with that impressive 80-hour power reserve and drops the day for a date-only complication.
Appropriately, the spec-text on the dial thickens as you go up the tiers, with “Chronometer” spelled out in a yellow script that matches the yellow tip of the seconds hand. That small yellow tie-in might sell the COSC-certification more than the accuracy itself, and the top tier’s text reading “80 HOURS” adds even more oomph.
Within each of the three movement tiers are various color choices ranging from a traditional stainless steel case with black dial to the modern-looking black DLC case with radiant blue dial. You can also chose between a steel bracelet or a thick, contoured black rubber strap. The Ball website does a good job of making all the possible configurations clear.
Nano-tubes glow brightly and consistently, and they never need a charge. On the Skindiver, there are 31 of those tubes: twelve on the dial, three on the hands, and the rest inside the domed timing bezel. Were it the 1960s, that glowing bezel would be a serious offering for SCUBA divers, but, with dive computers having long replaced watches, the Skindiver’s lume is more aesthetic accomplishment—though certainly an ultra-cool one.