Yo Ho Ho and a Wristwatch

Posted on 08 May 2014 by Matt Himmelstein

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Do you celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day?  Should you?  Do you need a watch for it?  Well, Ballast has you covered, along with anyone else who has a bit of the Pirate in them, with the Jolly Roger Watch.  Adorned with the skull and crossbones of the Jolly Roger made famous by movie pirates everywhere, the watch adds a little edge, or playfulness, to your daily wear.

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The watch itself is a quartz 3-hander with a Swiss Ronda 513 movement.  The crystal is a sapphire coated mineral glass, and the whole package is water resistant to 100 meters, so don’t be afraid of walking the plank with it.  The face of the watch is adorned with the namesake Jolly Roger, done it what looks like stamped and antiqued metal.  The hour and minute hand have lume, as do the indices (except 9:00, where the brand name is located).  The crown is protected by a canteen cap with a retention hinge.  This is the first watch I have had with this type of cap, and I would prefer a larger screw down crown instead.  The cap does not seem to add any functionality, but it does add bulk (but judging by the number of watches with this feature, it is popular), and when you open it, you get a wee little crown underneath.

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The watch itself is only 46.5mm, but if seems like it is much larger.  Wearing it, I was thinking that it was huge, but measuring it against some other watches in my collection, it is no bigger than several of them.  Part of this perception may be the relative size and simplicity of the watch face.  There is a bezel, but it is not overly large, and there are no sub dials or internal bezels to eat up the space surrounding the face itself.

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I think one of the more better angles of the watch is when viewed from the side.  The elements stack in a way provide an interesting and attractive combination of colors and materials.  You have the solid black of the case, then the brushed stainless angle on the bezel, and then finally the beveled edge of the crystal.  This last bit gives me some pause, since I would be concerned about it taking a beating as it does stand above the bevel.

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In line with it seeming a lot bigger than it is, the watch could use a little more shape in the lugs to help it conform the contours of the wrist a little better.  Again, since in actuality is is not a huge watch (to me it comes off like a 50mm), it might not be that big a deal, but it seems like it sits up a little proud off the wrist.  The strap is also a nice thick leather, and there is no taper to it, both of which is appropriate for the watch.  The watch is part of a numbered limited edition of 500, and there are a number of nice touches that are added.  The strap has a few spots of branding, including an embossed Jolly Roger, and it connects with a quick release pin, something I was not expecting.

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For me, I probably would not wear it more than a few times.  At the list price of $450 (Amazon), the styling and quartz movement would keep it out of my collection.  On the other hand, a friend who is about my same age commented on an Instagram photo I posted that he really liked the watch.  So just because it is not in my wheelhouse, don’t assume it will not be in yours as well.  It is nicely built and the styling is going to be a hit with some folks.  ballast1903.com

Review Summary
  • Brand & Model: Ballast Jolly Roger
  • Price: $450
  • Who’s it for?: Someone who loves pirates.
  • Would I wear it?:  I don’t think I an the target demographic.
  • What I’d change: The canteen crown protector.
  • The best thing about it:  The crystal on grey on black stacking in profile.


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