I have long been a fan of the watches Ball produces, primarily due to the use of tritium tubes. They stir up memories of the rolling light show that the dashboard of my dad’s car was in the mid-80s, and that along with the glow you get, well, scratches a particular itch. While I’ve long felt that the Fireman line was my favorite, I think I’ve come across a new favorite – the Ball Engineer III Legend II.

If you recall, we’ve talked about the Engineer lineup before (right here), covering various pieces. In fact, if you look through those, you’ll notice a wide variety of styling. While those are cool, I tend towards a more traditional look in watches I own, and that’s what the Ball Engineer III Legend II is. You’ve got a clean three-hander look, with a decent (but not overbearing) bit of text down at 6 o’clock. Oh, and of course that date display.

While a cyclops is divisive for some, I rather enjoy them. A peeve of mine is when a date window is too small to easily see (or require me to grab the reading glasses). No problems here – you’ve got a goodly sized date window, and then the cyclops right over the top of it. In other words, pure functionality and long-time usability. Which is good, since – with proper maintenance – this watch should last years and years and years. How many cycles of the tritium half life? Well, that’s up to you and your watch maker.

Speaking of tritium – the Ball Engineer III Legend II looks like they’re using the wider tubes that the brand is showing more. That said, when you get to the dark shots, it seems more like the standard narrow tubes (particularly if you compare it to, say, the Nightrain which has both styles). This is further reinforced by the hands, which have a similar width of tube, and we’ve not seen those wide tubes hit the handsets outside. Still, some clever work there in the daytime view to make them appear as the wider style.

Tube details aside, with the tritium, you do have a decision to make, however. You can opt for a more standard color scheme with green on the hands and indices, with yellow at the compass points. Or you could opt for my favorite, which is the wild multi-color scheme (similar to what we saw in a recent Marvelight release). This is just a good bit of fun, particularly as you have a more conservative piece in the bright light, and then the rave on your wrist shows up out of nowhere.

I like that whimsical bit of fun, particularly as – by day – the Ball Engineer III Legend II has that refined look, all tucked into a 40mm case that’s a tasty 11.5mm thick. Even with that compact size, you’ve still got a COSC-rated automatic movement (the BALL RR1101-C, which is based on ETA 2892-A2). That movement is well-protected, as all Ball watches are, with shock resistance, anti-magnetism, and a 100m WR rating. In other words, a watch that will handle whatever your day will throw at it.

Out of the box, the Ball Engineer III Legend II comes on the steel bracelet, which is a design I’ve liked on other watches I’ve had in on loan from the brand. I think it’ll work great for that daily/office wear, and dressier occasions. If you’re thinking you want something a bit more casual, the 20mm lugs will handle a wide variety of straps (including options direct from Ball).

While the full retail of the Ball Engineer III Legend II is anticipated to be $2,399, there is a pre-order special going on. Until April 7, 2021, you can order yours (in blue or black dial, and one of the two tritium tube configurations) for $2,049. As for me, I need to go scrounge through the couch cushions and car seats to see if I’ve got enough. And if I do, well, you know that blue dial / rainbow tritium will be mine! Well, so long as the 1,000 LE run doesn’t clear out. ballwatch.ch

Details / Specs from Ball

  • Pre-order price: USD 2,049 (until April 7, 2021; limited to 1000 pieces)
  • Full price: USD 2,399
  • Automatic caliber BALL RR1101-C (based on ETA 2892-A2)
  • Chronometer certified COSC
  • 19 micro gas tubes for night reading capability
  • Hours, minutes, sweep second and magnified date
  • Ø 40mm
  • 11.5mm height
  • 5,000Gs shock resistance
  • Stainless steel case
  • Anti-magnetic to 80,000A/m
  • Water resistant to 100m / 330ft
  • Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Screwed-in crown
  • Blue or black or dial, stainless steel bracelet
  • Limited edition to 1000pcs
  • Additional NATO, rubber and calf straps available

ByPatrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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