In many ways, it can be quite easy to predict what I may like. Does it have Batman or Bob Ross in it? Insert “Shut up and take my money” meme right here. More precisely, when it comes to watches, a GMT movement will immediately grab my eyes. Throw in some tritium tubes, and well, that’s buttercream icing on the cake. Which is why Victor knew he needed to send the info on the Ball Watch Roadmaster Marine GMT my way once he ran across it.
Of course, Victor would have his own reasons for liking the Ball Watch Roadmaster Marine GMT, given that the (relatively) compact 40mm case is made of titanium, his favorite material in a watch. For me, I rather like how it gives you a great mix of lightness and toughness. In an interesting twist, the tapered bracelet on the watch is actually a mix of titanium and steel. That said, it’s still the classic look of a Ball bracelet, and I’ve had good experience with those in the past (though, it has been quite some time since we’ve gotten one in for review, perhaps it’s overdue).
When I first saw the photos of the Ball Watch Roadmaster Marine GMT, I said to Victor that it had two crowns too many, but it turns out I was wrong. What I took as crowns on the left side of the case are actually pushers for setting (advancing/retreating) the hour hand. This is, suffice to say, an uncommon approach to setting the hour hand, but it certainly would be a quick way to do it if you’re jetting around. For me, I’d be curious as to how easy it is to engage those pushers. I’m hoping it’s got a tough spring, because that would not be fun to have it accidentally getting pushed and moving the hand around on you. This also then extends to the spring under the bi-directional bezel, as that is where you can set (and track) the third of three time zones (the first being the main hands, and the second being the 24-hour scale printed on the chapter ring).
Speaking of the bezel of the Ball Watch Roadmaster Marine GMT, it’s got the classic (and apparently quite popular as of late) Pepsi color combo. Perhaps a little less surprising, particularly in a watch at this price point, is that the bezel insert is “simply” aluminum, and not, say, a matte ceramic or even something topped with sapphire. Time will tell how the aluminum with it’s luminous paint holds up. Then again, I suppose that’s cheaper to replace down the road should it get all banged up.
If you’re banging up your Ball Watch Roadmaster Marine GMT, at least the chronometer-spec movement inside will be safe. As with many Ball watches, there are a lot of resistances built in – 200m WR, anti-magnetic, and shock resistant. Then again, when you’ve got a Navy veteran helping out with the design, it’s going to need to be tough.
As Victor (correctly) surmised, the Ball Watch Roadmaster Marine GMT is definitely one that caught my eye, and makes for an interesting addition to the catalog. It’s not giant, and it doesn’t contain the crazy crown some of the Engineer line has (while unique, it’s just not my cup of tea), and gives you a good deal of capability and functionality in its titanium skin. At the moment, this 1,000 piece limited edition is in pre-order, which will net you a discounted price of $2,549 (regular price is $2949). Along with that pre-order, you’ll get to choose your serial (if you so desire). For our part, we’ll be inquiring with the brand to see if we can’t get a loaner in. ballwatch.ch
- Brand & Model: Ball Watch Roadmaster Marine GMT
- Price: $2949 (MSRP) / $2549 (Pre-order pricing)
- Who we think it might be for: You want a Swiss Pepsi GMT and don’t want to deal with the wait lists at your local crowned AD
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? If price were no object for me, indeed
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: The day and date discs could deal with being color-matched to the dial
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: Tritium + GMT + a unique method for setting the GMT hand
Tech Specs from Ball Watch
- Limited Edition: 1000
- Automatic caliber BALL RR1203-C
- Chronometer certified COSC
- Size (case): Ø 40mm, height 14mm
- Water Resistance: 200m / 660ft
- Anti-Magnetism: 4,800A/m
- Micro gas tubes: 27 micro gas tubes on hour, minute and GMT hands and dial for night reading capability
- Three time zone indication with patented quick set mechanism
- Hours, minutes, sweep second, day and date
- 5,000Gs shock resistance
- Case Material
- Bi-directional rotating stainless steel bezel with aluminum plate, illuminated with Super LumiNova
- Sapphire crystal transparent case back
- Crown: Screwed-in crown
- Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
- Dial Color: Black
- Tapered titanium and stainless steel bracelet
- Lug Width: 20mm