I know, I know – I just wrote about the Ball Roadmaster M Icebreaker a few months ago (which you can see here). But, you see, there’s a new version out, and while I’ve tended to like the Fireman line from Ball, I think the Roadmaster lineup is quickly becoming my new favorite from the brand. So, what does the Ball Roadmaster M Icebreaker Arabic have in store for you?

Well, in comparison to the prior version, the big change is the move from stick indices to Arabic numerals at the compass points. For me, that’s actually a huge selling point. When I first became aware of Ball – and now they used tritium tubes – I was immediately drawn to the audaciously over-the-top looks in the Engineer lineup, which had numerals composed of tubes. But a funny thing happened along the way – my tastes changed.

Back when I first started writing about watches, I was really into big watches – 44mm, 46mm, 48mm? I was all about that. These days, I find myself preferring stuff that’s sub-42mm (38mm-40mm seems to be a sweet spot for me), as well as some overall classic design cues. Well, wouldn’t you know it – the Ball Roadmaster M Icebreaker Arabic has that. You’ve got a 40mm stainless steel case (albeit at a thicker 14mm) and some classic three-hander looks.

That is, aside from those lovely flat tubes that you’ve got all over the dial (and handset) of the Ball Roadmaster M Icebreaker Arabic. Over that dial you’ve got a sapphire crystal equipped with something I am very much a fan of – the cyclops magnifier over the date disc. Sure, it’s because of my eyes, but I find the cyclops a super-practical addition to a watch.

You know what else is practical? Having some extra protections for a movement (in this case, the COSC-rated RRM7309-C which carries a very tasty 80-hour power reserve). Here, you’ve got a 200m WR rating (more than enough for 99% of us), a 4,800 A/m anti-magnetic rating, and a hardy 5000 Gs shock resistance. In other words, short of dropping this off a cliff into a volcano, the watch should keep on ticking.

All of this protection is great, but if it’s tucked into something that could be classified as “tacti-cool”, well, I’m not going to sign up. Fortunately, you’ve got a classic sportwatch look here. Paired as it is to the bracelet, it’s a watch that could easily cover you for any situation, from beach to formal events. If you want a leather strap, you’ll need to go the custom route and get something with stepped shoulders to have it fit the lugs. But me, I’m good with a bracelet.

Frankly, in my book, the Ball Roadmaster M Icebreaker Arabic is a do-everything sort of a watch. To the office for the work week? Covered. Off camping in the woods for the weekend? Hey, hard to beat tritium illumination by the campfire. Off to a suit-and-tie affair? Yup, this has you set. If you share that sentiment, it’s up for a pre-order price (until February 5, 2020) of $1,899, with shipments occurring in May or June 2020. So, no hands-on loaner to talk about just yet, but we’re working on one, as this is a model I am very much interested in – it brings my current tastes together with what originally drew my eye to the brand – big, bold, luminous numbers on the dial. ballwatch.ch

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Ball Roadmaster M Icebreaker Arabic
  • Price: $1,899 (pre-order) / $2,249 (MSRP)
  • Who we think it might be for: Your “everyday” takes you from the office to the trails to the fancy nights out – and you want one watch to cover it all
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I?ve seen? Indeed, indeed. Between this one and the Fireman Enterprise I would have a tough decision to make
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: If only this were 2mm thinner…

Tech Specs from Ball

  • LIMITED EDITION: 1000 pieces
  • Weight: Approx. 180g
  • Movement
    • Automatic BALL Manufacture caliber RRM7309-C
    • Chronometer certified COSC
    • 80 hours Power Reserve, 28,800vph
  • Size: ? 40mm, height 14mm
  • Water Resistance: 200m/660ft
  • Anti-magnetism: 4,800A/m
  • Micro gas tubes: 15 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second hands and dial for night reading capability
  • Functions:
    • Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and magnified date
    • 5,000Gs shock resistance
  • Case material: 904L stainless steel
  • Crown: Screwed-in crown
  • Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Dial color: blue, black, or white
  • Bracelet: Tapered 904L stainless steel bracelet
  • Lug width: 20mm