I have to confess I have always found the idea of a Ball watch appealing, what with its railroad/engineer approach to its watches combined with the long-lasting glow of the tritium gas tubes. The one thing that has always put me off however, is the slightly classical design approach they seem to take with most of their timepieces. Case in point: the stylised ‘RR’ that seems to be on most of the seconds hand in their collection. But that is all about to change with the unveiling of the brand new Ball Roadmaster Icebreaker.
This watch is the epitome of the tool watch genre. Just looking at the design, the watch is clean and focused on doing only one thing: giving you all the necessary information you look for in a watch. And yes, I am absolutely ecstatic that they decided to do away with the ‘RR’ insignia on this one.
What sets the watch apart from the other Ball offerings, or even most other tool watches at this price point for that matter, is the fact that the case and bracelet are made from 904L steel. If this alloy sounds familiar to you, its because Rolex also uses this steel for their watches. Compared to the normal 316L steel, the 904L steel has extra amounts of chromium, molybdenum, nickel and copper in its composition giving it better resistance to corrosion, rust and acids. Within the case, the movement is protected by the Amortiser anti-shock system that can withstand up to 5,000Gs of shock and is also anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m.
Complementing this 40mm case of 904L steel is Ball’s famous Tritium gas (H3) tubes that offer outstanding luminosity. The way it works is that this gas is trapped in micro gas tubes with interior walls that are coated with luminescent material. This luminescent material will give off a cold light when activated by the electrons emitted by the tritium. Thus, these tubes will glow constantly (for about 25 years according to Ball) without the need for exposure to sources of light as with Superluminova.
Completing the functionality of the tool watch, the Ball RR1702 automatic movement within comes with or without COSC Chronometer certification, but both offer up to 42 hours of power reserve. Besides the choice of COSC Chronometer certification, there are also the black, blue and white dials to choose from and even the power reserve indicator on the dial can be chosen when you pre-order the watch.
Each variant of the Roadmaster Icebreaker is limited to 1,000 pieces and although the pre-order period lasts until 4th September 2019, They still appear to be taking orders at the time of writing. Prices start from MYR7,950 to MYR9,050 depending on the reference and Orders ship between January 2020 and February 2020, subject to Swiss product schedule and shipment. The watch will then officially available at full retail price beginning March 2020.
Case: 904L stainless steel
Case size: 40mm
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Movement: Ball RR1702/BALL RR1702-C
Water Resistance: 100m
Price: MYR7,950 to MYR9,050