Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster

Angus Davies provides an in-depth hands-on of the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster. The watch delivers a robust character with an engaging honesty.

This in depth review of the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The recent banking crisis has left huge swathes of the population feeling angry. Government bailouts, “fat-cat” bonuses and the possible manipulation of exchange rates are just some of the ingredients blended into a cold nauseating dish. The general public are, understandably, upset at seeing taxes being used to fuel this blighted industry and the banking profession has certainly suffered much derision of late.

My own perception of the banking industry is no different. It has been repeatedly sullied by some very irritating trading practices.

The stereotypical cheery telesales person who calls my home, just after I have sat down to watch my favourite television programme, is a case in point. They suggest moving my existing savings account to the bank’s latest “gold-plated, triple diamond, privilege, oligarch account”. They “only want to ensure I get the best deal” and they sound almost plausible. However, I’ve been here before. There has been repeated occasions where three months later I learn my “new” account is now an “old” account, and the prevailing interest rate is so minuscule that I would need the appetite of a shrew to dine out on its meagre yield.

It is therefore refreshing when a service or product exhibits a palpable honesty.

A few weeks ago, I had a few days temporary ownership of a Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster. I have reviewed other Ball Watch timepieces on ESCAPEMENT and have always found them to offer good quality, excellent value and rugged construction.

Ball does not pretend to be the last word in haute horlogerie. It readily discloses that its watches are equipped with ETA based movements. The honesty is refreshing and the brand’s no-nonsense approach to marketing is very endearing.

The dial

The hour and minute hands are chunky, with open worked tips. Adorning the hands are the watch company’s legendary micro gas tubes which provide a sublime green emission in restricted light and a point of differentiation from other brands. This know-how is one of the key aspects of the brand’s DNA.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The central sweep seconds hand has a counterweight formed in the shape of the brand’s logo. The slender profile of the hand again features a micro gas tube, emitting a green hue.

Adjacent 3 o’clock, two apertures reveal the day and date.

The hour ring is snailed and features Arabic numerals at 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock and noon, with a truncated baton positioned at 3 o’clock. These hour markings emit a yellow hue in restricted light. The intervening hours are marked with batons exhibiting a vivid blue shade.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Although the array of colours used may sounds garish, this is not the case. During the day, there is no indication of the nocturnal behaviour of the micro gas tubes. At night, the selection of colours aids legibility and looks especially attractive.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The chapter ring is marked with white strokes, save for each 5-minute integer which is marked with red Arabic numerals.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Overall, the dial is simple to read, practical and, in my opinion, rather handsome.

The case

The patented crown protection device is the first detail which I noticed, primarily because it is very different from other systems on the market. It proves simple to operate and according to the brand, provides “superior water and shock resistance”. I have no reason to doubt this, but it is the design of the device which I particularly like. It imparts a flourish of individuality which is very appealing.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The stainless steel case has a diameter of 41.5 mm and is 16.1 mm in height. It feels large owing to the crown protection device and the shoulders located adjacent. Nevertheless, the crown did not gouge my wrist or inhibit free movement of my left hand.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Examining the case of the watch, there is a perception that it will shrug off some minor impacts courtesy of its robust exterior. The sapphire crystal is 4 mm thick, yet affords a clear view of the display. The unidirectional bezel has a positive action and a pleasing tactility.

The solid caseback features a depiction of an astronaut. Ordinarily, I would lament the omission of a sapphire caseback, however, the Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster delivers excellent resistance to magnetic fields (resistant to 12,000 A/m) and so, on this occasion, I will defer to Ball’s wisdom.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

The Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster is water resistant to 333 metres and is shock resistant to 7,500G. These aspects reaffirm the sense of durability.

Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster - In-depth hands-on review by ESCAPEMENT

Would-be purchasers can select a rubber strap option or purchase the model with a stainless steel bracelet. My “press-loan” watch was supplied on the latter bracelet and it proved to be very comfortable. The bracelet features a patented folding buckle and extension system, once again exampling the brand’s penchant for innovation.

The movement

The Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster contains a self-winding RR1102-C movement (base ETA 2836-2). The frequency of the movement is 28,800 vph (4Hz) with a power reserve of 38 hours. The watch is a COSC certified chronometer.

Closing remarks

I like the Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster. It has a straightforward integrity which is very refreshing. The watch exhibits its virtues with candour. Ball Watch succinctly states the watches specification with no “spin” or excessive marketing prose.

The watch contains an ETA based movement. This is Swiss, mechanical and renown for its reliability. Moreover, the movement is a chronometer certified by COSC. No further explanation is necessary.

A maximum water resistance of 333 metres is specified on the dial. The brand attests to the shock resistance and anti-magnetic properties, quantifying both with matter of fact clarity.

There is a tangible sense of durability with this watch and it represents good value with an RRP of £2260.

I appreciate the refreshing honesty of this watch. Ball Watch state what it is. There is an absence of caveats and, to my mind, that is worth applauding.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster
  • Reference: DM2036A-SCA-BK
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41.50 mm; height 16.10 mm; water resistant to 33.3 bar (333 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; day; date.
  • Movement: R1102-C movement (base ETA 2836-2), self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); Power reserve 38 hours.
  • Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with patented folding buckle & extension system.
  • Price: £2260 (as at 3.3.2014)

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