In 2012, Ball Watch Co. presented the Skindiver in Basel, basically a re-edition of a dive watch from the brand’s past that was celebrating its 50th anniversary at the time. This year, Ball Watch replaces that model with the Engineer Master II Skindiver II (Ref. DM3108A-SCJ-BK), and we at DiveIntoWatches.com had the chance to briefly handle it in Basel.
The most important changes: The case diameter is now 43 mm instead of 40.5 (its height is 14 mm), and the rather unusual split day/date display has been replaced by a date-only display.
To be honest, we would have preferred a black date wheel (or a no-date version to begin with), and even though the new bezel/crown profile is much more refined and should offer more grip, we did like the previous design a bit better because it was closer to that of the original.
Apart from those caveats, the larger size and the reduced dial is a positive evolution and enhances the watch’s wrist presence quite a bit.
The uni-directional bezel comes with an insert made of black ceramic, which is filled with luminescent paint.
As you’d expect from Ball, the Skindiver II is also fitted with tritium-filled micro tubes and is therefore an impressive sight in darkness. On the other hand, it is a good example of a dilemma that naturally arises with a watch such as the Skindiver, when a technology-oriented brand such as Ball launches a vintage-inspired model. The same goes for the 500-meter water resistance and the integrated helium release valve at 9 o’clock on a watch that was obviously made for skin diving rather than for use inside a diving chamber.
The caseback features the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve’s emblem, and the movement behind it, Caliber RR1103-C, comes with COSC certification and is most likely based on an ETA caliber.
The Ball Skindiver II comes with a black rubber strap and a massive steel bracelet with folding clasp.
No info yet on the pricing, or details on Ball’s relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve.