Likes Likes:  4
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Ball EMII Skindiver II Review

  1. #1
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    Posts
    6,480

    Ball EMII Skindiver II Review




    Letí me start by saying the 40mm Skindiver is one of my most recommended Ball watches. I took mine on a 30 day, five-country Asia trip two years ago as my only watch on the trip. It handled everything from business dinners to trekking in the jungles of Cambodia like a champ. This is a watch that could eat up weeks of wrist time comfortably. Call me skeptical, but when Ball talked about making a larger version I did not see the point. When Ball announce at Basel that not only was the larger 43mm version coming out, but it was going to replace my beloved 40mm version. How can this be? So I took a little time to analyze the press releases and specs. Iíll go over those in a bit since there are really a lot of improvements even beyond the specs. My biggest concern is that the 40mm was very Rolex Sub like in its ability to fit any wrist size. It was very balanced and nearly identical to the Sub in weight on a bracelet at 156 grams. The Skindiver has the potential of being a long-term brand standard like most Rolex, Omega Seamasters and such. These watches have universal appeal due to keeping the size not too big or small, and comfort is key. They also seem to have history, which the Skindiver roots go back to a Ball diver from 1962. So I did not understand the need for a change that messed with these things.





    The 40mm Skindiver I for reference (Four pictures above)




    So here is what changed including a few things not mentioned elsewhere. First along with the gain of 3mm in case size the depth rating has gone up 200m to 500m from the previous 300m-depth rating. On the left side it has gained an automatic HEV valve. Gone is the domed crystal replaced with a Sub like flat crystal, but without the Subs Cyclops. With the upgrade to a COSC movement the split day/date is now just a date window, but still located at the 4:30. The crown that was shared with other EMII watches has given way to a new multi row knurled one. This knurling is carried up to the edge of the bezel replacing the alternating patter of the 40mm. The ceramic bezel insert has a thinner font that goes well with the thinner index marks. The 40ís was always just a bit to thick. This glows blue at night like most of the newer Ball watches with external bezels. The basic lines of the 40 have been scaled up a bit while keeping the thickness of the 40mm. The red second hand has now become a yellow/orange one. Surprisingly the dial has actually lost about two rows of text while keeping the bead blast texture black- grey dial. The dial tubes have gone back to the green at all indexes except for orange at the 12 and a bit larger in length and width. This was the color scheme for the first 6 months of the 40mm version. The dial is now surrounded by a chapter ring with cut-outs for the tubes and the minute track is pushed to itís outer edge. The hands have far more detail then the 40ís SS stick hands. They now have a fine tip at the end, are now white outlined with a small inner black-grey area that makes them appear to float over the dial. These are lighted at night by yellow tubes. The 20mm bracelet has grown in width to 22mm. The kit also includes a high-grade rubber strap with spring bars and tool to swap between the two. The stamped clasp is gone, and has been replaced with a heavy duty machined one that is 3-4 time thicker in every component. The US Coast Guard Reserve crest has replaced the frogman on the case back. Currency fluctuations also helped keep all this net adds at the same retail price of $2799.









    With sized gains comes weight. In this case the unsized weight of the 40mm was 156 grams where the 43mm has grown to 204 grams. The thing I always found with the original Skindiver was the weight was just about perfect for a steel watch and the design had great balance. It also seemed to fit a wide variety of wrist sizes form 6Ē-8Ē. The 40mm always wore bigger than itís actual dimensions. Very few watches pull this similar feat off better than the Rolex Sub C which seems to fit more people regardless of wrist size. One thing Iím happy to note on the Skindiver II is that it has bucked the trend of watches getting thicker. While wider and longer (52mm up from 50mm) the case is now .3mm thinner. Because of the gained length it now stretches the size to the very edge of what I can wear on my 7.25Ē wrist. Taking the size and weight into consideration this watch is very close to my Omega Good Planet except that one is 17mm thick and is about 14 grams heavier. Because of this it is far more balanced even against other similar sized Ball watches like a EHC Spacemaster. It continues the trend of wearing bigger then itís size would indicate from the previous generation. I believe if it was 1mm larger (44mm) it would exceed fitting me properly. One thing weíll learn in time is if it can accommodate smaller wrist sizes below 7Ē. Iím pretty certain it has the greater than 8Ē wrist group covered.






    More Swiss companies seem to be joining the chapter ring trend. This is one of several new Ball watches announced this year that has this feature. It really helps complete the dial around the tubes for Ball watches that donít have the applied indexes around the tubes. This also makes the watch look really 3D and deep at night that seems to be an effect that only GTLS watches seem have. The other thing that is nice is how the use of several colors in the lume allows the watch to better communicate information. Omega uses blue and green on itís current divers to separate the hour and minute components. For my eyes after 10 minutes in the dark I can no longer tell the difference between these colors. I never have this issue with Balls coloring. The orange tube at the 12 helps quickly orient the watch and the other green indexes are crystal clear. All the hands are yellow and the lume on the bezel insert is blue.



    This model remains very toolish. The 40mm was very good at resisting bumps and marks including the bracelet. I expect this to be very similar. The crown seems to have learned a few things from itís bigger brother the DeepQUEST. The DQ may still be a touch better, but this one is probably better than 99% of the watches on the market. Smooth and positive are defiantly in this ones portfolio. This could never have been said about the 40mm non-COSC version.



    Iíve been collecting since the early 80ís and I canít say Iíve every seen a watch gain nearly a dozen upgraded features and not a penny of cost. Ballís leveraged the currency imbalances better to allow a much-upgraded piece to come out just a few years after the original. The previous was pretty dam good, but the newer version has raised the bar a few notches and should be hard to beat assuming it can fit your wrist.
    Last edited by Samanator; Aug 10, 2015 at 12:14 AM.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

  2. Likes Chase, popoki nui, MarkO, Banker liked this post
  3. #2
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Northern CA
    Posts
    3,516
    Excellent review and pictures of a great watch.
    "Either He's Dead, Or My Watch Has Stopped....."
    Groucho Marx

  4. #3
    Member Banker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    130
    Great write up! I'm a big fan of Ball watches and really like what they've done with it except for moving it up to 43mm. The only watch that I can pull off in the range is the Oris Aquis and then only because of Oris' unique lugs.

    Bring it out in a 40mm version and I might be looking at another diver... Which I need like a hole in the head!
    Ball | Baume et Mercier | Christopher Ward | Elgin | Frederique Constant | Hamilton | Helson | Longines | Lum-Tec | Nomos GlashŁtte | Omega | Oris | Seiko | Tag Heuer | Tissot

  5. #4
    Great review, as always. I own a Ball myself, and I can't agree more about its quality. I am glad it's 43mm.....so I know it will NOT be in my want list.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #5
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    Posts
    6,480
    I know when Phillipe at Ball was working with Eric Singer from Kiss on testing the SpringLOCK device they had a lot of talks about a larger Skindiver. These continued at Basel last year. The 40mm size Eric felt was just a bit too small. Seems collectors are of a different opinion about the size based on feedback so far. I'm certain we'll hear a few supporting this move up in size.
    Last edited by Samanator; Aug 9, 2015 at 02:14 PM.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

  7. #6
    Big Member Chase's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    2,423
    Very well done review. always admired the look of this piece as a whole. Awkward day/date of the original notwithstanding. Beautiful piece.

  8. #7
    Awesome piece you've got there. Too bad I can't swim in these waters. I'll stay in the shallow end and live vicariously through my Deep Blue tritium watches.
    Shop Ague Trading Company for nylon straps

    Take 20% off all purchases with coupon code IWL

  9. #8
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    Posts
    6,480
    This is our families 52nd Ball watch. I guess you could say I'm a fan.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

  10. #9
    Hall Monitor Samanator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    Posts
    6,480
    Trying to add tags to reviews so they get hit more on searches
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
About Us
We are an independent and wide-ranging forum for watch enthusiasts. From mainspring to microchip, from Europe to Asia, from micro-brand to boutique - we cover it all. Novice or expert, we want you to feel at home. Whether it's asking a simple question or contributing to the fund of horological knowledge, it's all the same hobby. Or, if you like, you can just show us a picture of your new watch. We'll provide the welcoming and courteous environment, the rest is up to you!
Join us