Explorer’s watches, like the death-defying men and women themselves, go through a lot. Dessert heat, arctic cold, jagged rocks halfway up a cliff face, they have to keep going through it all. That’s easier said than done when something as delicate as a balance spring is in play, but we pity any force of nature faced with Ball’s latest, near-indestructible timepiece: the Roadmaster Icebreaker.
It’s certainly an evocative name; the only other icebreakers are the huge ships that crash through sea ice near the polar ice caps. Granted the new Roadmaster Icebreaker would likely be more successful than the Titanic, but given Ball’s railroad origins it’s probably fairer to compare it to Snowpiercer.
The main reason behind its newfound survivability is the case material. The 904L Steel used in the 40mm case and bracelet is the metal perfected. Think of everything that makes a steel sports watch great – corrosion resistance, hardness, that chrome shine – and amp it up. This is more practical, hardwearing and striking than any other type of steel.
Of course, the Icebreaker’s COSC-certified movement is also equipped with Ball’s patented Amortiser anti-shock system so that the movement remains in as good condition as the case. I’m not saying you can drop it from the top of a mountain, but it can certainly handle a few knocks on the way up there.
The 100m water resistance is perhaps not as high as you might want, even if the Roadmaster isn’t a diving watch, but it’s enough to survive dampness rather then depths. Throw in Ball’s signature H3 gas tubes to illuminate the dial and you have a contending timepiece for anyone venturing into an ice cave or two.
Available in black or white dial variations (the black is my personal preference), you can pre-order the Roadmaster Icebreaker for the nifty little price of £1,689. For a watch that’ll survive a polar expedition and still keep COSC-certified time, that’s not bad at all, even if the price wont be frozen forever.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Ball Roadmaster Icebreaker
Ref: PM3030C-SC (COSC), PM3030C-S (non-COSC)
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter x 14mm height, 904L stainless steel case, blue, black or white dial
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre BALL RR1702-C (Chronometer certified COSC) or caliber BALL RR1702, automatic
Functions: Hours, minutes, sweep second and magnified date
Power Reserve: 42h
Strap: Tapered 904L stainless steel bracelet, additional NATO and rubber straps available
Price: £1,440 for the Roadmaster Icebreaker COSC certified movement and £1,260 for the non-COSC version if you pre-order before 4 September 2019. RRP price is £1,920 and £1,689.60, respectively; limited to 1000 pieces
More details at Ball Watches’ website.