Despite the innate steampunkiness of bronze as a case material, most watchmakers seem to be sticking more to the practical, utilitarian look of a professional diver or pilots’ watch. Not so Ball. Granted the American heritage brand has an ace up it’s sleeve in the form of their signature tritium gas tubes, but still, they’ve nailed it with the new Roadmaster StarLight Bronze.
Ok so saying this isn’t a utilitarian piece isn’t strictly true; it has all the hallmarks of a serious diving instrument. It’s a relatively big piece at 43mm and can reach depths of down to 200m, and the exact bronze in question is particularly corrosion-resistant. Then there’s the light from the luminescent gas picking out the numerals, and hands.
Because of those glass tubes, the numerals have to look more digital than the usual flowing Arabic versions most watches use. It gives the whole watch a distinct style that balances the usual vintage inspirations behind bronze.
The new StarLight is available with two fume dial variations. The first is the inevitable blue that pairs nicely with bronze, just like every other bronze watch out there. The second is a little less zeitgeisty with black bleeding to dark grey.
If you opt for the blue then you need to get it on the white-striped NATO strap, but personally I think the black version looks a little better on leather. Either way you’re getting an in-house, COSC-certified automatic movement with an impressive 80-hour power reserve. There is also a 42mm version of the StarLight Bronze with a modified ETA movement, but let’s be honest, that extra millimetre is one you’ll want.
As ever with Ball Watch Co., the new piece is at a pretty damn good price point for a chronometer and, get in there early and it’s even better. For pre-orders it’s price at £1,940. That’s almost as spectacular as that gas-lit dial.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Ball Watch Co. Roadmaster StarLight Bronze (42mm RR1102-C) and Roadmaster StarLight Bronze (43mm Cal. RRM7309-C)
Case/Dial: 42mm width x 14.4mm height (42mm RR1102-C) or 43mm width x 14.5mm height (43mm Cal. RRM7309-C), bronze, unidirectional rotating bronze/aluminum bezel with gas tube inset, stainless steel case back
Movement: BALL RR1102-C caliber (42mm) and RRM7309-C caliber (43mm), automatic, chronometer certified COSC
Power Reserve: 38h (42mm RR1102-C), 80h (43mm Cal. RRM7309-C)
Frequency: 28,800 vph / 4 Hz
Functions: Hours, minutes, sweep seconds, day and date, 5,000Gs shock resistance, magnified date
Water Resistance: 200m / 660ft
Strap: Calf leather strap with bronze pin buckle or NATO strap (in green/white or blue/white colourways)
Price & availability: £1,620 (42mm) and £1,940.40 (43mm), limited to 1,000 pieces each
Available for preorder now until May 22, 2019 at shop.ballwatch.ch