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Ball Engineer M Skindiver III Beyond Dive Watch Reviewed

The Engineer M Skindiver III Beyond exemplifies Ball Watch’s legacy of “accuracy under adverse conditions.”

Candice Landau

During a recent dive off Dana Point in Southern California, I put myself and the Ball Engineer M Skindiver III Beyond to the test. The site was unfamiliar with 15-foot visibility, but shallow and close to shore.Calm conditions and a thorough briefing from the crew of Riviera convinced me that this would be a great dive to refresh my underwater navigation. After descending to the nondescript plain below, I quickly realized relying upon my instruments wouldn’t be a choice, but a necessity.

Related Reading: Diving With Citizen’s New Promaster Dive Watch

Ball Engineer M Skindiver III Beyond

Courtesy Ball Watch

Fortunately, the Skindiver III Beyond was more than up for the task. This 300-meter dive watch uses the RRM7309-C automatic movement. Highly accurate, with an 80-hour power reserve, this first-ever in-house movement was developed in 2018 to honor Ball’s unwavering pursuit of precision, which began on the American railroad in the 1890s. Successful navigation requires measuring direction and distance. On this dive, I’d rely on the watch’s accurate high-frequency movement to tell me how long I had kicked in each direction so that I could navigate back to the boat.

I set the curved sapphire elapsedtiming bezel of the Skindiver, took a compass heading and began to swim with even, consistent strokes across the featureless sandflats. Without any underwater landmarks to aid me, knowing the exact duration of my crossing would be critical to finding the correct exit point.

The murky environment underscored the importance of the watch’s luminous hands and markers, which stood out in the gloom as clearly as the neon-orange garibaldi fish found throughout these waters. Outfitted with special tritium gas tubes, they glow brilliantly without needing to be recharged by external light or an energy source. By illuminating the entire graduated bezel and color-coding the markings on the hands and 12 o’clock position, the watch allows accurate, precise readings of bottom time and time of day even in complete darkness.

After four minutes and 26 seconds, the topography of the reef came into view, and I followed the circumference of the undersea mound. Calico bass and vibrant garibaldi welcomed us at every turn. We even found a Spanish shawl nudibranch as we turned the dive.Eventually, we reached the moment I had prepared for. I was aligned on the reciprocal heading with nothing ahead but seemingly endless sand. I swam on, closely monitoring the watch face. In another four minutes and 26 seconds, I signaled to make our safety stop and ascend.

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It was still hazy enough that no sign of the boat was visible from below. I was hoping to be facing the boat, even if I wasn’t close to it. Once we broke the surface, Riviera loomed directly overhead. To my surprise and delight, we were hardly 10 feet from the boat.

Watch Specs

Ball Engineer M Skindiver III Beyond

MSRP $3,699

Movement Automatic Ball RRM7309-

Power Reserve 80 hours

Water Resistance 300 meters/985 feet

Case 41.5 mm

Material Stainless steel

Crystal Domed anti-reflective sapphire

Website shop.ballwatch.ch

Ball's rigorous system would later inspire the 1973 Swiss Society of Chronometry (COSC) standard

Courtesy Ball Watch

Setting the Standard On April 18, 1891, a four-minute delay caused by a train conductor’s malfunctioning pocket watch resulted in a fatal head-on collision between two locomotives in Kipton, Ohio. In the aftermath, American railway companies appointed Webb C. Ball to develop standards for watches used by railroad employees. Ball subjected timepieces to extremely strict criteria of accuracy and reliability. His rigorous system would later inspire the 1973 Swiss Society of Chronometry (COSC) standard. Today, the Ball Watch Company’s pursuit of dependability continues to evolve to meet the needs of demanding professionals and explorers from fields like fire fighting and scuba diving, but each timepiece still carries the “Official RR Standard” stamp of approval as an homage to the brand’s pioneering railway heritage.