Ball Engineer Master II Sportsman: AKA the "Ducks Unlimited Watch"
The Ball Engineer Master II Sportsman, also know as the "Ducks Unlimited Watch", is the first product resulting from a multi-year licensing agreement between Ball Watch and Memphis, Tennessee based Ducks Unlimited, the world's leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation.
Ducks Unlimited, whose membership is primarily hunters and outdoorsmen, is the largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's waterfowl habitats. To date, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres of wetlands, and works to promote wildlife and wetlands preservation, and rehabilitation, to ensure waterfowl populations and their habitats remain intact and thriving for many generations to come.
This special Limited Edition Sportsman celebrates the year that DU was established by limiting production to only 1937 pieces. The limited edition piece is specially distinguished with the DU logo on the dial, and the famous DU "Flying Mallard" in 3D relief on the case back.
The case is a familiar one to Ball enthusiasts. Its 43mm titanium case is the same as the one used on the now retired Engineer Master II Diver COSC. Like the Diver COSC, the Sportsman features an internal unidirectional bezel that ratchets counter clockwise when the second crown is turned. However, where the Diver COSC featured a diver-style counter to sixty, the Sportsman's bezel features both a Super-LumiNova sunset/sunrise indicator and a solar compass. The later is similar in utility to Ball's Spacemaster Orbital, though it doesn't feature the Orbital's 24-hour hand which makes the compass even more functional. Similar to the Diver COSC, the Sportsman also boasts being anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m, shock resistant to 5,000 gs, and water resistant to 300m/1,000ft.
The Sportsman dial uses tritium tubes that are lighter in scale than the large tubes found on the Diver COSC. All of the hour markers except for 12 o'clock feature two circular micro gas tubes as nighttime indices. Another difference in dial treatment is the date aperture at 3 o'clock in line with the day window versus at the 4:30 position on the Diver COSC.
While the Sportsman features a military-grade water-resistant nylon strap, the case is also compatible with both the bracelet and rubber strap options previously available for the Diver COSC. As of this writing, both the rubber strap ($140) and titanium/steel bracelet ($400) were available from Ball U.S.A.
The Sportsman is an unparalleled value in the Ball Watch Line. While the watch retails for $1,999, members of DU can purchase the watch from stores such as Topper Fine Jewelers for the greatly discounted price of $1,299. DU memberships start at $35 and easily justify the 35% discount on the watch.
The predominant reason this watch is offered at such a big discount is in support of the philanthropic efforts of Ducks Unlimited. In addition to the money raised by new memberships attracted by the watch, Ball Watch is donating a generous portion of the proceeds of each sale to Ducks Unlimited.
Below are additional photos of the Sportsman.
The sunset side of the sunrise/sunset indicator.
The sunrise side of the sunrise/sunset indicator.
The Ducks Unlimited logo at six o'clock on the Sportsman dial.
The iconic Ducks Unlimited "Flying Mallard" in 3D relief on the case back.
The military-grade water-resistant nylon strap on the Sportsman.
A lume shot of the Engineer Master II Sportsman. The sunrise/sunset indicator is SuperLuminova while the hands and hour indices are micro gas tritium tubes.The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.