Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch Hands-On

Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch Hands-On

Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch Hands On   hands on

Prior to Baselworld 2014, Ball released images of its upcoming Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch that we covered here. I felt that it looked great and was eager to see it hands-on at the show. I can now say that the sporty, slightly retro design does not disappoint. Forget that Ball is combining the concept of a fireman's watch with one meant for chasing tornadoes. In fact, they even posit that the telemeter on the bezel is to be used to measure the distance you are from lightning–then again, that is among the very few things a watch telemeter can do….

We've seen a lot of Ball Fireman watches over the years, which is one of their major collections outside of the Engineer family. Often times, the chronograph versions are lovely, and here you have a familiar design mixed with Ball DNA that works wonderfully for those who appreciate the look of historic sport watches. For 2014, this newest version of the Fireman Storm Chaser Pro comes with three dial color options as well as a strap or steel metal bracelet.

Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch Hands On   hands on

Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch Hands On   hands on

What I really like is that the bright orange colors that so caught our attention in the early renders look equally great on the actual watches. Ball uses orange as an accent color on the dial, chronograph start/stop pusher, as well as on the strap for the stitching. It gives just enough color without being too much. Otherwise we are given high-contrast dials with an ample amount of legibility.

The design is not without its quirks, but they are nothing major. For instance, the hands in the subsidiary dials are arguably a bit too short, and the main hour and minute hands have no real purpose to be skeletonized (especially because part of the point is to have tritium case tubes in them). Even though the subsidiary dial hands don't have the gas tubes they are still painted with lume which is nice. Of course, it wouldn't be a Ball without liberal use of self-illuminating tritium case tubes for illumination. Here, a T-25 volume of tubes are used (Ball sometimes goes up to T-100).

Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch Hands On   hands on

Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch Hands On   hands on

The Fireman Storm Chaser Pro comes in a 42mm wide steel case that is very attractively finished with contrast polishing. The design of the chronograph pushers makes it feel unique, and I like the orange and black colors in each of them. You'll notice from the side the pushers display additional color. The case is water resistant to 100 meters and is also shock resistant.

With a relatively thin bezel, the watch wears a bit larger than it is, and the bezel insert is aluminum. Ball does have ceramic bezel inserts, but perhaps none that is this thin, yet. Ideally in the future I'd like to see ceramic replace aluminum as much as possible. Over the dial is a curved and AR-coated sapphire crystal.

Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro Watch Hands On   hands on

28 comments
llcharl1e
llcharl1e

For some reason this watch is not up on their website yet. Ariel, do you know what the release date is?

samanator2010
samanator2010

T-25 is a license for total tritium  in a watch not a tube type.  Under the T-25  license it allows greater than zero mci of tritium with a limit of less than 25 mci.  The T license (not T-100) that Ball uses on watches like the Storm Chaser DLC Glow allows greater than 25 mci of tritium with a peak of less than 100 mci.  Some other brands use a T-100 license for this level, but Ball was the first to have this and did all the ground work with the NRC.  Their license is T, but some Ball watches have been miss marked T-100 in the past. All the tubes are the same for either license and both classes can have various sizes.   You would just need less of them for a T-25 watch versus a T watch.  MB Micro tech (the tube manufacturer) does not place any tube in a T or T2-25 class.  If they did manufacture a tube with the full volume for the range then there could be a T-25 or T tube.  Those are not currently available and having just one big tube would not communicate a lot of information.   These are ranges so just one small tube could be the difference between a T-25 watch and a T watch. 


One question what is the scale for on the 45-60 area of the non chronograph second hand in the 9 o'clock register?

TICK TOCK
TICK TOCK

NO one has mentioned the brands history...or the big  train accident.....or the phrase "On the Ball".

Isn't is so refreshing to have an opportunity to own something slightly unique;..and at a great price point?

TICK TOCK
TICK TOCK

Hmm,   no one has mentioned the brands history.  Or the big train accident.  Or the origins of the phrase "on the BALL"..

After all, isn't it so refreshing to have something slightly "different" yet clearly a quality selection? 

Nice job BALL. 



jesvtine
jesvtine

I really like this one: simple but nice, and actually functional.  

spiceballs
spiceballs

Nice job Ball, especially the clean nicely laid out slate dial - for me.   I just wonder if there is enough differentiation in tritium tubes to avoid confusion? I do appreciate the (rolled) buckle of the leather strap which shows attention to wear in a critical area. 

ShakD
ShakD

That is an amazing wrist band! wow, I am truly amazing - fantastic marksmanship!


Great Post!


My Watch Site

ShakD

droo
droo

Ha !

This is the new one, I like it very much...

I own a stormchaser already, an older model... this is the watch I wear every night (sound silly ???) just because it has the best night reading you can get. You can read time as well as chrono functions in the dark (yes I cook eggs at night). It is not as classy as this new version but it is a well dsigned watch, coll case, coll pushers, great winding crown, great saphirre, etc...

I will probably buy later this new model as a second hand watch. Definitely I always have had the feeling that Ball watches should deserve more credit than very famous brands just receive because of high pressure communication...

this is a brand of efficient tool watches, well designed and reliable (I own 3 of them without any trouble)

I love those 3 newcomers, all are great to me

cheers...

GBD
GBD

I really like these a lot. At this price point I think these will get a lot of attention, and I can certainly appreciate Ball putting a lot of effort into the details of the dial, case, and bracelet. I'm not crazy about a butterfly clasp on a sports watch, but other than that I think these hit all the right notes.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

The gray dial version was the one that I liked best at BaselWorld. Very classy for what is essentially a retro tool watch design. The use of accent colors on various parts of all of the pieces showed Ball's attention to detail.

WimadS
WimadS

I like that white dialed version a lot! In combination with the steel bracelet it is even nicer :) 

TheBigOldDog
TheBigOldDog

42mm? Are these woman's or juniors watches? Nice looking dials and straps but indistinguishable from many decent watches costing a fraction of the price.

DangerussArt
DangerussArt

That has "Buy Me!" written all over it.  My wallet on the other hand...

CG
CG

Always liked the Ball style and price point, these are very nice and side by side, next to a Tag are distinctly different . Love the strap buckle too. Could it be that the skeletonized hands and the use of aluminum is to give the impression of a weight saving design; speaking stylistically only.

BIGCHRONO
BIGCHRONO

Over long time spans, I've rapidly worn out leather straps of many origins. Switching to steel permanently solved the trouble, & saves money which can be invested in other watches. The telemeter bezel looks good while offering average citizens more options than a tachy. Ball's price/value ratios are excellent, & if I were employed & not allergic to mech/auto watches, I'd own several.

ZL
ZL

Within the extermal-tachymeter-bezel-chronograph family of watches, like the TAG Carreras and Omega Speedmasters, being the most representative perhaps, these are nice for sure. For the price, they are real nice, but competing with the TAGs. I like the non-panda black one best.


When I win the lottery, I will have an Speedmaster moonwatch for the more dressy and classy occasions and the Chopard Grand Prix de Monaco Historique Chrono (from this year's Baselworld) for the sporty. http://www.ablogtowatch.com/chopard-grand-prix-de-monaco-historique-chrono-watch-yellow-black-2014/


Like me a Seiko Ananta as well http://www.ablogtowatch.com/seiko-ananta-srq017-100th-anniversary-chronograph-watch-hands-2/

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Panda dial chronos sure are everywhere these days.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

It looks a bit like those new Tag chronos, doesn't it?  The bezel ring looks a bit cheap.  Otherwise quite nice, though I wish there were an option to not have splashes of orange scattered all over an otherwise stylish timepiece.  Assuming there was no orange i'd go for the grey dial version.  Very cool.

Snow1
Snow1

@TICK TOCK  almost as great as having someone paraphrase the advertisement brochures for me so that I don't have to read them myself

Spaceguitar
Spaceguitar

@spiceballs Agreed. This is my sole compaint here, maybe just a slightly larger tube on the hour and minute hands. Other than that I love this watch.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@GBD Deployment clasps make your strap last longer (as you don't keep stressing the same place everytime you take it on or off), so if you like this particular strap a deployment will give it a longer life. Cheers.

Paulmetzger2004
Paulmetzger2004

Obviously your compensating for something. Do you also drive a corvette ?

TheBigOldDog
TheBigOldDog

@Paulmetzger2004 Yes, it's called having an 8.5" wrist and a sense of modern proportions. I haven't worn something this small since the 90s. Of course they are shooting for the Little Man market who will slap down $3,000 for a $700 (at best) watch in order to feel like a big man. Looks like they hit the bull's-eye.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@TheBigOldDog Looks like you have gotten very good prices on 7750 based watches. ETA movement prices are rising quickly these days and outside of the Swatch brands, getting harder to acquire for production. Oddly, with the mark-up on gold and platinum in watches, I'd argue the opposite position - that what you paid for a precious metal watch was the larger waste of money in terms of a financial investment. Cheers.

TheBigOldDog
TheBigOldDog

@Ulysses31 @MarkCarson @TheBigOldDog  I can't even wear a 60mm unless the case was heavily curved.  I usually buy watches in the 48mm to 52mm range and will Ocassionally buy a diver as big as 55mm if it is well designed to accommodate the curve of my wrist. 

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@MarkCarson @TheBigOldDog Even Schwarzenegger's wrist was only 7.5 inches...  There's a picture of him wearing a 60mm Panerai and the thing is hanging off him; the lugs are sticking out over his wrist.

TheBigOldDog
TheBigOldDog

@MarkCarson @TheBigOldDog  all depends what you consider a quality watch.  The last 4 watches I purchased with 7750s I  paid $650, $750, $999 and $1,200. Watches are the quintessential perception sale game. Value is what they con you into believing it is. Once they have sold as many as they can at full retail the quietly dump them out the back door to people like me at 25 cents or less on the retail dollar.  The only time watches have objective value is when they are solid gold or platinum. 

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@TheBigOldDog I understand with your wrist size that you prefer larger watches. But you have to know that your wrist is larger than average even in the U.S. or Europe let along in Asia. So while it might not be the watch for you, I would not call a 42 mm watch something for the "Little Man market". And you will be hard pressed to find an ETA 7750 in a quality watch for $700. Cheers.