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Ballast Valiant BL-3105 Skeleton Automatic Watch Review

Ballast Valiant BL-3105 Skeleton Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

What do you get when you combine a large, sporty dive-style case with a skeletonized mechanical movement? Something like this Ballast Valiant ref. BL-3105-02 watch. A piece like this doesn’t fit into any of the traditional watch categories and that is because this, my friend, is what we call a fashion watch. Does that make it bad? No. It just means that it isn’t the type of thing hardcore watch nerds will gravitate to. Though it does have the type of appeal to make sense for all those other less ardently geeky watch lovers who are interesting in “timepiece fun.”

Yes, what I am describing is actually the majority of watch lovers out there. These aren’t the people who carefully weigh the pros and cons of a Rolex versus an Omega, nor are they particularly well versed in the operation of a mechanical movement. These are the people who watch overly enthusiastic sales people hawk Invicta watches on television and think that the watch sales counter at their local department store is where to find the best in horological novelties. And if there is anything I can do for them it is to prevent them from buying a Stauer or Stuhrling watch.

Ballast Valiant BL-3105 Skeleton Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Enter Ballast, which, for the money, isn’t too bad. Bloomingdale’s carries them and if you are looking for a novel-looking, yet somehow familiar large men’s sports watch, it is a viable option. I actually happened to really like this Valiant model with the skeletonized Japanese mechanical movement. It isn’t a daily wear for me, but I know a watch like this is prone to get more comments than most of my “historically accurate” dive watches.

The larger tonneau style case combines a range of aesthetic styles from pilot to dive watch. The screw-down crown protector is a feature made famous by the likes of Invicta but is actually from early dive watches–apparently Russian ones. You unscrew the large cap like a canteen top and the actual crown (which is much smaller) is inside of it. The idea was to improve water resistance, but it is mostly a vestigial style element as this watch is water resistant to 100 meters.

Ballast Valiant BL-3105 Skeleton Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Ballast Valiant BL-3105 Skeleton Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

If there is anything I really appreciate, it is the crispness of the dial and decent level of legibility. The hour markers are lumed and easy to see, while the hands are legible enough (despite being too short). Actually, Ballast would have makes the hands longer but it would have required them to further increase the thickness of the case. At 47.2mm wide the watch is large, but in a way that fits with a lot of modern fashion sport watches. While this particular model is a steel case with a rose gold PVD coating, there are also brushed steel or black variants.

Ballast makes a range of Valiant models with both quartz and mechanical movements. I would suggest sticking with the mechanical models as the quartz dials aren’t as impressive (though they do offer an additional timezone). In my opinion if you are going to go with a fashion watch it should look good–and for the money this Valiant model is fun and interesting.

Ballast Valiant BL-3105 Skeleton Automatic Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

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  • Ulysses31

    It’s not bad looking.  Very much Hublot-inspired.  Does that make Hublot another fashion brand, but one with obscene prices?  The crown (once revealed) looks exactly like the valve you find in a tap.  The crystal sounds like a good one.  Seiko used to supply something similar, called “Sapphlex” which was a layer of sapphire on a mineral crystal, so it was more durable than pure sapphire while retaining the scratch resistance.

  • LapYoda

    “And if there is anything I can do for them it is to prevent them from buying a Stauer or Stuhrling watch.”
    Uh-oh, now you’ve done it.  You’ve gone and angered the Stauer people.  I can just imagine the advertisement now, coming soon to your local in-flight magazine:
    “It’s the Stauer BS, the watch the fat cats at the watch blogs don’t want you to know about!  It’ll make you look like you wear a fancy $10,000 Swiss timepiece, but only YOU’LL know how little you spent.  Fabricated from the highest quality tin, with a movement that contains parts and some jewels, and which was manufactured with the latest in Swiss-inspired machinery costing millions of pesos, it’s the watch that will let you stick it to those elitist watch bloggers.  For only $179!”
    Be prepared, Ariel.  The Stauer storm is coming.

  • The only thing worse than rose gold is fake rose gold. This would be 10x better in just plain ole steel.

  • Oelholm

    Apart from the silly crown guard, this is a very good effort! I actually expected to read about some, to me, unknown high-end brand when I saw the photo on the main page.

  • Ryan B

    Ulysses31 kinda like Invicta’s Flame Fusion I think

  • Ryan B

    Look at my crown, it also has a watch on it.

  • nealdives

    Nice looking watch for the price. So is the movement Japanese or Swiss? On the video you say kind of Swiss Chinese but on the review you say Japanese.

  • stoli89

    Ryan B Ulysses31  Flame Fusion is a generic term coming from what is technically known as the Verneuil Process.  This process is the basis for creating jewels like man-made ruby and sapphire.  “Flame Fusion” & “Krysterna” are marketing variations of the same theme.  Sapphire glass is created using the Verneuil Process…also know as flame fusion process.  Boules are created with this process and then isostatically pressed and formed.  Not sure what the Mor hardness difference of Sapphire Glass (9) vs. Krysterna or “Flame Fusion”, but I imagine the difference is limited.  Clarity, haze…another matter.