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In 1891, about 40 miles west of Cleveland, a fast mail train collided with a passenger train. This accident later became known as the Great Kipton Train Wreck. The cause of the accident? The passenger train’s conductor’s watch had stopped functioning for a mere 4 minutes before restarting.
|Ball Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer Ice Blue Ref. NM9026C-S6CJ-IBE - 904L Steel
After that collision, renowned jeweller Webb C. Ball was appointed Chief Time Inspector to investigate the accident’s timekeeping issues. Ball then formulated a new timekeeping system for the railroad industry, revolutionising timekeeping (in the industry) and thus making train travel significantly safer for passengers and employees. The watches employees used were certified and issued by Ball, leading to the birth of the legendary company known today as Ball Watch Co.
Unveiling the newest Engineer III Marvelight, Ball has introduced their new entirely in-house movement in one of their most popular Engineer III models, the Marvelight. The Engineer III Marvelight measures 40mm in diameter and 13.15mm in height and has a 46.5mm lug-to-lug. The dimensions help the Marvelight wear superbly well on any wrist. Further, it features a screwed-in crown, making it 100m water-resistant.
|Use of 904L Stainless Steel Means Exceptional Shine|
What makes the Engineer III Marvelight unique is the use of 904L stainless steel. This steel has been used primarily by the big “R” company for decades. 904L stainless steel is unlike any other steel. Due to its extra amounts of chromium, molybdenum, nickel and copper, 904L steel features superior resistance to corrosion, rust and acids. While its unique hardness allows it to withstand extreme conditions, it requires special machinery and production processes to be shaped, which is why it is not as commonly used. Visually, 904L stainless steel has an exceptionally high polish compared to 316L steel and ages exquisitely well.
Moving on to the dial, the new Engineer III Marvelight sticks to its DNA from the earlier version. The eleven indices with “micro” gas tubes on the dial are thick, filling up the dial nicely while helping legibility when reading the time. Ten of them glow in bright green while the one at 12 glows in deep green like on its sword hands to assist in dial orientation in the dark.
|Elegant case and bracelet finishing|
This Ice Blue dial version bears a sunburst effect, mimicking the earlier Marvelight, in the same calm oceanic hue, which we feel is a nice touch. Couple this with their signature seconds hand with Ball’s “RR” symbol as a counterweight on the other end. Topping things off for the dial, the Engineer III Marvelight has a cyclops flat sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating underneath.
The Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer Ice Blue Ref. NM9026C-S6CJ-IBE is powered by the Ball calibre RR1103. It is a 25-jewel automatic movement based on the ubiquitous ETA2824-2 that boasts a 40-hour power reserve even though it beats at 28,800bph(4 Hertz). The movement is hooded by a screw-in caseback that displays Ball’s iconic emblem with essential information engraved at the periphery.
15 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second hands
The new Marvelight’s 904L steel bracelet runs alongside the show's star and is done with a nice mixture of polished and satin-brushed finishing. For the first time, the bracelet gets a nice taper from 20mm to 18mm at the clasp area, making it more wearable. It further features a double-sided locking clasp system, making the bracelet appear more streamlined when worn.
Summing things up, the Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer Ice Blue Ref. NM9026C-S6CJ-IBE is certainly for someone who appreciates fine watchmaking that packs reliability and value from a respected watch company. The use of 904L stainless steel gives the watch an exceptional glow while making it tougher and more corrosion resistant at the same time. The watch exhibits exceptional value given that it has a 28,800bph modified ETA movement. The beautiful sunburst blue dial, self-illuminating tritium tubes, and exceptional case finishing make the Marvelight high up in the value-for-money chart. We cannot find a reason to not like this watch.