Ballast 1903 watches has always been unique. We had the chance to review the Trafalgar a few years back and we were amazed how intricate the design and functionality were. Today we have the chance to review another model, the Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown. Will the new model exceed our expectation or be a let down?
Japan Automatic 3 Hands 8215 – Miyota
Material : Stainless Steel
Diameter : 48mm
Thickness : 16.8mm
Shape : Round
Colour : Brownsapphire-coated mineral crystal
24mm Solid Stainless Steel Bracelet with Fold Over Buckle with Safety Lock and Push Button
Water resistance : 70 ATM
Weight : 250g
Warranty : 2 Years International
The packing is immaculate. Instead of us describing it, you must watch the unboxing video.
The first thing which catches you eye straight away is the sheer size and beauty of the Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown. The watch is bold and the brown colour theme really stands out. There are many features on the dial and the bezel looks rugged. Overall, we are liking the look of the watch. Let’s see if our expectations are kept up!
Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown Unboxing
This is the best place to start the review of the Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown. The inspiration behind the dial is from the Royal Naval Submarine Service, diesel-electric submarines, during the Pacific War. The dial is big and bold, while there is not a lot a features, it still looks busy. There is a large index which suits the large casing. Simple numerals have been used, with small white batons in between to measure the minutes. Legibility of the numerals is more than fine and the numbers have also been given luminova coating for low light. We are not the greatest fan of luminova, but it is actually pretty good on the Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown. The numerals are yellow, which goes well with the brown colour accent used throughout. It gives the watch a slightly retro look and overall the dial looks good.
There is a special feature on the watch. Between the 10-12 o’clock position, a colour measure from orange to red is applied o the dial. While this is not related to any diving activities nor indicate the level of helium inside the casing from deep diving, it is mostly for aesthetic. It does add a bit more character to the dial.
Arrow hands have been used for the hour and minute, while the second hand design is a lollipop design. The body of the hands is yellow but black for the hour hand. All the arrow tips are red. The use of red on the arrow tip helps to break the yellow and brown colour accent and also makes the hand legible. Luminova has been used across all the hands. One feature which does not suit the hands is the white colour used at the base. It does not go well with the rest of the watch.
The date window is located in its normal position, however it is a bit small for this type of watch. A white background is used with black writing, however it is a little hard to read the date. A larger window will help and there is enough space for it too.
The casing is on the larger side on the Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown. It is 48mm by 16.8mm. The watch does look big on the wrist. If you have a small wrist, this may not be the watch for you. Comfort wise, the watch is very much comfortable. The crown does not press against the wrist and sits well on the wrist. The curved lugs help to press the case on the wrist so it does not stick out too much. In terms of the colour on the case, it has been slightly ionized to give it a slightly burnt colour, which we do like. Overall, the casing has been given a brushed finish.
The back casing is not an aesthetic or attractive. It has a closed casing with the Ballast 1903 logo engraved.
Moving to the crown, it is quiet large. Teeth cut design has been used around the circumference of the watch to easy usage. The crown is flat which helps with the comfort. The crown is a screw in/out and it is easy to use.
Sapphire-coated mineral crystal has been used for the lens. Glare is at its minimal and legibility is great no matter the direction or angle of the light. We are unsure if the lens are scratch proof, but this would be an ideal feature given the large lens and the price tag of this watch.
There is not a lot of features on the Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown and it is slightly disappointing. There is more than enough space to either add the model number or some sort of engraving, just to add more character to the watch.
The bezel is a great feature on the watch. It has been given a teeth cut design and it has 120 clicks. The clicks are smooth and crisp. The bezel do have luminova coated numbers which is a great feature. Red dots have been used underneath each number so carry on the red-brown colour theme and to also bring your attention numerals quickly.
The bezel only rotate anticlockwise and the numerals goes the opposite way. As the bezel only rotates anticlockwise, this is the norm to have opposite going numerals. This is because “the elapsed time can only become “longer” in case of accidental bezel motion, thus avoiding the danger of observing too short decompression stops.”
A Miyota 8215 has been used to power the Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown. This is the movement which Ballast uses for most of their watches and it is a reliable movement. There are 21 jewels inside with 21600 VPH. The reserve for the watch is around 42 hours and from what we have seen, the time accuracy is -20～＋40 sec per day. However given the price tag of the watch, we would expect a higher spec movement. A Miyota 9015 would suit the watch, given its better VPH and time accuracy.
We were given three straps for the watch. One is stainless steel, the other rubber and the final one is leather. All the straps are comfortable and wrap well around the wrist. Regarding the rubber and leather straps, there are more than enough holes if you have a small wrist. The stainless steel strap needs to be adjusted, by removing the links.
While all the straps look well on the watch, we prefer the black rubber. The contract between the black and brown colour accent makes the watch looks great. The brown stainless steel also looks good and is our second favourite. The brown leather strap is good but we feel it does not suit the watch.
Overall, all the straps are great. Each buckle has a customised ballast/submarine lock design.
Buy, Shortlist or Avoid?
As always, before we make this decision, we need to talk about the price. The RRP is $900/ £720/ €850. The price tag is definitely on the upper end of the market, but does the price suit the watch. We think the price does not suit the watch. This is because the movement can be better and there are features which can be added. Overall, it is a good watch for diving purposes, and can be used for a any day use, however the price is a bit too steep, therefore, we would shortlist the Ballast 1903 Amphion Brown. Do use NEWLABELS10 for a 15% discount on any Ballast 1903 watch.