Stainless steel is not all created equal. The vast majority of watches use what is called 316L steel, and it does its job well. Rolex, on the other hand, famously uses a “special” alloy called “Oystersteel” that they say belongs to the family known as 904L. It takes a polish better and is said to be more resistant to corrosion than 316L, but its hardness makes it more difficult to machine and it requires special processes and equipment to do so. Ball Watch Company’s new Roadmaster Icebreaker watch is one of the very few watches other than Rolex to advertise use of 904L.

The Ball Roadmaster Icebreaker is 40mm wide and comes on a full 904L steel bracelet in three dial colors and two movement options. Emphasizing its durability and use in “harsh environments,” the Icebreaker is water-resistant to 100m and the movements feature the brand’s anti-shock system called “Amortiser.” These are ETA 2897 movements based on the thin and capable 2892 movement but with a centrally mounted power reserve indicator on the dial. They offer automatic winding and around 42 hours of power reserve, and are available in the Icebreaker in regular or COSC chronometer-certified versions.

In black, white, or blue dial options, each further features perpetually glowing tritium illumination, as most Ball watches do. The new Ball Roadmaster Icebreaker 904L offers a lot of compelling features and is available at a preorder price of $1,799 without the COSC designation, or $2,049 with chronometer certification.

Gear Patrol also recommends:
Luminox Original Navy SEAL 3001 Watch ($375)
Seiko Prospex SRPB51 “Samurai” Watch ($420)
Marathon Search & Rescue Diver’s Automatic Watch ($1,420)
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