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Hi everyone,

Apologies in advance for posting this question, but I searched high and low and couldn't find the answer to my specific question!

Basically I've long been a fan of watches, but as yet have been unable to afford to treat myself to any "proper" time pieces. However, with my wedding day fast approaching as a surprise (and to make up for the crazy amount of money being spent on her!) my soon-to-be-wife has been saving up and has told em to choose a "wedding watch" of my choice. Now, for the budget I have to spend I am going to buy a Fireman II, which despite being the entry level of the BALL family seems to be well regarded and I'm sure will do me proud for years of service.

Now, my question is this:

Here in the UK the retail price for the Fireman II on a bracelet style strap is higher than the leather strap version. In an ideal world there would be the option to buy the watch with both straps because whilst I'm usually more of a leather-strap guy, I like the idea of having a metal bracelet too. So, whislt i've not been able to find any specific shops that sell replacement bands and bracelets, would it be most advisable (and economical) to purchase the bracelet version or the leather band version?

I'm guessing it is much easier to buy a nice aftermarket but non-official leather band than it would be to source an official BALL bracelet?

Sorry for the long post buy as this is my first proper watch and a wedding present I want iot to be absolutely right.

Kind regards

James
 

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I'd say go with your heart for your wedding.
 

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If you feel you want the bracelet then it is best to buy it up front. On the bracelet it is more dressy, on the strap more sporty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, that sounds sensible. Can anyone recommend a good place to buy either proper BALL leather bands or high quality alternatives? I understand that the Fireman II requires a 21mm strap width?
 

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OK, that sounds sensible. Can anyone recommend a good place to buy either proper BALL leather bands or high quality alternatives? I understand that the Fireman II requires a 21mm strap width?
Your Ball AD should be able to source OEM bracelets, straps and buckles for you. Have you asked?

Also, others can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Ball bracelets can be purchased later for a fairly reasonable cost. Cheap enough that it doesn't make a huge difference which way you go when you buy the watch. Just get the one you like.

Good luck!
 

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Respectfully this is a no brainer. Buy it on the bracelet then either add an OEM strap down the road (it'll work out cheaper that way) or one of the profligate aftermarket options. It is just about always less expensive to buy on a bracelet than on the equivalent strap option, Either way just buy it. For my money the Fireman II is hands down, easily, one of the best value Swiss autos to be had in todays inflated market. Again just my 10c.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi everyone,

Thanks for the excellent advice - I'll definitely go for the bracelet option - everyone's opinion reflects my original (admittedly uneducated) guess. However, a lot of people have pointed me in the direction for buying some lovely leather straps, with Hirsch and the Dimodell Chronomismo catching my eye. However, I've not been able to find anywhere that sells official BALL deployants - something which I love to have on leather watch bands. Can anyone point me in the right direction to get a feel for availability and cost, as well as any advice on compatibility with aftermarket leather bands?

As another aside it is extremely refreshing to join an internet forum and not be given a hard time for not searching / using the wrong terminology and generally being a beginner so thank you all for you excellent advice and patience.

Cheers
James
 

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Ball has some really nice deployants- ask the same AD from whom you purchase the watch to order one for you for about $80 I believe- and I agree it's much less expensive to get the watch on the bracelet, as the bracelet goes for around $225 if sold separately. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ball has some really nice deployants- ask the same AD from whom you purchase the watch to order one for you for about $80 I believe- and I agree it's much less expensive to get the watch on the bracelet, as the bracelet goes for around $225 if sold separately. Good luck!
Sorry to sound dumb but what does "AD" stand for? I understand you mean the retailer that I buy the watch from, but i just wondered what "AD" actually means?

Oh, and thanks for your time and the great answer!

James
 

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As far as i know the Ball deployants are for 20mm straps either straight (The diver version) or tapered (About 18mm on the TM version). The standard 21mm Fireman strap is just a hair under 20mm with the taper. So the diver version may be the only one unless there is an older model I'm missing?
 

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Congratulations on your wedding James! A Ball watch will be an excellent gift to remember the occasion. For what it's worth, I have a limited edition Engineer Hydrocarbon and I also have a Fireman II on a bracelet. While the EHC is a very special watch for me, I really love my Fireman II - and the bracelet. The Fireman is my everyday watch and the EHC comes out on special occasions.

The Fireman bracelet works for casual dress and it looks great with a sport coat too. Very versatile. The Ball Fireman II strap is definitely more casual. Fun, but a bit more limiting with regard to wardrobe.

I say go with the bracelet and pick up the strap later. That's what I did with mine. I ordered my OEM strap from an AD. I'll also get other straps for it down the line, I am sure.

Welcome to WUS and please do stop in from time to time. This really is a great place to hang out and talk watches. Be sure to post a wedding shot with your, your bride and your watch for us!!!
 

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for the excellent advice - I'll definitely go for the bracelet option - everyone's opinion reflects my original (admittedly uneducated) guess. However, a lot of people have pointed me in the direction for buying some lovely leather straps, with Hirsch and the Dimodell Chronomismo catching my eye. However, I've not been able to find anywhere that sells official BALL deployants - something which I love to have on leather watch bands. Can anyone point me in the right direction to get a feel for availability and cost, as well as any advice on compatibility with aftermarket leather bands?

As another aside it is extremely refreshing to join an internet forum and not be given a hard time for not searching / using the wrong terminology and generally being a beginner so thank you all for you excellent advice and patience.

Cheers
James
Hi James,
Congrats on your wedding. Just a quick pointer on aftermarket straps; your Ball is a 21 mm lug width and most aftermarkets are 20 or 22mm, so your choices for an exact fit are somewhat limited. You may find you need to get a 22mm then do a little bit of DIY tapering.

Regards to Hirsch and DiModell both are great brands and would recommend the rally styles, they are in the same vein to the Fireman OEM. On a personal note i find the Chronissimo quite "chunky" and more fitted for pilot watches. Hope this helps :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Again, thanks to everyone for the excellent advice. I am hoping to buy the watch this week, and i am indeed going for the bracelet version as mentioned earlier in the thread. I had noticed that most of the aftermarket leather bands seem to be 22mm - is the best course of action to just shave a tiny sliver off the band with a very sharp blade? I might buy a cheaper leather band to start with as a bit of a practice run - I don;t fancy trimming an expensive Hirsch band and getting it wrong!!!

I'll definitely post up a picture of the watch "in action" on my wedding day - I'll want an image to commemorate the occasion and remember the wonderful gift from my soon-to-be-wife anyway!!!

Thanks

James
 

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One thing I noticed on the US price list there is no price for the Fireman with a bracelet. In a lot of ways that probably does not mean anything. You may want to check that there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just to bring this to an end, I ordered a Fireman II on a bracelet from my "AD" today and am collecting it tomorrow! I also ordered a Di-Modello "Rallye" black leather band w/silver buckle, so I hope to post some images up soon!!!

One question that no one seems to have answered though - what is the best way to fit the 22mm band - shall i just shave a couple of slivers off it with a very sharp knife?

Thanks

James
 

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One question that no one seems to have answered though - what is the best way to fit the 22mm band - shall i just shave a couple of slivers off it with a very sharp knife?
It's only 0.5mm too large on each side, so you might be able to just compress the band slightly and fit it on with no modification. It depends on how soft the band material is, and it would be a tight fit, but I've heard several people say this was possible with some straps.
 

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I had a Fireman I, and used 22mm staps from Panatime. They looked and worked great!
 
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