Watch Review: Ballast Trafalgar


Company: Ballast


Model: Trafalgar


46.5mm diameter x 14.5mm high (lug tips to crystal zenith)
22mm lug width
Miyota 8215 21 Jewel movement with 21,600bph
Power reserve of over 50 hours when wound fully
Flat mineral with hardness coating
150g (with strap)

From Ballast Website:


The Motto of the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service remarks upon the clandestine nature of the submarines movement under the waves.

For the hundred years of service, the Submarines and submariners of the Royal Navy have evolved from being regarded as renegades “underhanded, unfair, and damned un-English” to being regarded as a crucial part of the countrys Naval Defense.

Today I will be looking at the unique Trafalgar from Ballast. It’s quite a striking piece. The case is pretty awesome from first glance. It reminds me of the U-Boat style watches. The first thing that really caught my eye is the canteen style crown lock. This canteen is made up of 10 individual pieces. Not only is it very easy to grip and unscrew/screw but it’s design is beautiful. I love the machined gear style edges and the textured engraved top of the crown cover. The combination of stainless steel, IP rose gold and black on the canteen looks fantastic. It also matches the case nicely. The majority of the case though is brushed 316L stainless steel.


Unscrewing the canteen allows you to see a odd little button. My first instinct was to turn it. But instead of turning it you press it. Pressing it once pops up another odd little button. Then comes what makes the Trafalgar an unique oddity, if you rotate the bezel, you can adjust the date. Yes, it’s true. Ballast’s patented bezel mechanism allows you to adjust the date, time and even wind the Trafalgar. It’s actually really cool and different. Not something I have ever experienced before on a watch. So to recap, press the button under the canteen once to adjust the date, push the button twice allows you to set the time. Before you screw down the canteen you must push the second button at the 3 o’clock position down flush with the side of the case.


The bezel is bidirectional rotating and it’s very easy to operate when winding the watch or setting the time/date. It’s odd saying that. The top of the bezel is IP rose gold with a brushed finish, and the sides of the bezel where you grip is black. It’s a striking contrast that looks great together. On the non crown side of the case is a little black plate that is screwed onto the case by two rose gold screws. On the plate is printed ‘Trafalgar We Come Unseen’ which of course is the motto of the Royal Navy submarines. I’m not a huge fan of plates or engraving on the non crown side of watches, but it does look really good on the Trafalgar.


The movement can be observed through the exhibition case back. I like the detail that Ballast has done here, if you look at the picture above you can see the Ballast logo is actually printed on the inside of the case back crystal. Its definitely cool, but I would have loved to see a solid case back with a vintage submarine engraved on it.



The dial on the Trafalgar is just as beautiful as the case. The large semi skeletonized hands are awesome. The dial is large, so it makes perfect sense to have appropriately sized hands to match. I commend Ballast for this well thought out design feature. The second hand is the loner that is all black with a red tip.There are some nice layers to the dial of the Trafalgar. The top layer is matte black, there’s an inner layer that is textured black. Most of the date wheel numbers are exposed and at the date window itself (located at the 3 oclock position) is a military style stenciled date window. I love the look of this date window and it quite possibly be my favorite date window to date. The other nice feature of the dial is the machine stamped inner chapter ring.


Located at the 9 o’clock position is the Ballast submarine logo. I am a fan of their logo. There are only two numbers represented on the Trafalgar’s dial 12 & 6 which are done in brushed chrome that match the hands. The other hour markers are represented by white indexes that are set below the top layer of the dial, not quite a sandwich style, but similar. The only text on the dial which is printed in white is Ballast, Automatic and 100m/330ft.


The strap is very well done on the Trafalgar. It has the look and feel of a quality custom made strap. The strap is genuine Italian buffalo hide leather with cream stitching. It’s 4mm thick and has black piping finish. Located close to the case on each side of the case are precision stitched X’s. Now as nice as this strap is, the real feature that wowed me was the thick stainless steel buckle that features a submarine on it. The buckle is so badass in design and functionally it’s nicely curved for wrist comfort.


Wrist is 7 1/2″ for reference.


The Trafalgar does wear smaller than the 46mm case size, it wears more like 44mm because of the short lugs. It’s a pretty comfortable watch to wear and has stunning presence on the wrist. There’s no denying the amount of thought that went into the case design on this watch. It looks phenomenal and is not a watch that looks like a watch that you will run into during your everyday travels. You can immediately tell when you first hold and examine the Trafalgar that there was a lot of time spent designing it. I can’t find fault with anything in terms of case design or execution besides nit picky personal preferences.

I can tell you that the case design alone would be enough to give the watch a try. Along with the unique patented bezel that allows you to wind and set the date/time. Especially at the $500 price point. The strap is also extremely well done and awesome, custom made quality. It’s an awesome looking piece and you definitely won’t run into a similar looking watch in your every day life.

Thanks for reading!image



Published by

Stephen Tuffatore

I fell in love with watches when I was a small child and I would listen to my grandfathers pocket watch ticking. It's been an obsession ever since. Dive watches are my true love. I've been actively involved in the watch universe for over 15 years, trying to contribute what I can, where I can. Spreading my knowledge , but more importantly learning new things from other WIS. Thanks for looking at my blog. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me. Follow the blog via Facebook and on Instagram

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