It is the curse of the modern-day frequent traveler: how to keep track of not only one’s local time, but also the times back home and at the next destination. This week’s Watch to Watch, the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II, not only displays three time zones simultaneously but does so even in the darkest cockpits and cabins. Here’s what you need to know about it.
The watch’s stainless steel case is 42 mm in diameter and is topped off with a curved, bidirectional rotating sapphire bezel which features — for the first time in this collection — micro gas tubes for exceptional nighttime legibility. In all, the timepiece boasts 43 of these tubes, filled with light-emitting H3 gas whose energy is released when the H3 molecules strike the tubes’ internal surfaces. The result is continuous, long-lasting luminosity (up to 25 years without requiring a recharge from any outside light or energy source) that is also up to 100 times brighter than other luminous substances used on watch dials, such as Super-LumiNova, which also is employed here for the inner 24-hour GMT scale.
The different colors of the luminous gas tubes help to discern the three time zones readable on the dial and bezel of the Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT: yellow and orange tubes are used for the 12-hour scale; ice-blue Super-LumiNova Arabic numerals indicate a second time zone on a 24-hour scale, pointed to by a red, arrow-tipped GMT hand; and green tubes the bezel allow the wearer to read a third time zone on another 24-hour scale. Mounting the tiny gas-filled tubes into the carefully curved sapphire bezel, according to Ball, was a challenging process requiring a great deal of expertise.
The case features a patented screw-down crown and resists water pressures down to 100 meters (330 feet) and magnetism to 4,800 A/m. Inside, ticking behind a solid steel caseback engraved with a globe motif and the names of 24 world cities, is a self-winding movement, Ball Caliber RR1201-C, based on the ETA 2893.2. The movement, which has a 42-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 vph, has earned a COSC chronometer certificate.
The Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II is a limited edition of 1,000 pieces, available with either a blue or black dial and on a stainless steel bracelet (top photos), a rubber strap (above), or a NATO textile strap (below). For a limited time — until September 20, 2017 — Ball Watch is offering this timepiece online for a special pre-order price of $1,779 – $1,849. After that, its full price will range fro $2,790 to $3,090. Personalized engraving on the caseback is also available on request.
To read about another new watch from the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon family, the Navy SEALs-inspired DEVGRU watch, click here.