Night Time Navigator: Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II

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.

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II - bracelet - front
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II – bracelet – front

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.

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT - night - front
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT – night – front

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.

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT - night - caseback
Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT – night – caseback

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.

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II - rubber - front

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.

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II - NATO - front

To read about another new watch from the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon family, the Navy SEALs-inspired DEVGRU watch, click here.



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  1. Mark Jerger

    where can i buy the AEROGMT II with blue face and black rubber band?
    thank you

  2. Chuck Reiss

    Does the Ball watch self wind with everyday wear? And can you show the clasp on the rubber watch band???

  3. Anantha Raja

    Can let me no how much is price and which shop can I get it in Malaysia

  4. Philip Lee

    I am interested to get this Aero GMT II watch. Please let me know how can I secure it. Thanks.

  5. Juan Plata

    Can not find on their site any Info for pre-orders or purchase. Browsing on mobile. Bad launch. Also, you do a lengthy write-up, but don’t include link to see specs and order. What’s that about ?

  6. Charles Patti

    Excellent piece, Mark. Can you tell me where I can purchase this watch at the introductory price? Thanks. Charles

  7. stephen j bulwin

    all my tubes went completely dead after ten years they said they still glow bull then they said they last ten years they act like five & dime store if you want too see the watch let me know

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