The Ball Watch brand is rooted in their ties to American history, namely American Railroads, but this hasn’t stopped them from broadening their attention to a far wider scale. Their new colorway release of the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II is a limited variant meant to commemorate the 115th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight. The AeroGMT II is a pretty classic take on a 3-time zone GMT watch which encompasses a whole lot of everything Ball has to offer. The watches feature a curved external bezel that has green tritium gas tubes inlaid to it and Ball is asserting that this is the only watch with an outside bezel that features tritium.
Additionally, Ball has used yellow tritium tubes to highlight the hour indices, while the numerals next to them are in blue Super-LumiNova. Lastly, Ball has shoehorned even more tech into this view in the form of their special crown defense program, a reinforced buckle on the bracelet, and a COSC-certified movement which will resist magnetism up to 4,800 A/m. Ball has produced the Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II available in several different color combinations in the past, but the black and blue bezel is available only in this commemorative limited edition of 1,000 pieces.
Whew man, there is a lot with this view. I believe like Ball has a propensity to try and check all of the boxes they could without always considering how these elements will go together. The figures throughout the dial, bezel, and chapter ring on the Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II are a perfect illustration of exactly what I mean. Ball has made a watch that is capable of monitoring three different time zones at once but laid the dial out in a means which would be very confusing at first glance.
Moving away from that aspect, but I really do dig the blue and black bezel, and I really like the way they’ve apparently inset tritium into the bezel. I wonder how robust that will be more than time. Can you hazard a cracked gas tube if the bezel grabs a door jam? In addition, I believe Ball nailed it on the size coming in with a 42mm case and a 13.85mm thickness. I would guess that this is going to be a well proportioned watch on the wrist.
The Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II appears to be the next chapter in dual-color-bezel GMTs that we are seeing published this year. These watches are complicated but they also offer you a lot of functionality and value for the price. 1 thing to notice is that Ball’s pricing structure is somewhat unique. Watches are offered on pre-order to get a discount and then the watches are considerably increased once the release date hits. The AeroGMT II can be obtained for $1,970 on rubber and $2,040 on the steel bracelet, but which can see a rise to $3,020 and $3,140 respectively on the official release date.