The BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT
After a long wait, the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT has finally hit U.S. authorized dealers. This watch follows the "Classic GMT" of the mid 2000s and the Magnate GMT which is still in production after being introduced about four years ago as the third "four hand" GMT watch in the Hydrocarbon collection. While the Magnate featured a fixed bezel with a 24-hour scale, the AeroGMT features a functional bi-directional bezel. While the black lume of the Magnate GMT was probably BALL's faintest sun-charged lume, the night display of the AeroGMT is its strength and results from being BALL's first watch with micro gas (tritium) tubes under an external bezel.
So how good is the lume? The answer depends on one's criteria for what makes good lume. If the best lume is defined as the BALL watch with the largest and easiest to read tubes, then the AeroGMT will not score very highly. Instead of the large flat tubes of the Engineer Master II Green Beret, Marvelight, and Aviator, it features hours markers with small round tubes. However, if the criteria for best lume is the most colorful, intricate, and aesthetically pleasing night display, then the AeroGMT scores at or near the top of the scale. Its four color lume palette is as close as we've seen to "rainbow" lume. The watch features orange tritium hour indices, orange hour and minute hands, a green 24-hour scale on the bezel with a matching green tip on the GMT hand, blue Super Luminova on the dial interior, and double red tritium tubes at the 12 o'clock marker.
From a size perspective, the watch has similar specifications to the latest generation of Hydrocarbon watches such as the Ceramic, Black, and Airborne. Like these models, the AeroGMT is just under 14mm thick and has a diameter of 42mm. While not a dramatic change, it does look like the bezel is slightly thinner on the production version than on the prototype shown at Baselworld. Furthermore, the bezel font size has been reduced slightly which gives the bezel more open space. These two welcomed changes make the bezel much less overwhelming than on the prototype.
Mechanically, the watch is the same as the Magnate GMT. It is a chronometer grade movement, but does not feature the "quick hour" setting that allows you to change time zones without hacking the watch. The bezel is the same 120-click bezel that would be found on a traditional BALL Hydrocarbon dive watch with a sixty-minute counter.
Below are additional photos of the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT which retails for $3,199 on rubber and $3,399 on a metal bracelet.
A wrist shot of the prototype BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT at Baselworld.
A wrist shot in Burlingame showcasing the slightly reduced font and thinner bezel.
The pilot style hands of the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT.
The 12-hour chapter ring of the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT.
The 24-hour "arrow" hand on the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT.
a close up of the bezel of the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT
The sapphire bidirectional bezel which contains tritium tubes. An innovation for a BALL watch.
The signature crown protection system on the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT.
The case back of the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT.
The "rainbow" lume signature of the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT.
The BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT at just under 14mm thick is considerably thinner than the 16.1mm BALL Spacemaster X-Lume series of watches.The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.