Recently, Ball announced its new AeroGMT Sled Driver, a new line within its Engineer Hydrocarbon collection. The chronometer Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver pays homage to (Ret) Major Brian Shul of the United States Air Force. After suffering severe burns from a near-fatal crash in the Cambodian jungle, Shul was told he may never fly again. However, against all odds, Shul survived. Not only did he survive, but he also recovered well enough to apply to be a pilot of super-secret spy plane SR-71 Blackbird. Nicknamed “The Sled” by some of the 92 pilots that flew it, the Blackbird required an intensive astronaut physical test as part of the application process. Shul passed with flying colours and later went on to rocket around the world at sonic speeds. A true pilot’s watch, the limited edition Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver commemorates the courage Shul had under adverse circumstances.
Specifications of the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver
Perhaps one of the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver’s standout features is its GMT function. Impressively, the models are equipped with triple timezone displays. These are displayed through the GMT hand on the dial, the main display on the dial itself, and the 24-hour rotating bezel. For the avid traveller, this is certainly an ideal set-up. The GMT hand could be used to display the wearer’s home timezone, the main display the current timezone, and the bezel the destination timezone.
The models don’t just commemorate resilience in the face of adversity but are built to do the same. In classic Ball fashion, the Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver models also boast outstanding durability. All watches in the collection are shock resistant to 7,500Gs and anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m. Moreover, they are also water resistant up to 100m. Completing the robustness of the models is Ball’s in-house patented crown protection system. Designed with the adventurer in mind, the Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver is the perfect travelling companion.
Dial and Case
Each model in the collection has a stainless steel case with a titanium case back. The Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver comes in three different bezel colourways, in either 40mm or 42mm. These include blue and black (DG2018C-S17C-BK / DG2018C-P17C-BK), blue and red (DG2018C-S18C-BK / DG2118C-S18C-BK), as well as green and black (DG2018C-S19C-BK / DG2118C-S19C-BK). The bezels are sapphire coated for scratch resistance and are bidirectional.
All models feature a black dial with a date display at 3 o’clock. Adorning the dial are four hands, all of which have luminescent detailing. The black hour and minute hands have a chunky tapered appearance and are finished with a white tip. Meanwhile, the sweep seconds hand is slim with a rectangular detail at its tip. Distinguishable by its accent colour, the GMT hand has an arrow tip. To differentiate between the seconds and GMT hands in low light conditions, the GMT hand features a luminescent tip that glows green. The mixture of Arabic numeral and baton indices also glow in different colours for clarity. Protecting this design is an anti-reflective sapphire crystal.
Another special feature of the dial is the plane emblem that replaces the 6 o’clock hour marker. This details the SR-71 Blackbird to commemorate Shul’s great feat of becoming a “Sled Driver”.
Movement and Finishing Touches
Behind the dial, an automatic BALL RR1201-C movement powers the watch. This is a chronometer movement that has been officially certified by the COSC, attesting to the model’s reliability.
Finishing the design is a tapered stainless steel bracelet, which is fastened with the brand’s patented folding buckle and extension system. Instead of the bracelet, some 42mm models come with a black rubber strap instead (DG2018C-P17C-BK).
Overall, the Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver is an excellent expansion to Ball’s already excellent portfolio of durable watches. But which model will you be opting for? Let us know below.