It is easy for those of us who sport watches as fashion statements to forget that a number of these timepieces are originally made for professional use. From diving to racing, activity specific timekeepers have been integral to pushing the boundaries of innovation in the industry. Breitling and Bell & Ross, have long been associated with championing the skies but this week we would like to introduce another serious contender to the throne of aviation timepieces.

Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT II two-toned bezel.

Updated from the original Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT, the AeroGMT II, now available in a black and red two tone bezel, is an example of Ball’s pursuit to perfection. Designed to the specifications of a Boeing 777 pilot, AeroGMT II is the toughest in the Hydrocarbon series yet. Ball has spent 18 months in research and development to refine the curved edge of the distinctive sapphire-made external bezel from the last model. The sapphire glass is the third hardest natural substance on the Mohs scale; so you can imagine this was no easy feat.

The patented protective crown system

The crown is usually the most vulnerable part of any timepiece. Ball has applied a specially patented design consisting of 2 separate parts to safeguard the crown. An extension protrudes from the case to protect the crown from glancing blows, whereas the protective plate ensures the crown is screwed back into its original position after each adjustment. Similarly, the patented folding buckle and extension system of the AeroGMT II is heavily engineered. It can stand up to 1,400 newtons of force and its effortless comfort further secured with its butterfly clasp and a 22mm extension.

Although built for the skies, the 42mm diameter AeroGMT II is also dive-watch ISO-compliant with advanced depth ratings and visibility — water resistant to 100 meters, anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m, and shock resistant to 7,500Gs. All of this of course takes a back seat to the timepiece’s legibility and luminosity. In complete darkness the watch morphs into a whole different animal. A total of 43 tritium tubes, filled with self powered tritium gas, results in a long-lasting luminosity of 25 years without requiring a recharge from any outside light or energy source; just in case you get stuck in the dark for a while. Yellow and orange micro gas tubes adorn the 12-hour markers on the dial, whilst the the 24-hour inner index is illuminated with an icy blue Super LumiNova. Finally, the vibrant green micro gas tubes light up GMT hand.

AeroGMT II’s luminosity in darkness.

This hyper masculine, robust timepiece is powered by BALL’s caliber RR1201-C. The movement is COSC chronometer certified, has a 42-hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 bph.

Tengku Muzhaffar Petra
Watches and Culture Editor