This month, Ball Watch Company is introducing their latest model and offering an exclusive pre-order price for watch fans to take advantage of. The Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU is the newest addition to Ball’s Hydrocarbon line-up and a watch that was developed with direct input from the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six – hence, the name DEVGRU. Like many of Ball’s previous developments, you can expect robust construction, a tritium gas micro tube light show, and a sporty design you can take anywhere. But, what makes the Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU so special is the new patented case and movement technology that allows the watch to withstand a 10 meter free fall without damage.
For years, Ball’s SpringLOCK system technology has served to protect their watches from immense force. In the Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU, the system has been redesigned and paired with a new SpringSEAL for enhanced accuracy and an elastomer ring to protect the movement. More specifically, the SpringSEAL is actually meant to guard the regulator assembly so it doesn’t shift upon impact and in turn, this prevents the need to re-regulate the movement after a fall. This works together with the elastomer ring – which comes in grey or red – that isolates and secures the entire movement from impact.
Compared to many of the other models in the collection, the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU is slightly more restrained in terms of design. The stainless steel case measures 42mm wide, offers 100m of water resistance, and features an AR-coated sapphire crystal. Because of the new technology Ball has implemented here, the watch is shock-resistant to 50,000 Gs and anti-magnetic to 4,800A/m. It’s also worth taking a look at the crown, which was also redesigned to further enhance the watch’s protective features.
The crown assembly extends far beyond the case and features a fold-over mechanism that protects the crown from impact. Because some of the worst falls a watch can experience typically result in extreme damage to the crown, Ball wanted to put a system in place to protect it much like the elastomer ring for the movement. The lines are clean and the mechanism functions smoothly for quick access to the time-setting options.
The dial of the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU comes in either black or blue and is also extremely legible. In a way, it’s more minimal than some of Ball’s other offerings with a basic time-only display and a framed day-date window at 3 o’clock. 14 tritium gas micro tubes can be found throughout the hands and markers and provide low-light visibility for around 25 years without the need for external light charging. It’s a Ball signature in many ways and speaks to the practicality of the watch as well as the overall purpose-built design.
The movement is Ball’s RR1102-SL caliber, which is in fact a ETA 2836-2. This makes servicing easy and the wearer can feel safe in knowing that it is a reliable movement that will provide care-free and accurate operation for years. Plus, the added protection of the SpringSEAL and the SpringLOCK systems make it a solid option for a long lasting sports watch.
As promised, I’m finally placing these watches together for your enjoyment. A few disclaimers: this is not an ideal matchup. The Omega and Ball Watches New Orleans Replica are all offered in similar sizes and dial colors, but these specific examples are not perfectly aligned. Still, the overall stylistic and quality points can be determined from the photographs. So what can you get for approximately twice the price?The resemblance is instantly evident. While the Ball has chosen to utilize broader-spaced lines, each has chosen the vertical stripes (teak dial). Even their hour mark are quite similar.The gap in lume is very apparent even in day light. The Omega’s blue lume is a clean white, where the tritium tubes have a faint green appearance to them. I believe they both look great.No doubt partly attributable to the Omega’s gray dial (versus the black one from the Ball), the glare resistance is noticeably better on the Omega.The hands and mark are both well done, but also the Omega’s are substantially more complex. Do note, but the large level of gloss used on the interior of the Ball’s day/date display.The various choices of day windows are going to be extremely divisive. Personally, I really like the angular appearance of the Omega, but I will admit, the display is much more readable on the Ball, mostly because of its high contrast appearance. Furthermore, you receive an excess complication with all the Ball.There are a couple of places that I think will be incontrovertible. First, the Omega features a far prettier movement. It also features a much longer power reserve, although they share the same 5 position adjustment and COSC rating. Additional the ETA-based Ball really has a slightly smoother sweep hand than the Omega.Here is the Aqua Terra and the Red Label side by side, immediately after the Omega was exposed to a bright light.
The Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU can be ordered in a plain stainless steel case or stainless steel with titanium carbide coating. These options paired with the choice of dial colors, elastomer ring colors, and a rubber strap or tapered stainless steel bracelet offer plenty of visual combinations to choose from. Currently, Ball is also offering complimentary engraving and serial number selection. The pre-order pricing for the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU is $1,199 for stainless steel and $1,349 for stainless steel with titanium carbide coating. The watch will also be limited to 1,000 pieces and the special pre-order will end on October 31st, 2017. ballwatch.com
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