When we talk about superlative chronographs, we think about Rolex, TAG Heuer, Breitling, Omega, Zenith, etc. These are not brands, they are institutions. Institutions live on their legacy, their history, and, from times to times, their R&D. Newcomers have to make their way differently. Even if they were born in 1891 ! That’s how cruel the world of horology is : as long as you’ve not reached a certain level of awareness, you are still considered as an outsider, a newcomer – in a word, as a brand that still has everything to prove.
That’s probably the feeling that led Ball Watch along Innovation Road. It might not be the most visible brand of superlative chronographs. In fact, it’s not, that’s a fact. But one day, the brand might access to the highest level of recognition. It deserves it. Here is how, through a close look at just one of its models, the Engineer Hydrocarbon.
BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU: NEDU Driven
After presenting a chronometer certified water resistant to the extreme depth of 3,000 meters in 2011, Ball Watch has unveiled the new Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU. The “Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU)” is the unit of the United States Navy responsible for rolling out operational diving and decompression rules for the United States Armed Forces. It assesses the systems and procedures involved in surviving hyperbaric and diving environments. chronometer movement.
BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU: A shopping list of innovations
All aspects of this timepiece have been designed for its use by professional divers. Attention has in particular been paid to the rotating bezel and its ergonomic contours ensuring precise handling even when wearing diving gloves. The bezel’s unidirectional rotation avoids the dire consequences that could result from any accidental movement when counting down underwater time. Designed in chromed pure black ceramic, the bezel is therefore resistant to corrosion, scratches and ultraviolet rays. Additionally, the numerals and graduation have voluntarily been oversized to make them immediately legible.
The chronograph functions are also fully underwater operable down to this depth thanks to the water resistant design of the pushers. Moreover, a world first in watchmaking, the automatic helium release valve has been directly incorporated into the crown ! This patented Ball innovation has eradicated a potential surface liable to warp under the effects of water pressure, thereby improving the chronograph’s water resistance even further. The crown itself is fitted with a patented protection system that is used on all Engineer Hydrocarbon models.
BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU: Like a lighthouse in the night
To remain visible even in the darkness of the sea, the dial’s indexes, hands and pushers are naturally fitted with luminous micro tubes of 3H gas. This Swiss technology requires no external source of light or energy while being up to 100 times more efficient than conventional luminous paints ! Last but not least, Ball has created different colors for indexes, so that divers can make the difference in the dark between the bezel indexes, those from the hands and from the dial. Not to mention something never seen before : even the pusher have their little touch of H3 !
Another specific feature of this model are the two chamfers cut into the case flange supporting the bezel that act like “drains” to facilitate the outflow of any water that may become lodged between these components. This ingenious addition thought up by Ball Watch also helps combat any possible corrosion effect. The Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU is also protected from shocks with a force of up to 7,500Gs and magnetic fields to an intensity of 4,800A/m.
Of course, the watch is COSC certified. How much for that piece ? Around 4400 USD. Enough said !