Ball is certainly no stranger to high-performance aviation. It’s quite a road from their train days, but the same concept applies across the range – reliability and accuracy in adverse conditions. You may recall that we reviewed the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT not that long ago (you can see that here) – so why bring it up again? Well, this is a special watch built to honor one tenacious pilot. So, that’s why we’re covering the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver.
Who is the pilot? One Major Brian Shul. After being severely burned in a crash in Vietnam, he was told he would never fly again. Well, this is one pilot you don’t tell to give up. A year and 15 surgeries later, he went through physical therapy, passed all the physicals, and flew fighter jets for another 10 years. After that, he applied and became one of only 92 pilots to fly the high-altitude SR-71 Blackbird, also known as “The Sled”.
I’ve always been interested in the SR-71, once we started to learn about it more. More than just the sleek lines and speeds it could hit, it’s a demonstration of aviation engineering at the bleeding edges. Here, The Sled shows up on the dial at the 6 o’clock position, glowing in blue, with bright yellow tritium tubes (sort of) taking the place of the engines. Just above that, we’ve got Shul’s signature appearing on the dial.
Though the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver is a limited edition (of 1,990 pieces) pricing remains the same as the regular version of the AeroGMT – $3,299 on a rubber strap, or $3,499 on their quite-comfortable steel bracelet. Check it all out, and pre-order your own, over at ballwatch.ch
Tech Specs from Ball
- LIMITED EDITION: 1990
- WEIGHT: Approx. 220g
- Automatic caliber BALL RR1201-C
- Chronometer certified COSC
- SIZE (CASE): Ø 42mm, height 13.85mm
- WATER RESISTANCE: 100m/330ft
- ANTI-MAGNETISM: 4,800A/m
- MICRO GAS TUBES: 44 micro gas tubes on hour, minute, second, second time zone hands, dial and bezel for night reading capability
- Luminous three time zone indication
- Hours, minutes, sweep seconds and date
- CASE MATERIAL
- Stainless Steel
- Bidirectional rotating curved sapphire bezel with micro gas tubes for night reading capability ?br>
- Titanium case back
- CROWN: Patented crown protection design
- CRYSTAL: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
- DIAL COLOR: Black
- BRACELET: Tapered stainless steel bracelet with patented folding buckle with extension or rubber strap
- LUG WIDTH: 21mm
- LUG TO LUG: 54mm
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