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Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver Limited Edition Review

Welcoming another addition to their AeroGMT collection, BALL have released the Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver watch, a limited edition of 1,990 pieces designed in honour of US Air Force Brian Shul and his ground-breaking career in a SR-71 Blackbird.


The story of Brian Shul is awe-inspiring, one of bravery and determination perfectly matched by the philosophies of the BALL Watch Company. He spent much of his career as an attack pilot for the U.S Air Force when during a secret operation towards the end of the Vietnam War, he was shot down near the Cambodian border. Fortunately, he survived the impact of the crash landing in the jungle and was able to free himself from the flaming wreckage despite becoming severely burned. The Special Operations Pararescue team that extracted him by helicopter didn’t expect him to survive, and yet one year and fifteen surgeries later, Shul has surprised the world by not only fully recovering but by passing every physical requirement demanded of him to fly again. After flying fighter jets for ten years, Shul decided to apply to pilot the SR-71 Blackbird, also known as “the Sled” and the fastest jet aircraft in the world. He is now one of just a few elite pilots skilled enough to fly the famed spy plane.



In honour of Shul’s bravery and perseverance , BALL have launched the new Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver Limited Edition. The design of the watch beautifully commemorates his story with a smooth ink-black dial decorated with an image of “The Sled” at 6 o’clock and above that, a copy of Brian Shul’s signature. The case back is similarly engraved with an image of the aircraft. Befitting to the American-Swiss luxury watch brand, the rest of the design guarantees exceptional robustness, temperature resistance and accuracy destined for the cockpit of the SR-71 Blackbird.


The unforgiving intensity of Mach 3+ flight requires a timepiece of unmatched toughness. Measuring to 42 millimetres in diameter, the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver promises just that with a 100 metre water resistant rating, 4,800A/m anti-magnetic rating and a stunning bi-directional rotating bezel engineered from sapphire crystal. The 24 hour bezel is two toned, black for indicating night-time and blue for daytime, and equipped with micro gas tubes for night reading capability. In contrast to the rest of its stainless steel aesthetic, the case back of the limited edition is crafted from lightweight titanium to pay tribute to the SR-71’s titanium skin, which could withstand the extreme heat of 1,000° F.



Securing the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver Limited Edition to the wrist is a stainless steel bracelet and a patented triple folding buckle. The design of the buckle guarantees a strength capable of resisting up to 1,400 newtons of force while its unique 22mm extension system allows for an ergonomic fit when wearing thicker attire – or in the case of Brian Shul, a space suit. The case of the BALL limited edition is also stocked with a special crown protection system which covers the crown and shields it from external knocks and a layer of sapphire crystal glass treated with a coating of anti-reflective treatment.


Like other BALL watches before it, the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver is decorated with an array of micro gas tubes. Lasting up to 25 years without recharge and shining brighter than any other example of luminous coating in the industry, micro gas tubes deliver exceptional readability on all three time zone readings and on the 24-hour curved bezel below its sapphire surface. There are 44 micro gas tubes in total with some used on the image of the SR-71 Blackbird plane at 6 o’clock. Powering the three time-zone indicators and the hours, minutes, seconds and date is the automatic winding BALL RR1201-C movement which is COSC certified and promises a power reserve of 42 hours.



For more information on the BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver Limited Edition watch and to order your own, head over to the Jura Watches website here. You can also get in touch with the team on 01335 453453 or send us a message at


Specifications: BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Sled Driver Limited Edition (DG2018C-S17C-BK)

  • Case Size: 42mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel: Bidirectional, curved sapphire, 24 hour scale with micro gas tubes
  • Glass: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
  • Crown: Screw in
  • Case Back: Screw down, titanium with special engraving
  • Water Resistance: 100 metres
  • Movement: BALL RR1201-C automatic winding
  • COSC: Yes
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, sweeping seconds, date, three-time zone indicators
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Dial: Black with micro gas tube technology
  • Strap: Tapered stainless steel bracelet
  • Buckle: Folding with extension
  • RRP: £2,770
  • Limited Edition: 1,990 pieces
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