Ball develops new anti-shock systems for watch that hopes to keep up with US Navy SEALs.
by James Buttery
You might not have heard of DEVGRU before but you will almost certainly have heard of its nomme de guerre. SEAL Team Six, is without doubt the United States’ most recognised special forces unit.
Given the sort of scrapes the members of the Navy SEALs’ foremost unit are sure to regularly find themselves in, they require equipment robust enough to keep up with them. Serving members of SEAL Team Six have now worked with Ball Watch Company to develop a watch capable of withstanding the kind of shocks SEALs take in their stride.
After the exacting requirements were laid out by the Navy SEALs, Ball’s new independent R&D centre, Patrick’s Labs, was drafted in to develop new techniques to improve the robustness of the mechanical watch and preserve the accuracy of its movement.
A patented anti-shock feature has been added to the regulator to both stabilise the system in the event of a shock and ensure it maintains its set position. A shock-absorbing, padded seal system also allows the ETA-based automatic movement and crown – which itself is enveloped within a crown guard – to move slightly in the event of an impact. Such play will also likely explain the somewhat modest 100m water resistance rating.
Ball’s patented SpringLOCK system, which encases the balance spring in a cage which prevents the spring from deforming in the result of an impact, is also in place. In fact Ball makes almost as much of its anti-shock performance as it does about its micro gas tube illumination, with many of its pieces stated to be shock-resistant to a force of 5,000G. The brand appears to have even more faith in this watch though it is currently being tested before a figure is published.
However all of this internal protection would be for naught if the Hydrocarbon DEVGRU’s sapphire crystal shattered allowing water incursion, as such the glass has been seated slightly below the bezel of the watch’s 42mm stainless steel case, a trick also employed by Victorinox’s similarly tough quartz watch, Inox.
It’s a neat utilitarian design with a fair amount of personality thanks to its curved crown guard and striking red rehaut. Two versions will be produced at launch, with matching dial and crown in either black or blue. For our money the colourful punch of the blue and red is the more striking of the two. And of course, this being a Ball, the Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU features 59 luminous tritium micro gas tubes on both the hour and minute hands and dial markers ensuring optimum legibility.
When the Engineer Hydrocarbon DEVGRU goes on sale in October it will cost £1,940 on steel bracelet and £1,750 on rubber.