This is one of the most military-looking Ball watches in quite some time. It is also a new DLC-coated piece, something that Ball doesn’t release all that often. Say hello to the Engineer Hydrocarbon Black. While I like this piece a lot, it is more a conceptual remix of other Ball watches versus something totally new. New for 2013, the Engineer Hydrocarbon Black is really a sister product to the new Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster – which itself is based on the Engineer Ceramic XV. Each of these watches share the same case, but there are dial and other differences.

Unlike the more decorated look of the Spacemaster, the Black has a slightly textured matte black dial which reminisces the Engineer II DLC watch from several years ago. That former watch also had Arabic numerals made out of tritium gas tubes as well as some yellow on the dial. The Engineer Hydrocarbon Black mixes Arabic numerals with baton hour indicators, each in tritium – the hallmark illumination feature on all Ball timepieces. I further always appreciate it when Ball uses those wider fat tubes rather than the perfectly cylindrical ones.

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In black DLC, the 42mm wide steel Enginner Hydrocarbon case is as great as ever. I am thinking that the edges of the lugs could use polished beveled edges, but maybe that is just my opinion. In black, the piece has a fantastic stealthy look, and this may be the first DLC black Hydrocarbon-style case ever offered by Ball. At just over 13mm thick, it isn’t too chunky of a watch but it is water resistant to 300 meters making it a rather good diver. What I still don’t understand is how some of these models keep flopping around in their water resistance.

I’ve mentioned before how the Ceramic XV watch was water resistant to 300 meters, then the Engineer Hydrocarbon Spacemaster from 2013 was rated to 120 meters, and now this Hydrocarbon Black model is water resistant to 300 meters. They all have the same case so I really don’t understand what the deal with the new Spacemaster is. It really begs the question if Ball is just putting a lower water resistance rating on the Spacemaster to help differentiate the models more. When it comes down to it, the Engineer Hydrocarbon Black and Spacemaster are only separated by a DLC coating, different dial, and different movement.

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