Ball released an interesting new diver called the Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU. The Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU) is the branch of the American Navy that deals with the standards for operational diving and decompression rules for their divers. NEDU is actually the group responsible for establishing the decompression tables you may know from scuba training or, if you’re like me, from the rubber strap that came fitted to a Citizen Aqualand diver. These decompression tables allow a diver to know how quickly to ascend, based on the duration and depth of their dive. Use these numbers correctly and you can prevent suffering a case of the bends.
Back to the watch at hand. The NEDU is a 42mm titanium diver that features Ball’s signature H3 micro gas tubes for constant low-light illumination and is powered by a COSC certified ETA 7750 automatic chronograph movement. The 7750 offers hours, minutes, sub seconds, day and date along with a central seconds hand for the chronograph measure and a maximum resolution of 12 hours. A COSC 7750 is a rock-solid choice for a sports chronograph as the movement has proven to be reliable, capable of excellent accuracy, and generally cheap to repair or service (compared against in-house movements).
The 21 micro gas tubes, a 3.7mm anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and 600m worth of water resistance do not make the the NEDU a slim watch. With a thickness of 17.3mm, even the titanium construction of the case cannot save this watch from a large and weighty footprint. Unlikely to fit under any cuff, the included titanium and steel bracelet does sport an extension so the NEDU will fit over your wetsuit. Further features include a lumed ceramic unidirectional bezel, 7500Gs worth of shock resistance, and magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m. Perhaps most notable is that Ball has managed to integrate an automatic helium escape valve into the crown of the NEDU diver. The Hydrocarbon range sports an over-sized crown and propriety locking system, so why not use the available space for an HEV? The spring based system, believed to be a watchmaking first, is fitted into the cap of the crown and allows expanding helium molecules (accumulated during saturation diving) to leave the case of the watch without damaging any components.
The Ball Hydrocarbon Engineer NEDU will be available soon with a list price of $4,950 USD. We like Ball for their attractive designs, good build quality and because of our child-like fascination with anything that glows in the dark. While a crown-integrated HEV may not be a considerable improvement over past implementations, we like that Ball is developing new ideas and bringing them to market. The NEDU is yet another example from Ball of an unconventional design (both aesthetically and technologically) that leverages Ball’s strengths and innovative spirit. ballwatchusa.com