Ball Engineer Master II Aviator III
Since it came on the market, the Aviator has been one of Ball's signature watches. It features a 46mm case, 22mm lug width, and one of the greatest amounts of tritium surface area on the hour markers of any Ball watch. This year at Basel, Ball unveiled a new model called the Aviator III. If the Aviator I is all about lume, then Aviator III is about the vintage feel and traditional pilot look. While the markers of the Aviator I are white, the Aviator III features a cream color inner ring and 12-hour mark triangle. The smaller tritium tubes allow for large traditional 5-minute markers. Instead of the Aviator I dark black dial, the Aviator III's has a gray hue that looks as if it has faded with time.
The strap fabric is a new look for Ball. Along with the new strap on the upcoming Pioneer, it's been one of the two straps Ball customers have enjoyed discussing most about the new novelties. When Philippe talked about them at Baselworld, he said that he hoped the straps would cause the watch to appeal to a younger customer. The Aviator III retails for $1,899 on a strap and $1,999 on bracelet. This makes the watch two hundred dollars less expensive than the Aviator I.
The Aviator (left) and new Aviator III (right).
Both models feature identical cases.
The more vintage style cream colored triangle at the twelve o'clock marker.
The cream colored inner circle of the Aviator III features smaller hour markers than the original Aviator. This treatment allows for an early vintage dial feel with arabic numbers on the five-minute markers. As with the Aviator, the date display maintains the signature red date wheel.
Another view of the hands of the Aviator III.
The Wright Flyer inspired caseback of the Ball Aviator
The fabric strap of the Aviator III.
The Aviator III's lume signature (left) uses a mixture of conventional lume and small tritium gas tubes. The original Aviator (right) also mixes the two, though there is not nearly as much traditional lume.The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.