The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review
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  1. #1
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    The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT




    The Pilot GMT is a "Métrailler", as in a watch that's designed by Megan Metraillier, the former Jaeger-LeCoultre designer who created the 'Ball for BMW' watch collection. In interviews describing the creation of Ball for BMW, she described that collection as an attempt to intersect the worlds of Ball watches and BMW cars. By comparison, the Pilot GMT is less ambitious. Rather than creating an entire new collection, the Pilot GMT is a new model in an existing and popular part of the core Ball product line; the Engineer Master II series.

    Since the Engineer Master II series now has a new model with a new designer, it's a great opportunity to think about the collection as a whole and to try and define it. The Engineer Master II series is the sport range of Ball watches and are lighter in scale than the Engineer Hydrocarbon collection of "tool" watches. While the Hydrocarbons are unified by their extreme shock resistance, incredibly distinctive crown protectors, and temperature resistant oil, the Engineer Master II collection is a little less rugged, and with a few exceptions are themed towards diving or aviation.

    Since we became a Ball dealer in 2005, the most popular Engineer Master II watches have been the Engineer Master II Diver, Aviator series, and Skin Diver models. While the Pilot GMT has much in common with the other popular models in the series, its use of sunken tritium tubes, thinner case, and elaborate dial all provide features we haven't seen before in an Engineer Master II.

    The biggest difference between this watch and other Ball watches is the way the tritium tubes of the dial are recessed. Instead of applying the tritium tubes on the dial, and putting the hands above the tubes, the tubes are recessed into the dial. The tops of the luminous tubes of the hour markers do not extend higher than the dial. This allows the lowest hand to be extremely close to the surface of the dial. This provides two effects. First, the lume almost reminds me of sandwich-type dials used by Panerai or the new Omega 300. The recessed tritium also makes the watch's thin case possible. Even though it has an external bezel, the watch registers at 11.9mm. Not only is the watch dramatically thinner than the other external bezeled watch in the series, (the 14.3mm Skin Diver), it's also thinner than the watches in the series that do not have an external bezel, such as the Aviator, (13.3mm), Diver, (13.3mm) and DLC (13mm). Also contributing to the thin case is the display caseback. This is the first Engineer Master II model that doesn't feature a solid back and the playful caseback art that has always adorned it. In terms of diameter, the watch is also significantly larger than the Skin Diver at and comes in at 43.5mm.



    The recessed tritium tubes of the Pilot GMT.


    The GMT hand looks much closer to the dial than other Ball Watch designs.







    The thin 11.9mm case of the Pilot GMT.



    The Pilot GMT features the first display caseback for the Engineer Master II series. In addition to being attractive, it also allows for a thinner case. The highly visible movement features decorative pearlage on the bridges and rotor.

    The dial is very distinctive, both relying on the DNA of other Ball watches and providing attributes that are new. While the "globe" pattern in the center is consistent with the other Ball watches (we've seen it in the Trainmaster Worldtime watches) the surface of the dial is unique. It's an attractive texture that provides extreme contrast and makes it easy to quickly pick up the hands and recessed tubes.


    A close-up view of the entire dial of the Pilot GMT.

    Mechanically the watch features the RR1201 movement, which is an ETA 2893-2. With this movement, the local time is set in the third crown position and the date and 24 hour GMT hand are set in the second position.

    Last, but not least, is the lume. The Pilot GMT uses relatively thin tubes, and even though they are recessed, the lume appears equivalent to other T25 watches. When combined with the superluminova from the aluminum bezel and the GMT hand, the lume signature is attractive and has a distinct character.


    The lume signature of the Pilot GMT.

    Below are a few more photos of the Pilot GMT on a metal bracelet. It is also available on a crocodile band with deployant clasp. Either configuration retails for $2,499.





    The case and bracelet of the Pilot GMT.



    Another view of the textured dial of the Pilot GMT.


    Another view of the caseback of the Pilot GMT.
    Last edited by robattopper; November 20th, 2014 at 02:22.
    jjlwis1 and samanator like this.
    Rob Caplan
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    Ball Watch, Bremont and Longines moderator samanator's Avatar
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    Re: The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    Wow I did not realize this was that thin. I would like to know a little more about the aluminum insert with lume. I'm not aware of this being done anywhere else and I would like to know why aluminum and not ceramic like the Skindiver?
    Michael
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    Re: The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    Quote Originally Posted by samanator View Post
    Wow I did not realize this was that thin. I would like to know a little more about the aluminum insert with lume. I'm not aware of this being done anywhere else and I would like to know why aluminum and not ceramic like the Skindiver?
    I was surprised as well on both of the subjects that you have brought up. As to the bezel, I thought that it was ceramic until I read the specs on Ballwatch.com. I'll see if I can get some more information.
    Rob Caplan
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    Ball Watch, Bremont and Longines moderator samanator's Avatar
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    Re: The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    Taking some time to drink in the design I really like the added line to transition from the top to the side. Only the Skindiver has this in the EMII line, just not exactly the same.



    I also played with the tube set up drawing it on paper to better understand the change on the 6 and 9 to how they were done in the past. In the original set up the long tube ran fully from the top to bottom, the bottom tube (top tube on the 6) butted to the long tube and the hoop tubes were all equal lengths and butted to each other. On the new set up the long tube sits on the top(6)/bottom(9) tube. the two equal length tubes that complete the hoop now sit on the outer edge of the upper(9)/lower (6) tube. This makes the hoop larger which makes the "G" loop gap.



    Michael
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  6. #5
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    Another fabulous review--great work Rob! The pictures were some of the best ever for close up details (I really like the way you brought out the different surface textures on the dial), and the write-up right up there with best as well.

    I guess I should add, though, that the watch itself isn't very impressive--just another reiteration of what is getting to be a pretty tired design, giving it a new name, and treating it as a new watch. Others have and will cover its deficiencies I am sure, as for me, it seems like there really was enough room to include a "3" or most of it, at the 3 o'clock position, and of course a black date wheel on black dial would have been nice for a change (one of my usual suggestions), but ultimately, it does not look at all to be what I think of when I think of a "pilot" (i.e. Aviator) watch.
    Last edited by timefleas; November 22nd, 2014 at 02:05.













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    Re: The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    A real mis-mash of a watch. I'm still trying to work out what makes it a "Pilot watch"

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    Re: The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    Rob posts some of the best reviews on the web. Far better photographed and detailed than a lot of the guys that *ahem* do it for a living.

    Really like this new Ball — the design language is evident enough that there's a new vision creeping into the collection, and one doing some very cool things. Kinda wish it was 200m water resistant (making it my ultimate traveler watch), but we can't have it all and that's not really what this watch was designed for anyway.

  9. #8
    Member Dynamite Kid19's Avatar
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    This would be a 100% buy for me except for an aluminum bezel. Just seems cheap to me in 2014.

  10. #9
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    Re: The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    Great info and photos Rob! Thank you.

    While I love the GMT complication and having an adjustable bezel is just great, I find the dial awfully busy with so many disparent elements.

    I'm trying to visualize how using the bezel might improve on how the 2893-2 handles setting the two time zones when traveling.

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    Re: The Engineer Master II Pilot GMT Photo Review

    Quote Originally Posted by gtuck View Post
    I'm trying to visualize how using the bezel might improve on how the 2893-2 handles setting the two time zones when traveling.
    The 2893-2 is not a travel GMT. Quick set is on the GMT with hourly jumps. Without the rotating bezel, you would need to reset the GMT after crossing time zones. You could just rotate the bezel to correct the GMT.

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