Copied Original Post by Timefleas:

Since I happen to own (at the moment) the Ball Engineer II 38mm and 40mm Arabics, and the 40mm Hydrocarbon Magnate, I thought I would share them with the forum in the form of a comparison pictorial. Some of the pictures weren't great--in particular the 38mm Arabic should have been dusted a bit more thoroughly, and when it got to the lume shots, focusing could have been sharper. However, the basic similarities and contrasts are evident regardless of the poor photography, and should give some members a better idea of what each watch's strengths and weakness are. Let's start with a group portrait. The one on the left is the 38mm Arabic, the one in the middle is the 40mm Arabic and the one on the right is the 40mm Magnate. They each have distinct hand sets, so I will let those be the indicators for the watches as we view them from different angles.

Beginning with the 38mm Arabic, it has a black dial, all four main numerals (3, 6, 9, 12), day window at 3 o'clock and date window between the 4 and 5. The crystal is noticeably convex, and very shiny--I am guessing there is no anti-reflective (AR) coating on the outside.the crystal does magnify the dial, making everything, including the day and dates relatively easy to read with the naked eye. Arabic numerals indicators are at the five minute marks, as they are for all three watches. All three hands have an old fashioned look, appearing to be punched out of SS. This particular Arabic is I think the earliest version. There is no "T" marking of any kind, the crown does not screw down, and the rear case is only engraved with Ball info, and not a rail engine. It has been suggested it was produced in 2001--it does show some wear, but is a great watch. The polished SS case is 38mm wide, 13.8mm thick, and the crystal/dial is 30.5mm.

Next is the 40mm Arabic, released in the middle of 2009. It has only three main numerals (6, 9, 12) with the cyclops magnifier over the date at the 3 o'clock position. The crystal is flat except for the cyclops magnifier, and is flush with the bezel. While the dial on the 38mm was a simple flat dial, the dial on the 40mm is more intricate, with layers. There is an outer ring layer where the minutes hatch marks and numerals are (numerals in blue green), a middle ring which is both indented and ribbed, which holds the main hour markers, and the center circle which is raised slightly, and contains the Ball text information. The hour and minute hands are polished almost trapezoidal stainless steel, with the seconds hand again in a blue green hue. The crown does screw down, and there is a "T25" indicator for the tritium strength. The case, polished SS, is 40mm wide, 12.5mm thick, and the crystal/dial is 31.5mm wide.

Finally, we get to the 40mm Hydrocarbon Magnate. It has a white dial, three main hour numerals at the 6, 9 and 12 positions, and all the markings that the 40mm Arabic has, except the five minute numerals are black. The hands are a beautiful blue steel, old fashioned design, with the tips hollow triangles, perhaps this is functional for the minute hand to allow for reading the date when it is covering it at the 15 minute position. The case is significantly different than the first two watches; it is heavier, the lugs extend further, it is brushed SS with just the smooth bezel polished, and it has a screw down crown with protection housing. The top of the flat Sapphire crystal extends above the edge of the bezel by about half a mm. I understand that this crystal is also considerably thicker than those on the other two watches, and the case considerably stronger/thicker, and thus able to withstand greater shock, magnetism interference and temperature fluctuations than the other two, as one would expect from a Hydrocarbon series watch. The case is 40mm, though it seems a bit bigger because of the extended lugs (more about that later) and crown protection housing--still not at all intrusive. The thickness is 13.5mm, and the crystal/dial width is 31mm.

Now that I have introduced the three watches, I will let the pictures do most of the talking. In the following set, check the differences in the "RR" log on the tail of the second hand, and the differences in all of the hands, in general.

The next three shots of the crown-side of the watches are important. The first two watches, the Arabics, have the usual short lugs which extend straight out from the watch head--their ends are on an even plane with the rear of the case, thus there is no real contour to your arm when you wear the watch (which is true of most case/lug set ups). However, the Magnate in the third picture shows lugs that extend further, and below the plane of the rear case, thereby allowing the watch to wrap snugly around your wrist (when I get a chance I'll add wrist shots here). Also, in the first watch, the slightly convex crystal can be seen refracting light, and gives you a sense of its ability to magnify.

The next shots are of the rear of the bracelets. The first one has a Watchadoo, which is nice, but a Ball replacement is on its way. The other two are both Ball push-button releases, as opposed to their less desirable "pull apart".

Next are pictures of the rear cases--nothing special to say here, other than sorry for the lousy picture of the smooth case of the 38mm Arabic. The 2nd is the 40mm Arabic, the 3rd is Magnate.

Next are a few close ups.

A view from the side.

Up close in the center.

Another angle.

And, finally, we of course end with some lume shots. Sorry about the focus, but you get the idea. Each pretty distinct, each pretty great. And yes, however old the 38mm really is, it still shines bright!!

I am sure I left some important details out, maybe even got some things wrong, but I welcome all corrections, suggestions, and even better shots to help illustrate these three excellent watches. I won't tell you which my favorites are, but I think they are all great in their own particular ways. Enjoy!
Ball Engineer Master II Arabic 38mm, Black/White, SS
Ball Engineer Master II Aviator 44mm, Black/White
Ball Engineer Master II Aviator GMT, 44mm, White/Black SS (incoming)
Ball Fireman 43mm, Black/Yellow , (Tri-color Tritium!) 1st Gen
Ball Fireman 43mm, Black/Red, 2nd Gen

Ball Hydrocarbon Magnate, 40mm, White/Black, SS
Ball Trainmaster Louisville & Indiana LE, 41mm, White/Black (incoming)
Omega Seamaster de Ville 34mm, Black/Red Custom