“After the conquest of the South Pole by Amundsen who, by a narrow margin of days only, was in advance of the British Expedition under Scott, there remained but one great main object of Antarctic journeying – the crossing of the South Polar continent from sea to sea” – Ernest Shackleton
In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton recruited a 28-member crew to brave the almost impossible mission to cross the Antarctic continent from one coast to the other via the South Pole. This journey had never been done before, and many volunteers wanted to be part of it.
“MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.” – Sir Ernest Shackleton
On August 1st, 1914, the Shackleton’s crew took off from London and embarked on the Endurance. Just a few days later, the British government called for general mobilization of troops and supplies along with volunteer soldiers to take part in World War I. Shackleton offered ships, stores and services to the nation but Winston Churchill refused and told Sir Shackleton to keep the expedition on.
On November 5th, the Endurance arrived at a whaling station in South Georgia, where the men stayed for about a month, due to the particularly heavy ice conditions of the Weddell Sea. Extra clothing and stores were brought from South Georgia in the event that the Endurance would get caught in the frozen water of the Weddell Sea and was forced to winter in the ice. Shackleton’s crew left South Georgia on December 5th.
When they reached the Weddell Sea, impenetrable barriers of ice made further progress extremely tiring and unpromising. The men worked hard to break the ice around the ship, but the cold temperatures would make the ice freeze again and it soon became evident that the ship was doomed. The Endurance battled through the ice and accomplished one thousand miles over a six-week period, only one hundred miles away from its destination, when on January 18th 1915, the ice completely closed around the ship. With temperatures regularly around -20°C, it had become absolutely impossible to move the Endurance, the crew was meant to set camp in this freezing part of the world.
After spending several months on the ice pack, the Endurance finally got crushed and sank below the ice on November 21st, 1915. The 28 men of the expedition were isolated hundreds of miles from land, with no ship, no means of communication and with limited supplies. It took some amazing leadership skills for Shackleton to keep the crew going. Some say that he didn’t only select his recruits for their practical skills, but also for their social abilities, which might have been part of the reasons why they survived.
Knowing that nobody would come rescue them in such isolated territory, Shackleton decided to leave with a handful of men to find help in the nearest inhabited place, some 800 miles away in South Georgia. Navigating on the James Caird, one of their lifeboats, with the help of a sextant and a chronometer of unknown accuracy, they had to cross a stormy ocean and rely on just a few appearances from the sun to reach their goal. It’s on August 30th, 1916, that the rest of the crew was finally rescued, more than 2 years after leaving London. Against all odds, all 28 men survived, after spending 137 days on Elephant Island. On March 9th, 2022, the Endurance was retrieved in the Antarctic in a brilliant state of preservation.
Trapped by the frozen sea, but not by fear, Sir Ernest Shackleton led his stranded crew for almost two antarctic years. As his leadership, courage and optimism continue to captivate explorers around the world, BALL Watch Company is proud to introduce its second series inspired by its legacy. The 41mm Engineer III Endurance 1917 GMT features BALL’s new Manufacture GMT Caliber RRM7337-C – a true GMT chronometer codeveloped with Soprod – wrapped in a 904L stainless steel case and shining with micro gas tube luminosity. Three complementary models are also available, each designed with unique features yet united by incomparable brightness and high-quality build.
Sometimes there is no escaping the darkness. On their expedition, Shackleton and his crew persevered through 17 hours of lightlessness every day. To overcome the black of night and all dark environments, the Endurance Series features micro gas tubes. The self-powered H₃ micro gas tubes provide extreme readability and trusted reliability in all pursuits. Light energy is released when the H₃ molecules strike the internal colored surface of the tubes.
While all models feature the automatic micro gas tubes on the dial and hands, the GMT model also possesses them on the 24-hour inner bezel for reading the home time in total darkness. The all-around glow extends to all four hands – even the GMT hand – and around the dial with fully illuminated hour markers. To make this GMT model even more special, a version with rainbow-colored tubes has been designed.
Fully automatic and highly accurate, the BALL Manufacture GMT Caliber RRM7337-C is an officially certified chronometer. With true GMT status, its quick-set functionality changes the local 12-hour hand by using the crown. The GMT hand is completely unaffected while the seconds hand continues to move – for an uninterrupted precision. As the 12-hour hand jumps in one-hour increments, the date wheel moves in perfect synchronization and always indicates the correct date of the local time zone. The movement and all its smart functionality are shielded by 1,000 Gauss antimagnetic protective technology.
The most fitting word to describe 904L stainless steel is “extreme”. Featuring extra amounts of chromium, molybdenum, nickel and copper, 904L steel provides superior resistance to corrosion, rust and acids, along with unique hardness that allows it to withstand unexpected conditions and extreme environments. At 41mm in diameter and just 13.15mm thick, the 904L case of the GMT model is comfortable enough for everyday wear and tough enough for adventure anywhere.
The new Endurance series is presented in four unique models. Complementing the functionality of the GMT offering, the 40mm TMT model features a patented mechanical
thermometric indication capable of accurately measuring temperature from -35°C to 45°C (-31°F and 113°F). The robust 40mm and 45mm versions round out the series with three-hand practicality. All four models are powered by COSC certified movements, protected by our patented Amortiser® anti-shock system and enhanced by cold temperature resistance oil to ensure ultimate timekeeping in sub-zero temperatures.
Today, more than ever, BALL Watch is continuing its journey and asserting its role as a key protagonist in the exploration of modern time and the evolution of watchmaking history.