Although I spent hands-on time with this Ming 27.01 final summer time, I waited to publish this till I knew one other batch of the watch was being made obtainable. Ming doesn’t want any assist in promoting these watches, and this isn’t sponsored or promoted in any means by them; my intention is to alert any of our readers who’ve been hoping to purchase a Ming 27.01 at retail. The ultimate 50 items of the 27.01 (and 75 items of the 27.02) will go on the market on January 22 and 3am GMT (which is January 21 at 7pm PST). Anybody can discover the 27.01 page here at ming.watch.
Within the brief three-and-a-half years since debuting its inaugural 17.01, Ming has achieved the type of success that virtually each start-up, microbrand, indie, no matter you need to name them, desires of from day one. Launched final yr, the 27.01 was the vanguard piece for not simply the model’s “second-generation” design language but in addition served as an entry-level ultra-thin watch from an unbiased model, regardless that it carries a value that was fourfold that of the 17.01. Nonetheless, at $four,000 (and the new 27.02. at $5,000) the piece offered out practically instantly and now trades for figures that I see approaching double retail.
“Ming” & The Indie Panorama
Earlier than moving into the 27.01, I need to share a number of ideas on Ming, in addition to the underserved marketplace for four-figure unbiased watches.
First off, it has been so refreshing to see the nineties-early aught considering of “Chinese language = low-cost” be thrown within the dustbin. Whereas the model’s title is eponymous with its Malaysian founder Ming Thein, the phrase “Ming” is clearly additionally related to the historic Chinese language Dynasty we discovered about in class. How satisfying it has been to see Ming Watches — made in Switzerland — be so embraced by the watch media, institution (GPHG), and the collector group. There’s no different approach to put it: There was an audaciousness to naming an unbiased Swiss-made watch model Ming. I really feel like this sentiment hasn’t actually been expressed, however I don’t suppose I’m the one one who feels this fashion.
Now, on the subject of indies — it’s essential to contextualize fairly how troublesome it was for a model like Ming to search out itself within the enviable place it has. I’m undecided everybody fairly appreciates what it takes to efficiently navigate the famously conservative, risk-averse, and tight-lipped world of motion manufactures, dial-makers, case makers, and many others… when your batches are a few hundred items at a time. This requires a number of completely different sorts of smarts, connections, and a good deal of excellent luck. For everybody who appears to be like at a model like Ming and shrugs with a “what’s the large deal?” I’d contemplate trying on the ratio of unbiased success tales to the elephant graveyard of useless watch manufacturers, a good variety of which simply could have simply survived if one or two issues had gone their means. It was a tough world for indie manufacturers, and that was earlier than a pandemic. The exception right here could also be these independents with a famous watchmaker on the helm, however good luck discovering these within the four-figure territory.
Due partially to this and different outdoors elements, there’s a staggering dearth of choices for fans in search of design-forward unbiased watches within the low-to-mid four-figure territory. Along with a few of the egregious Ming flips I’ve seen on the market, I consider this additionally explains the runaway pricing of the limited-edition Louis Erard collaborations with Alain Silberstein and Vianney Halter that have been initially $three,100 and $three,900, respectively, and I now see listed for about double that value. On the floor, it’s absurd however, once more, there are simply such few choices on this class that it was certain to occur. Maybe an absence of capability to peacock to strangers as a result of pandemic compelled folks to peacock on Instagram, the place the fans have outsized affect and are typically notably indie-friendly.
27.01 Case & Design
The slim metal case of the 27.01 measures 38mm-wide and simply 6.9mm-thick, with the curved “flying blade” lugs accounting for the 42.5mm lug-to-lug peak. A formidable evolution from the 17.01, the 27.01 nonetheless retained the “radial symmetry, the zero at 12, flared lugs, and the easy-to-wind crown” that Ming Thein describes as the important thing components of the model’s design philosophy. Holding the watch in a single’s hand is basically the one approach to really concurrently respect each the case ending and its slimness. With the middle of the case milled out, the curves circulation naturally on both facet, extending all through to the lugs.
The design ethos of the 27.01 (and 27.02) makes me consider Moser, with each reaching a minimalism that really has an id and a definite character. There’s not a lot on the market that might be confused with both of those manufacturers. Whereas the flying blade lug case design truly first launched within the 17.03 GMT after which the 17.06 Copper, it was actually the regular chipping away at dial components that culminated within the 27.01. The 17.01 started with hour numerals, then the 17.06 solely had even quantity numerals and a single line marker for odd numbers, and the 27.01 lastly does away with them altogether. This leaves the dial with the zero at 12 o’clock with a single line for odd-numbered hour markers and a double line for even, and model title at three o’clock. Actually, I’d wish to see the “Ming” textual content simply gone altogether for the subsequent assortment.
Having silvery white hour markers deeply etched in opposition to the brushed grey chapter ring creates a way of depth that’s virtually like a sandwich dial, which is considerably ironic if you do not forget that the 27.01 has no lume. The openworked hour and minute fingers are splendidly minimalist, and I respect the contact of the little circle on the tip of the minutes hand that glides completely over the etched observe.
The case and dial of the Ming 27.01 (50M waterproof) are meticulously finished and a testomony to how far the model has are available a number of brief years. The eye to element is all over the place — even the buckle on the strap echoes the Ming design language.
Ming 7001.M1 Motion
*Be aware that the mannequin I photographed was a prototype, so there are one or two areas with a chip or blemish*
At launch final yr, Ming Thein fairly rightfully identified that the ETA Peseux 7001 is “the solely engine actually obtainable to any model eager to launch an extremely skinny watch at an inexpensive value level.” Together with its companions at Schwartz-Etienne who completed the plates and bridges, Ming did in depth skeletonization work and black chrome ending all through. In the end, solely the gong prepare was largely left the identical, whereas all the things else was redone.
The ultimate product, the manual-wind Ming 7001.M1, is a moody affair that warrants an exhibition caseback. Too many watch manufacturers with extra sources and larger budgets than Ming don’t comply with the Rolex mannequin of simply choosing an enclosed metal case again, selecting as a substitute to point out off soulless machine-finished actions that encourage an entire lot of nothing. Right here, the black chrome-plated surfaces create a moody and distinctive motion that measures simply 2.5mm thick.
A beautiful instance of extra-thin minimalism, the Ming 27.01 is already within the rear-view with the latest launch of its comply with up 27.02. As such, this last batch will almost certainly be the ultimate manufacturing, and it solely leaves me wanting extra. Priced at three,950 CHF, the ultimate run of the Ming 27.01 will likely be obtainable January 22 at 3am GMT (January 21, 7pm PST) right here at ming.watch.