Maybe this is a bit of a celebration.
MING last made a GMT watch in 2018. The interest in this independent and value-oriented watch company has grown since then of course. The pandemic has caused everything from sudden demand to sudden constriction of already-short supply.
So yes, the new MING 22.01 GMT may be a bit of a celebration. It is in the very minimalist style that the fans and enthusiasts have come to expect and enjoy, but it is also bringing some new things to the watch table.
There are two offerings, one with what they say is a more modern influence and one more classical. Honestly though you may find it a bit tough to pigeonhole the new watches one way or the other.
The “Kyoto” model takes inspiration from traditional Japanese gardens. Calm, serene, everything in its place. The predominant dial color is a textured gray in the center, surrounded by a dark green outer chapter ring with the GMT markings in silver.
The “Gilt” model has a dark gold center and a dark cyan outer chapter ring, and the GMT markings are gilt. This is supposed to be the more “modern” looking watch, but it takes inspiration from early brass and gilt timepieces.
The new GMT model uses a new case and dial construction. The base metal dial is overlaid with sapphire, which creates interesting effects as light hits or disappears. The GMT markings are actually on the top of the sapphire dial, while the hour indices are on the underside. This creates a layered look that again changes with the light.
The 38mm case is a monobloc titanium that draws from the company’s previous watches and has alternating brushed and polished surfaces.
The movement is a workhorse and easily serviced automatic Sellita SW330-2. It has a black circular-grained finish and a skeletonized rotor. This is all on display thanks to the sapphire crystal caseback. Use of the GMT function is familiar, with the second position adjusting the 24 hour GMT hand in one-hour jumps and the third (full out) position hacking and adjusting all hands as needed.
Go to their website Ming.watch to understand their latest selling system. As with other small independents, demand outstrips supply.
The Kyoto dial model will be made available to the public on March 11 at 1pm GMT, a day earlier for a limited number of previous customers.
The Gilt dial model will be available to the public one week later on March 18 at 1pm GMT, again a day earlier for a limited number of previous customers.
As is the norm nowadays, deposits will be taken to secure your purchase (if you get an allotment) with the remainder to follow before delivery which is scheduled for end of 2022.
A total of 1000 pieces will be made available, with 300 for previous customers and 700 for new ones.
We have been talking with and talking about MING and the new type of small independent watchmakers for several years. Sometimes more traditional collectors don’t understand the interest because of the use of commercial movements. But what I applaud is the level of passion and quality of design that these new players bring to the market, and doing so at a level of accessibility they want means using more available movements. Also, let’s remember that commercial movements often means more ease of service and parts access.
The main thing is, these watches sell out fast. Globally. There is clearly a market, even though it may not be traditional. Though no question, many traditional enthusiasts love these watches as well.
Overall, this means that, as we love to keep saying, the watch world is actually getting bigger.