It’s a little hard to believe, but it’s been five whole years since Ming launched the 17.01, which is a watch that has become something of a cult classic in the world of small watch brands. With that release and many others, Ming helped to change what we think of as a “microbrand” in the last half decade, offering watches at what you could easily describe as a traditionally competitive price point, as well as timepieces that aspire to true haute horlogerie. Every bit as impressive as the breadth of watches they’ve made in a relatively short time period is the way that Ming has honed in on a very particular aesthetic and design language, regularly advancing it, but never actually deviating from it. The result is that if you’re around watches at all, a Ming is as easy to spot as a Speedmaster or a Royal Oak – the distinctive flared lugs and a unique hand shape used throughout the catalog easily gives them away. For their latest release, an anniversary watch that’s a riff on one of their rarest and most objectively beautiful limited editions, the brand has hewn fairly close to what we expect from them, while making small changes that really add up. In short, it’s a typical Ming release.
The headline here is the mosaic dial, a style borrowed from the 20.11 linked above. That watch used multiple layers of sapphire to create a deep mosaic effect, and the five figure price point was a reflection of the watch’s complex manufacturing process. For this new watch, the 37.07, Ming has devised a process that gives the end user a similar effect but in a much simpler way. Ming describes this as a “three layer printed mosaic” on upper and lower portions of a layer of sapphire, as well the lower brass dial. Super-LumiNova has been applied across the mosaic construction, as has a gradient effect. Ming says the result is a deeply layered luminous dial that will feel right at home alongside past Ming watches that use lume, sapphire glass, and gradient effects in similar ways. These, over time, have all become signature design elements of Ming watches that are as important to the brand as those signature lugs.
Those lugs, of course, are still present on the 37.07, and they’re mated to a stainless steel case measuring 38mm in diameter. It’s notable that Ming claims the case will actually wear larger than 38mm thanks to the very thin bezel, which was a design choice that was made to make the most of the dramatic dial. It measures 10.9mm thick and is 44.5mm lug to lug.
The movement is the Sellita made SW210.M1, a manually wound caliber with around 40 hours of power reserve. As is typical for new Ming watches, the relatively simple movement has been decorated somewhat radically, with anthracite skeletonized bridges and rhodium brushing. The movement has a decidedly modern appearance which is right in line for a watch that is so contemporary. Ming is one of the few brands that can genuinely claim that their design is not rooted in vintage watches or traditional watchmaking at all, which is something of an achievement unto itself.
Ming fans will likely be happy to learn that the 37.07 is not a limited edition, but can be ordered by anyone within one of two different purchase windows. Those ordering periods are July 29 from 2:00 AM to 2:15 AM GMT, and then later the same day from 1:00 PM to 1:15 PM GMT. If you’re able to place an order (and make a 50% deposit) during that period, you are guaranteed a watch. The catch, if you can call it one, is that you’ll have to wait. The 37.07 is expected to begin delivery in May of 2023, and Ming is careful to say in their press materials that if they have a large volume of orders watches could be delivered through the end of next year. That’s a long time to wait for any watch, let alone one that you can’t try on to get a sense of in person before committing to purchase. Ming has experimented with a variety of different release strategies over the years, and it seems like they never quite get universal approval on any of them. But short of, you know, making the watches first and then selling them, the pseudo Kickstarter model (call is souscription, if you’d rather) seems to at least be fair minded. The retail price for the 37.07 is CHF 3,250. Ming