The ones following the social media of the Watch I Love have already noticed wrist shots during the testing period of a series of MING timepieces tests. As promised, I will start the review series with the MING 27.02. The hands-on review promises a complete MING experience: unboxing, hands-on and wrist-roll videos and a large image gallery.
MING Watches – 4 years old brand with 80 years of experience behind
And no, I am not talking about “bought” heritage. MING watches is a group of six watch enthusiasts from different corners of the world. The name comes from Ming Thein, a photographer, designer, business strategist and above all, a lover of watches. I personally follow Ming’s work for some years, before the MING brand was born. Together with its group of friends and teammates sums 80 years of experience in the watch related domains – from design to business, covering also watch photography and writing.
MING Watches delivered until now a very complete and complex experience. From affordable watches up to superb interpretations of classic complications, the brand offers a unique experience. Their offering reflects fully the experience and the knowledge of these industry veterans. The watches offer besides the original design an unparalleled experience (comparing with other micro-brands).
Hands-on review MING 27.02
The watch presented today is a prototype loaned by the brand for a period of approx. 1 month ( I know, I am a lucky bastard…). The watch might not represent fully the final design (implementation, colour shades and so on) and is an “on work” watch that was not covered by final tests and quality checks.
The unboxing experience
The watch comes well packed in a carton box. Inside we can find a MING rectangular box sealed with special MING stickers that are used to witness if the box was tampered with (as a guarantee that the watch box was not opened on the way between factory and client. In a canvas sack stays well protected a leather travel pouch handmade in Kuala Lumpur (by Studio Koji Sato). Please see in the video below the full unboxing.
Now we can go into details.
When well-defined lines blurry the purpose
Is MING 27.02 a dress watch? Or is it a sports piece? Well, both… The watch comes in a 38mm stainless steel case. At that diameter and with a thickness of only 6.9mm (plus time-only two hands configuration) it is categorically a dress piece.
But wait! The superb case with a now “traditional” MING shape suffered a significant mass subtraction. The caseband with a sand-blasted finish is deeply hollowed. Moreover, the lugs were skeletonised – elements that are usually properties of high-performance sports wristwatches.
The steel crown and its familiar MING design is neutral looking. This characteristic made it proper to be used to several MING watches with small variations. On this particular piece, it offers a sweet look. As usual, the setting, winding and the entire experience related to the usage of the crown is flawless.
While the top of the watch is covered by a rounded and highly polished bezel, the back is covered by a satin matt finish caseback. The caseback is fixed with six screws and bears on the generously sized sides several engravings. A sapphire crystal reveals a very interesting movement.
The MING 27.02 is fitted with a lovely strap created by Jean Rousseau Paris, an exceptional and unusual choice, especially for the watch’s price range. The strap is ended with a ‘flying blade’ stainless steel buckle. This skeletonised element continues and completes the design of the case.
Sapphire and guilloche – a rare and delightful combo
Let’s get some things straight: MING watches is, by all means, no stranger to guilloche dials, nor to sapphire dials. But combining the expertise of the gradient dials with the traditionalism of the guillochage is something where the brand did a noteworthy good job. The result is intriguing and spectacular. Although the watch is difficult to photograph, the real-world experience is definitively cool.
Depending on the light conditions, the dial metamorphoses from an almost mirror-like finish to a sublime disappearing guilloche. Just like the surface of the ocean plays with the lights on a rocky shore.
The careful choice of finishes of the MING hands and the engraved markers on the sapphire reveals the time with an unexpected legibility in almost all light conditions. In the pictures above, only a small crack of light is enough for a facile time reading. In the picture below, the wrist shot was done on a hot and sunny day, hiding in the shadow with the watch oriented towards the light.
Under direct sunlight, the watch reveals its dazzling combination of the degrade crystal with the blue shaded guilloche. The watch captures light and plays with it in an eye-catching show. Simply said – excellent legibility every time.
This legibility is possible due to the smart layering of the surfaces, the thin skeletonised hands against the darkened crystal. Moreover, the brand uses the crystal as an information carrier – engraved and filled indexes, including the name of the brand.
A classic movement brought into contemporain
How can a 50 years old movement be so actual and modern? Again, the summed expertise and knowledge lead to success. To the Peseux/ETA calibre 7001 was given a new life by the MING friends from Manufacture Schwarz-Etienne. Calibre 7001 was launched in production in 1971. Peseux was acquired by ETA in 1985. This movement was and still is used on large scale and proved its robustness in time, gaining a good reputation.
This classic movement is capable to offer cca 42 hours of power reserve using a slow 3Hz escapement. The magic that Schwarz-Etienne brought into this piece is indisputable. The plates and bridges were reworked and all the components revisited. MING is offering an exceptional bang for the buck. Only a trained eye might recognise the layout of the movement. As a witness, please see how the 7001 looks in reality versus the MING finished movement.
Hands-on video and final notes
MING 27.02 is an exceptional proposition. But I must say, now typical for the brand. We expect nothing less than well designed and built watches and MING continues with a (good) stubbornness to deliver them.
MING 27.02 offers a rare combination of dualities: a sporty set of characteristics on a dress type and size case, good legibility created by the guilloche/sapphire disk dial and an exceptional overall piece at a very attractive price.
The watch offers a versatility worthy to be considered. Regardless of Diana’s wrist (15cm/6inch) or mine (18.5cm/7.2inch), the watch looks and behaves admirably. We both find it comfortable and proper to various moments and situations.
I can only congratulate MING watches for this exceptional piece and hope that they will further continue to amaze us with delightful and original designs.
MING 27.02 Gradient guilloché Technical Specifications and Price
- Hours and minutes
- MING 7001.M1: heavily-modified ETA 7001 with new bridges and baseplate
- Black chrome-plated bridges and plates
- ~42h power reserve at full wind
- Movement adjusted to five positions
Case, dial & hands
- 38mm diameter, 6.9mm thickness
- Stainless steel 316L
- Mix of polished, brushed and blasted surfaces with ‘flying blade’ lugs
- Sapphire crystal front and rear with double-sided antireflective coating
- Gradient sapphire dial with laser etched and white-filled indices
- Blue Clous-de-Paris ring with stamped guilloché
- Rigid case without spacer rings
- 50m water resistance
- 20mm lug width
- Smooth calf blue-grey leather strap by Jean Rousseau Paris
- 20mm width, curved bars with quick release
- 70/120mm length
- Fitted with 2nd generation ‘flying blade’ stainless steel buckle
Pricing & deliveries
- CHF 4,950
- Total production limited to 200 watches
- Deliveries expected to commence in November 2021
Leather travel pouch handmade in Kuala Lumpur by Studio Koji Sato
2-year limited mechanical warranty
Made in Switzerland