Being an independent watch brand is no easy feat. Taking on the Swiss juggernauts in a time when the market is saturated with different watches and having the odds stacked against you is something most would run away from. I mean, it is clear- just look at the number of independent brands over the years that have come and gone, who just couldn’t make it and either sold out to a bigger brand or just vanish completely.
That being said, if there was a shining light, a name that has defied the odds, through truly original thinking and an unwavering desire for quality, it would have to be MING.
Established in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Ming Thein founded his eponymous brand with the intention to create a watch that satiated his obsessive desire for perfection while maintaining a price point that was fair and accessible. Being associated with the watch industry for many years through both his passion and his profession as a commercial photographer, he managed to build up a vast knowledge on watchmaking and design, culminating with the release of the 17.01 in 2017.
The 17.03 was released in 2018 following the 17.01 and features a useful GMT function that is adjustable through the first position of the crown. Easy and quick to use, it is exactly what a travel watch should be.
While all Ming’s are hugely collectible today, this 17.03 is particularly special as it was produced in a limited edition of 25 pieces to celebrate the anniversary of the brand. Named the ‘Ultra Blue’ for obvious reasons, each case was individually heat blued in-house by the brand’s founder, Ming Thein.
As a result, the case is beautifully enigmatic, throwing off tones of purple, cyan, and a multitude of other blues, depending on the lighting.
Moving on, the dial is a three part construction that includes the central sunburst pattern with its GMT indicator, an outer peripheral ring with concentric rings, and the now-famous sapphire donut rings that are filled with luminova and display the numerals atop it all.
The heat blued case and that beautiful deep blue dial combine perfectly to create a very special and unique watch. It is a fitting tribute to a young brand that has become incredibly popular and continues to grow.