Amongst the pantheon of great independent watchmakers that we are currently spoiled with are two of the fastest-growing brands in horology, MING and Massena Lab. With both brands enjoying plenty of success since their founding, it would only be natural that a collaboration between the two would prove to be wildly successful and an immediate hit. To no surprise, this happened in the middle of 2021 when MING and Massena Lab launched the MING x Massena Lab 17.09 with two variants limited to just 200 pieces in total, one with a honey dial with 50 pieces and the other 150 with a black dial – the one that I have here.
Featuring MING's distinctive case design, the 17.09 begins just like most other MING timepieces, with a gently domed bezel and discreet flourishes in the form of its flared pagoda lugs – a central tenant of MING's aesthetic. With a polished bezel and lug hoods, the 17.09's mid-case provides a strong contrast through contrasting satin finishing that runs parallel to the case. On the underside of the case covering the cal. 330.M1 automatic movement, we find a stainless steel caseback marked with the timepiece's individual number in the series and a honeycomb texture like that found on the dial.
Providing the 17.09 with its unique sense of self is this black honeycomb dial, the direct result of William Massena's inspiration; mid-century Rolex honeycomb dials. Featuring an intricate hexagonal guilloche pattern radiating out from the center of its dial to just below the arc traced around the dial by the edge of the minute hand, this stunning dial is quite the statement. This pattern is then surrounded by a concentrically satin-brushed chapter ring to complement the textured pattern.
With MING's signature luminescent pattern applied to its hands and on the underside of the sapphire crystal, alongside both watchmaker's branding, the 17.09 is a wonderfully balanced collaboration whereby both brands could showcase their own design strengths while simultaneously creating a watch that compliments them both at once, without overshadowing either's contribution.