An Introduction To Ming WatchesWritten by Leong Wong
The homegrown brand is flying Malaysia’s flag high.
If you haven't heard of Malaysian watch brand called Ming, well, it is high time you did. At the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2019 (the Oscars of the watch industry, if you will), it took home the ‘Horological Revelation’ prize for its 17.06 Copper (above), a timepiece with a striking etched copper dial that’s hand-coated in Super-LumiNova. The award recognises a creation by a young company that is less than 10 years old since its first model was commercialised.
The people behind it are Ming Thein (above) as the leader of the pack and his equally watch-mad partners, who started the brand in 2016. “Discussions began in 2014 as to whether we would go into the business at all, and what form that should take. We considered everything,” he recalls. Eventually, the men decided to take the plunge and the brand delivered its first watch, Ming 17.01s, in August 2017.
Ming Thein’s interest in watches started some 20 years ago, during the a period of modern horological history that saw renewed interest in mechanical watches. As an observer, he started to feel some things could be done differently or improved upon, which led him to start dreaming of creating his own watch. What started as an experiment in 2002 later evolved and became the 17.01 series.
Over the last three years, Ming has launched three watch series with distinct cases that have modern, yet classic and simple elements, curved and modular lines, and rather idiosyncratic lugs. “Time itself is cyclical—it flows, it’s ephemeral and it is both simple and complex,” Ming Thein muses. “This is reflected in radial symmetry, smooth lines, transparency and layering, hinting at complexity underneath in the form of partially revealed mechanics—either through the use of gradient sapphire or partially skeletonised dial.”
Ming Thein admits every day is a challenge, with lots of moving pieces, from production and logistics to customs, marketing and client relations. But the biggest challenge, according to him, is convincing the market they are a bona fide watch company, even though they are an Asian brand made in Switzerland and sold exclusively online.
After its momentous win in 2019, there are three major releases planned for 2020. Ming Thein lets on that these will be a new flagship, an ultra-thin model and a diver. “They will all take on the second-generation design language, which provides us with a unified collection for the first time.”
Read the full story in the March issue of CROWN Malaysia.
Editor, CROWN Malaysia
A familiar face in Malaysia's horological publishing scene, Leong has been involved in lifestyle journalism since the mid-1990s. Besides watches, he takes a keen interest in cars and men's fashion.