Monochrome Watches
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The MING 17.03 GMT – The Third Instalment In The MING Watch Series (Live Pics)

The accessible proposition by MING Watch, still nicely designed, now with GMT function

| By Tom Mulraney | 4 min read |
MING 17.03 GMT

Just over six months ago now, we introduced you to an interesting new brand and its striking first timepiece: the MING 17.01. These watches were, to put it mildly, very well received. In fact, both versions of the 17.01 sold out almost immediately. This initial collection was followed a few months later by the MING 19.01, equipped with an exclusive movement from Schwarz Etienne. In what seems like an impossibly short amount of time, the brand today unveils another new model, the MING 17.03, which is available to order immediately. As always, MONOCHROME has all the details.

MING 17.03 GMT

The MING Watch series

If this is your first time coming across the brand, allow me to provide some brief background information (more here). MING Watches is the brainchild of well-known, Malaysian-based watch photographer, Ming Thein, who created the company in collaboration with five other watch enthusiasts from around the world. Ming designed the watches himself from scratch, which is why they have such a unique and distinct aesthetic. This is one of those watches where you really love it, or you really hate it, there doesn’t seem to be any in-between.

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The two first watches created by MING, the 17.01 (left) and the 19.01 (right)

Personally, I loved the 17.01 and am genuinely sorry I missed out on adding one to my collection (particularly given the USD 900 price tag.) It seems like a lot of other people felt the same way, and so I am sure they, like me, have all been looking forward to the next addition to the MING 17 series. Fortunately, we have not had to wait long.

The new MING 17.03 GMT

MING 17.03 GMT

At first glance, the new MING 17.03 looks deceptively similar to the original MING 17.01, which is a good thing. Three-part textured and sapphire dials with ‘floating’ numerals (more on those in a second); flared lugs; gorgeous symmetry and a strong focus on case size proportions. They’ve also introduced two new dial colours; radial-brushed black or textured burgundy. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll start to notice a lot of little differences and some rather major ones.

MING 17.03 GMT

The two most obvious ones visually are firstly that the aforementioned floating numerals for the hours have been replaced by floating baton markers for the most part, with the exception of 0 (12 o’clock), 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. To be honest I’m not quite sure how I feel about this because I thought the quirky numerals gave the 17.01 a lot of character. That said, it does make sense when considered in conjunction with the second major change, which is the addition of 24-hour disc at the centre of the dial, with the hour indicated by a luminous star. Keeping the floating numerals for all hour indices probably would have resulted in a very busy looking dial, and MING is all about keeping it clean and user-friendly.

MING has also made several less apparent tweaks based on learnings from the 17.01, including putting a thicker filling of Super-LumiNova C1 into the hands and dial markings to maximise legibility in low-light conditions, applying five-layers of antireflective coating to both sides of the sapphire crystal and slightly altering the shape and length of the lugs.

This last change is actually quite noticeable when you look at the watch in comparison to the 17.01. It wasn’t done purely for aesthetic reasons, however. The new lug design also allows for the introduction of a quick release titanium bracelet with straight pins. You can still use the same quick release straps with curved pins, first seen on the 17.01, and, perhaps best of all, the 17.03 can now accommodate aftermarket straight-end 20mm straps using a secondary pair of pin-holes. Might we suggest a nice, hand-crafted alligator leather number from the MONOCHROME shop?

MING 17.03 GMT

Interestingly, MING has decided to manufacture the case and articulated bracelet of the 17.03 from Grade 2 Titanium instead of Grade 5, like the 17.01. Due to the nature of this alloy, the metal can only be brushed (and not polished), giving the new GMT model a more tool-ish look and a darker tone. It still measures a very well-proportioned 38mm x 9.8mm thick and retains the same rigid case construction without spacer rings, offering a respectable water resistance of 100m. According to team MING, on a properly adjusted bracelet, the 17.03 is “one of the most comfortable watches they’ve ever worn.” Take from that what you will.

MING 17.03 GMT

Inside is the Swiss made Sellita SW330-1 top grade, an automatic mechanical movement oscillating at 28,800 v/ph and offering a max power reserve of 42 hours. In addition to displaying the time, it offers a secondary time-zone display on the 24-hour ring. Whilst arguably not a pure GMT, it does allow for the secondary time-zone (home time) to be adjusted independently once the local time has been set.

MING 17.03 GMT

Available to purchase immediately, the new MING 17.03 will retail for CHF 1,650 plus CHF 25 shipping, with deliveries beginning from late February. The delivery package includes a titanium bracelet, two nubuck straps with buckles fitted (dark chocolate/ anthracite), a travel pouch by Thirtyfour Bespoke of Kuala Lumpur, and a screwdriver for bracelet adjustment. All watches are made in Switzerland and come with a 1-year warranty against defects.

For more information on what’s available and how to order, please visit

5 responses

  1. Ugly things; looking for something good to say, well, they don’t have a date!

  2. Why would a photography be producing watches..sigh.. just stick to being a photographer and leave oem business aside

  3. Some people like Panerai Ian, and it befuddles me, as the brand pushes me away like a rotten piece of fruit. I love Ming, particularly the first model. It is so wonderfully designed, proportioned and sculpted I can only imagine the joy I would feel having it on my wrist. I love the aesthetics of this brand, and would like to see this new model with some different straps in the photos. They are doing everything right, especially the price, which makes it available to mere motals like me.

  4. Interesting but retail price is too high. There are many great options in this price range.

  5. That’s the most over-used and lazy objection to the cost of a watch. Every single price range has far too many great options, and if you sat down to consider them all, you’d go absolutely mad. All that really means is either you personally have watches higher up on your list than this one, or you can’t stomach paying more than a few hundred dollars for an independent micro-brand over a bigger name. Both are fine, but neither of those reasons mean that it’s not well thought out, well executed, and well worth the money to somebody else. Also, Ming isn’t just some watch photographer, he’s internationally recognized and is also the Chief of Strategy for Hasselblad, so he obviously appreciates the details and understands true quality, both of which are evident in these watches if you looked at it without prejudice.

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