Launched only 4 years ago, MING Watches, the brainchild of Ming Thein, a famed watch photographer, has been extremely consistent in its design ethos, yet with great creativity. With its discerning mix of minimalism and original textures, creating watches that look rather unique, the brand isn’t shy of experimenting with new ways to adorn its dials or movement. For its latest watch, a high-end model powered by a Schwarz-Etienne movement, the brand brings its entire design arsenal and even adds a technique debuted in its special project collection. Meet the larger, bolder, more complex, more textured new MING 20.11 Mosaic, the new flagship of the brand.
MING is a young brand and one that isn’t shy of trying new things, even if it’s not always a success. But before these experimentations see regular production models, they are used onboard concept watches, part of a collection named Special Projects Cave. Oddly enough, these watches, only made in very limited examples, are not kept as part of the brand’s own collection but sold through auctions or to long-term collectors and friends. An important watch from this collection, specifically for today’s topic, is the 20.01 Concept Chronograph, a watch equipped with the ultra-complex and innovative Agenhor chronograph movement, and fitted with a “Mosaic” dial, resulting from a motif lasered on the surface of a sapphire crystal.
Today, by presenting the MING 20.11 Mosaic, the brand is bringing this experimentation to serial production, in a new flagship model that goes beyond just a new dial. MING might be young, but it already owns multiple collections. First is the 17.xx series, the most accessible models of the brand – such as this one or this one. Then is the 19.xx series, comprising more high-end watches with proprietary movements by Schwarz-Etienne – such as this one or this one. There’s also the 18.xx series, which consists of sports models, like this dive watch. And recently, the brand launched the 27.xx series, with thin movements inside. And now, since the 19.xx series is discontinued, the brand is launching a new top-of-the-range collection, named 20.xx series.
Following the design language tested on the 20.01 Concept Chronograph, the new MING 20.11 Mosaic introduces a redesigned case with larger proportions, following numerous requests from collectors. As such, this new watch now measures 41.5mm in diameter with a height of 14mm. Certainly quite a departure from the usual 38-39mm of the previous 17.xx and 19.xx series. The case is made of grade 5 titanium and, as you’d expect, features the signature lugs of the brand, however these are here hollowed for an aerial feel. What’s new is the combination of polished flat surfaces, the thin brushed details and the recessed casebands, matte blasted with DLC coating inside. Altogether, the case feels familiar but is also bolder, more complex than before.
The other important novelty, as said above, concerns the dial and its complex mosaic texture. The 3D chessboard consists of 2,650 squares of varying opacity, each formed with a linear diffraction pattern and etched with a high-power femtosecond laser on three different levels within the sapphire crystal dial – the process was developed in collaboration with DM Surfaces SA of St. Imier, Switzerland. The process isn’t simple and is very sensitive to crystal quality, since near-invisible inclusions within the crystal structure can cause the entire dial to shatter as a large amount of energy is being focused on a very small area during lasering. For this reason, MING uses a 1.30mm thick optical grade crystal as the base blank. Due to the complexity of the process, this type of dial will only be reserved for the flagship collection.
Thanks to the reflections on the crystal dial, the mosaic is playful and turn from almost invisible to more prominent, depending on the angle. Underneath, the mainplate of the movement is partially visible and has been treated in matte black, thus offering a contrasting background for the chessboard-like texture of the dial. Also, the MING 20.11 Mosaic features hands made of sapphire crystal with HyCeram ceramic Super-LumiNova insert, matching the hour track on the dial.
Powering this new flagship watch is a movement developed by Schwarz-Etienne for MING, the calibre ASE200.2. This rather large automatic movement is wound by a bidirectional micro-rotor made of sintered tungsten. The bridges are still partially openworked, revealing some of the technical elements underneath, but they are now treated with sandblasting and black DLC coating, with contrasting diamond-cut bevels. The signature MING skeletonized barrel cover allows for easy determination of the state of wind. This 3Hz movement, with a comfortable 86-hour power reserve, is adjusted in 5 positions and tested for an extended period prior to delivery. The movement is surrounded by a bezel made of titanium and machined with a Clous-de-Paris pattern and DLC coated.
The MING 20.11 Mosaic is delivered with pair of handmade straps from Jean Rousseau Paris, a leather travel pouch by Studio Koji Sato, and a 700-lumen Nitecore LED torch for charging the HyCeram lume.
Availability & Price
The MING 20.11 Mosaic will be priced at CHF 14,500 (excl. local taxes) with orders being taken on a deposit basis (50% required for order confirmation) and deliveries commencing February 2022. A public batch of 50 watches will be offered (first come, first serve basis), in addition to an existing customer batch that is time-limited from 5 July to 9 July 2021. It will be available exclusively at www.ming.watch.