Monochrome Watches
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MING 18.01 H41 Titanium Dive Watch (and Some Thoughts on its Availability…)

The brand’s first production titanium dive watch pulls no punches.

| By Erik Slaven | 5 min read |
MING 18.01 H41 Titanium Dive Watch

Following last year’s 18.01 Abyss Concept, a limited run of 10 prototype dive watches, Malaysian-based MING is back with its first production diver that improves on the concept. Steel gives way to titanium, there are a couple of case finishing options and it’s even thinner than before, but MING’s signature styling remains intact. If you’re not familiar with the brand, it’s already won in the Horological Revelation category of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in only three years of existence, so it’s certainly one to watch. The new MING 18.01 H41 expands on the brand’s smaller, dressier watch portfolio with a unique, very capable diver.

MING Watch 18.01 Abyss Concept Dive Watch
The concept model, the MING 18.01 Abyss, on which the production model presented here is based.

The MING 18.01 H41

MING recently updated its design language with the aptly named Design Language 2, first used on the 27.01 Ultra Thin dress watch with a more minimalistic approach. The 18.01 H41 takes this second generation design to the gym for a larger, sportier piece that represents a shift for the brand. It’s the first production piece with a seconds hand, diameter over 38mm and impressive robustness that even saturation divers can utilize. At 40mm in diameter and 12.9mm in height (46mm lug to lug), it remains unusually compact for a watch with a 1,000-metre depth rating. The case is grade 5 titanium, polished and brushed, with an optional all-black DLC coating with a gloss black lacquer dial. The 60-click, unidirectional stainless steel bezel (black DLC coated) has a detailed 15-minute scale, followed by a 5-minute notched pattern with decreasing prominence. All bezel markings are white Super-LumiNova X1 placed as a liquid epoxy.

MING 18.01 H41 Titanium Dive Watch

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A screw-down crown featuring triple gaskets helps ensure the depth rating, along with a 3.5mm thick sapphire crystal and solid caseback. The caseback is textured to help prevent it from shifting around underwater, but the rotating bezel has a smooth finish that forgoes the usual knurled edge – a bit of form over function. Moving to the dial, the cut-out chapter ring from the 27.01 is replaced by an applied ring of HyCeram – a blend of Super-LumiNova X1, ceramic and sapphire for a multi-dimensional glow. The black dial itself has a central section with a sunburst finish and an outer ring with a spiral, snailed pattern. The large silver dauphine hour and minute hands are predominantly filled with Super-LumiNova, and the lollipop seconds hand has a lume circle. This rare MING seconds hand allows divers to confirm that the watch is running while underwater.

MING 18.01 H41 Titanium Dive Watch

The same movement that powered last year’s 18.01 Abyss Concept is here, a top-grade ETA 2824-2 that’s modified by Schwarz-Etienne to remove the date (no phantom setting). It has 25 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 40-hour power reserve. Functions are limited to central hours, minutes and hacking seconds. Adjusted in five positions, accuracy is rated at an average of +/- 4 seconds per day (allowable variance of +/- 15 seconds per day). ETA’s 2824-2 is arguably its best-known workhorse since 1982.

Two 20mm strap options are available, starting with a five-link titanium bracelet with a proprietary deployment clasp and interlock. It includes quick-release levers and curved ends that will fit all MING cases to date. A black rubber strap by Jean Rousseau Paris with a signed pin buckle and white stitching is also an option.

MING 18.01 H41 Titanium Dive Watch

Prices for the MING 18.01 H41 start at CHF 2,950 for the two-tone model with rubber strap. The two-tone with titanium bracelet and black DLC with rubber strap both retail for CHF 3,250. The watches are Swiss-made and come with a two-year warranty. Pre-orders are already sold out, but there’s that second August 22nd shot – blink and you’ll miss it. Shipping is expected in November. For more information, visit MING’s website.

Some thoughts

I have some opinions about MING, more about questionable sales strategies than the watches themselves. I am a fan of the quality and designs. MING is a Malaysian microbrand of only three years that outsources every component and with very few exceptions, uses the most common of ETA movements. However, it has never produced a model in any meaningful quantity, consequently selling out before pre-orders even finish. There are never available collections on the website, simply pictures of previous models that are permanently sold out. How is an enthusiast supposed to discover this brand?

The MING 17.06 Copper… Sold out!

The model discussed in this article is also sold out with a second pre-order scheduled for August 22nd. Even fewer watches are included in this second and final round, and bizarre timing means all of Europe will have to fight for one in the middle of the night. If you read our article about the aforementioned 27.01 model from May, you’ll find that it’s also unavailable. That was just three months ago. In fact, any of the brand’s watches you read about from this year or late last year, either on MONOCHROME or elsewhere, are unavailable. What?

The Ultra-Thin MING 27.01… Sold out!

In a statement about the 27.01, MING claims that it’s not a limited edition, despite only 125 being made for all of 2020. “Future runs are subject to us being able to source base movements.” That movement, the ETA 7001, is among ETA’s most common hand-wound calibres. Microbrand Farer had no problem sourcing them for the Stanhope, along with countless other brands, not to mention viable alternatives from other Swiss movement manufacturers (Sellita, Soprod, etc.) It seems to just reinforce MING’s insistence on artificial scarcity across the board. A bit arrogant for such a brand and a frustrating strategy for enthusiasts. But I digress…

18 responses

  1. Bravo, Erik. The artificial scarcity business model being perpetuated by companies both big and small is tiresome. Unfortunately there is a sucker born every minute seemingly.

  2. I’ve been trying to get a Ming for a while now. You are the first one to talk about its availability issue. It’s a shame that they are producing in such small quantity.
    Do you know how many watches will be available for order on the 22nd of August by any chance?
    I am prepared to get up in the middle of night to get one. Fingers crossed.

  3. Actually, I think it’s disgraceful sales/marketing. I received an email and went to order within 3 minutes and all models sold. That’s selling before even listed. I sent an email to the site and was advised there were “strategies” to have better chances. What!!!! I think any enthusiast needs to add that to their calculation of the value of this brand.


  4. No thrills for me. IMHO it’s just another design exercise in a titanium case and bracelet. The lumed dial and the bezel in blue are pretty. Full stop. Because the pricepoint and this “scarcity” are just signs of an inflated ego. Which can only attract a certain kind of “mine first” hipster playing the trendsetting game. Ok… whateva…

    There are far other better alternatives in that part of the world who lack the arrogance of MING: Zelos, Helios and Magrette are just a few, but there are others as well. But if we talk innovation and class then we have a very strong contender in the best newcomer from Japan: Minase. For which there’s only one word of recognition: KUDOS!🙏🏻

  5. Love the rant about artificial scarcity at the end (and i totally agree)! I wish more of the major publications would do that… Bravo to you!

  6. Thanks Greg, it is indeed tiring. I understand an exclusive independent Manufacture having limited quantities, but that is clearly not the case here.

  7. Matt, it looks like a final 130 watches will be available. Blink and you’ll miss it.

  8. People like you Matt, you are the people ruining this ,they pray for people like you, and guess what ? You show up. If people let them keep their “limited supply” for awhile, then they would do things better.

  9. Thank you Eric,for telling it like it is, you are as frustrated with all this “we no gots” business in watchdom ! It started with Rolex being jerks and when they do it ,and it works, very few are not going to have a go at it,including upstarts. It is a true mess for the watch lovers, and a financial boon for the clowns doing it (still looking you bozos at Rolex) . I have not bought a new watch in 4 years, thanks to this absurd business practice that has caught on more quickly than covid !

  10. As long as whoever the rich guy in Singapore behind Ming sees his watches selling out at minuscule numbers while getting huge hype from watch blogs, the game will continue as he gets a laugh out of it. Really too bad, because this is an attractive watch with solid qualities that’s relatively unique. Yet it is tainted in desirability for a much larger audience who could afford it, who have intelligence and are turned off by game playing. Rolex gets away with it because of legacy and size and autonomy and an army of foolish watch site writers who mindlessly repeat their fake advertising. Watchmakers like Ming have none of those things except the last. And that is a fleeting quality that blows in the wind.

  11. People love shiny new things even more if it’s a shiny new thing that not many other people have….
    Personally I quite like the look of Ming watches, but it seems like they are more a brand run by marketing experts more interested in manipulating the market than a brand run by watch enthusiasts for watch enthusiasts.

  12. Remember when all the house wives cornered the toilet paper market a few months back ? That is the daily game in the watch business ,now days, I remember decades ago an old sales manager saying to me ” sell the sizzle , not the steak” . It holds true for this market. They sell “immediacy”. How much talent does saying “only a few left,better hurry” take ? You just sit back and watch the lemmings run over the cliff and count the money. Wash,rinse,,repeat.
    Watch people are the easiest sell I have ever seen. Wish I had the youth and money to go in to it on the manufacture side myself.

  13. Hi. Would someone explain to me how they make money selling so few? Sure there’s a big margin but so much cost upfront and then just to sell a fre hundred initially. They don’t make a thing on the resale market so I’m stumped

  14. Ray et all:

    Whilst I agree this is a frustrating situation for watch lovers around the world and larger production numbers would be a great improvement, it’s not about money or profits as far as I’m concerned.

    I managed to secure a 17.06 and the now the18.01 easily simply by being on the ball when they were released.

    Ming send email reminders when the watches are due to go on sale and it just takes a few minutes to act quickly when that happens.

    What it does NOT mean is joining a five year plus waiting list or paying over inflated prices to get a watch, so it’s hardly comparable to obtaining a Daytona or Nautilus; the price I paid is the same as everyone else….

    If Mr Thein really wanted to boost his income and profits, surely he’d sell ten times the quantity he does now!

  15. Well, it is the luxury industry. And at its core it wants to make you crave what you dont have.

    Yes, some companies have a solid product but all those strategies are to disempower the person in crave. Then, out of this seeming depravity, when you have the means, you can buy the feelign of empowerment.

  16. I don’ really quite understand the negative comments here. To be fair, Ming is a small brand and don’t have the resources or the capacity to produce whatever quality they want like the big brands. They are upfront about everything – how many will be produce, when will they be released and etc. If I were to run a small business, I’d also prefer to sell out everything I produce, rather than having to carry inventory and constrain my cash flow.

  17. IMO any small businesses would like to have their products sell out and hold no inventory to have good cash flow. For MING, the quantity is quite small so I don’t think they could make a huge profit out of the limited quantity sold. So it seems that they are not into make big profits like some others. The problem with this strategy is it tends to piss off some customers who are not able to get one. For me, I am not hard up to get their products or Rolex etc… There are many other good affordable products out there. There is no need to be frustrated and feel upset unless you choose to do so…

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