“I cannot brain the title…”
Fair enough, allow us to break it down for you. Let’s begin at the beginning – MING. What or who is that, you ask? Well, that depends on how you choose to view this micro brand from Malaysia. Yes, you read that right! As a fellow Malaysian, this author can confidently shout ‘Malaysia Boleh!’ (Malaysia can!) to the world without a hint of reservation. Now, back to MING.
In their own words, MING is a “horological collective formed and funded by a group of six watch enthusiasts from around the world under the leadership of Ming Thein.” So while the brand does bear the name of one individual, MING is adamant that the keyword here is ‘teamwork’.
What about The Matick Blog? Much Like Centre Seconds, it is a Malaysian-based online site dedicated to horology. However, it “isn’t just another watch blog – it is a documentary of our (The Matick Blog) humble journey, as we embark on the likely tumultuous journey of watch collecting as young enthusiasts.” The site came to life in 2015 and was founded by four Malaysian law graduates.
Last but not least, we arrive at the Front Room & The Kneady Baker. Located in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, the warm and intimate layout of this establishment served as the perfect venue for the event. So, it would appear that the organisers have indeed laid out the perfect recipe for an amazing evening in.
And man did they pull it off.
“Sounds splendid but isn’t it a lil’ hoity-toity?”
I won’t blame you for thinking so but trust me on this, it is anything but. See, the general public tend to think that watch enthusiasts are a bunch of elitist folks that gather about, drink champagne and show off watches that costs more than some houses. If that’s what you’re into, good on you, but the organisers went beyond the call of duty to ensure that everyone who showed up was well taken care of regardless of what kind of watch you wore.
I was NOT paid to say this, really.
As you would know, this author has far from enough funds to really indulge in luxury watches. So, what exactly happened when he rocked up with a Seiko? In the best sense of the word, nothing. It wasn’t just the hosts that were admirable, everyone seemed to be at ease with one another’s timepieces, price tag be damned.
“What was the best part, then?!”
Pfft! It was the food and drinks, obviously! Who cares about watches, anyway? We’re Malaysians and we love our food so give me MOAR! No, seriously. This pig of an author just couldn’t get enough of the finger foods whipped up by chef Daniel Yap. It was a particularly dire case when it came to the potato focaccia and crabmeat toast.
Now, I’m no expert when it comes to craft beer either but Brooklyn Brewery’s American Amber Lager was a particular standout for me. So much so that the quality of my photography skyrocketed halfway through a bottle – there wasn’t a single bad shot once I cleared said bottle.
“Right. Moving on… what about the watches? MING?”
Yes, MING. One of the co-founders, Praneeth Rajsingh, was present to talk us through a bit on the history of the brand, what it stands for and most importantly, where it is headed in the future. A Q&A session followed and suffice to say that at the end of it, everyone was more than impressed at how this Malaysian micro brand has braved the storm to become one of the most interesting watchmakers in the industry.
Yours truly got to fondle the MING 17.03 GMT in both black and burgundy, as well. The first thing that really jumped out was the feel of the grade 2 titanium case. Titanium not only gives the watch a different sheen but it’s also warmer to the touch. It measures in at a modest 38 mm and is 9.8 mm thick.
Praneeth Rajsingh talks us through the brand and its watches.
A solid caseback greets the viewer when you flip it around. Inside, the watch is powered by a Sellita SW330-1 automatic movement with 25 jewels and a power reserve of 42 hours. The calibre beats at a rate of 4 Hz and possesses hacking capabilities. Also, the movement has been adjusted to 5 positions over 250 hours of testing.
While all that is fairly impressive, where the MING 17.03 GMT really shines is the dial. There’s so much detail going on but at the same time, the overall effect is far from overwhelming. A closer look will reveal an inner plate that fulfills the ‘GMT’ part of the watch’s namesake. The MING 17.03 GMT does without a conventional third hand and instead relies on a rotating inner dial with a luminous star-shaped marker to indicate the second timezone.
“Any other watches you got your hands on?”
Oh yes, a fair bit. It would require a separate write-up if I’m going to go into details on every. Single. Watch. As a result, I’m just gonna’ say that yours truly got to try on watches from Seiko all the way to Jaeger-LeCoultre. I’ll just let the photos do the talking, okay?
Oh, and the folks at The Matick, one last question. If you’re reading this, when is the next Get Together (GTG)?
MING 17.03 GMT
An Evening with MING – The Matick Blog X Front Room & The Kneady Baker ‘Time Well Spent’ GTG Edition 1