Are you a Malaysian? Ever heard of MING? If you nodded yes, you’ll understand the heading. Now last I checked, I still had a Malaysian passport. Combined with the fact that I’m a bit of watch geek, the reveal of the MING 19.02 Worldtimer meant that I was a tad overwhelmed with the need to sing the ‘Negaraku’ after handling it in the flesh recently.
If you’ve got no clue what I’m on about, here’s a brief rundown of MING. The company identifies as a “horological collective formed and fully funded by a group of six enthusiasts from around the world under the leadership of Ming Thein.” The brand launched its first watch, the MING 17.01 back in 2017 and has since gone on to register on the radar of every serious watch collector and aficionado worldwide.
Still think I’m just blowing smoke up MING’s arse?
What? Whatever. Moving on.
It’s not an empty boast, that. According to the company, most of their orders come from Singapore, Hong Kong and New York. Oddly enough, Malaysia isn’t exactly its biggest market. Probably because a good portion of watch buyers in this country are only after a certain manufacturer… *cough*WOWLEX*cough*
Now before I derail this piece, back to the star of today’s quickie, MING’s latest creation, the 19.02 Worldtimer.
“It looks very… MING-like.”
And that’s a bloody good thing if you ask me. I don’t know about you but it’s too often I come across a couple of microbrands that lack a sense of identity. I’m not bashing on homage pieces here but there are those who blatantly rip off design cues of cult watches. A big no-no in my books.
So credit where credit is due and in the case of MING, it’s completely justifiable to heap praises on them for originality. I recall handling the 17.03 GMT and being blown away by the finishing and overall aesthetics. Also, the word ‘Tron’ kept popping up in my head and when you get the chance to see one in the dark, you’ll know why.
In the case of the 19.02 Worldtimer, some things will be familiar to fans and owners. As with MING timepieces, the 19.02 has a case that’s fashioned out of titanium (Grade 5 here). Measurements are right up my alley with a diameter of 39 mm and a thickness of 11.2 mm. I didn’t get to measure the lug to lug width but rest assured, with those compact, twisted lugs, it wore near to perfection on my 6-inch wrist.
“Me likey the looks of it so far…”
Oh, yes. The MING 19.02 Worldtimer has another aesthetic cue that I particularly like and that’s a mixture of both polished (bezel and lugs) and brushed (case band) surfaces. Box sapphire crystals are found on both sides of the watch with double-sided AR coating on the front crystal. Now, this is where it gets really visually interesting.
For starters, the center of the crystal goes from an opaque black and gradually smooths out to full transparency near the edges. On top of that, the chapter ring is laser-etched along with the respective cities around the world. Unlike other GMTs or dual-time zone timepieces, the 19.02 is a world timer in the strictest sense. The multiple time zones are etched out in IATA airport codes and I can’t help but notice the inclusion of ‘KUL’ within the ring.
That stands for Kuala Lumpur, guys! KUALA FREAKIN’ LUMPUR! Represented on a world-class timepiece! Cue the music!
And back to the watch…
Where was I? The time zones and whatnot, yes. I’m not afraid to admit that I found the dial a bit confusing to read at first. However, it’s actually pretty simple. For starters, a cleverly hidden and separate rotating titanium disc with 24-hour markers is embedded within the opaque portion of the dial. By pulling out the non-screw down crown once, I was able to tweak the disc to line the numbers up with the respective cities.
For example, if it was 1700 in KL, I’d line ‘KUL’ up with ’17’ and Voila! That would immediately set ’16’ at BKK (1600 in Bangkok) and so on and so forth. Easy, right?
As for the other aspects, the skeletonized hands are coated with SuperLuminova X1. The same lume treatment makes up a ring nestled within the bezel so when the lights went out, all I saw were two sticks of lume encircled by a turquoise ring. Very, very Tron-like. Aside from that, looking at the watch straight on subtly reveals the rose gold theme of the movement plate.
A simple enough gesture but one that really makes the whole watch pop aesthetically in my eyes.
“What about the movement?”
Oh boy, am I glad you asked. Turning the watch around, the Schwarz-Etienne Caliber ASE220.1 is on display in all its 5N rose gold coating, anthracite mainspring barrel cover and sintered tungsten micro-rotor glory. Partial skeletonization of the movement plates, bead-blasted bridges and laser-etched texts on the micro-rotor further add to the sense of occasion.
The movement itself features a power reserve figure of around 70 hours and is adjusted in five positions. Also, water resistance is rated at 50 m.
“Last but not least, is the strap any good?”
Well, here’s a hint. The stock calf leather straps (yes, straps because MING will supply two with each order) are sourced from Jean Rousseau. The French leather house works hand in hand with the Richemont Group so if it’s good enough for them…
Now, I’m no expert when it comes to judging leather straps but I can definitely say that this is one of the most pliable and softest straps I’ve tried on. The underside of the strap features a sort of Alcantara lining that’s supposedly better suited to our tropical weather (read hot and humid af). Other nice touches include the MING badge getting heat-stamped onto the underside of the strap and a brushed titanium tang buckle.
“Right, time for the killer blow. How much?”
Not cheap. The MING 19.02 Worldtimer retails at CHF9,900 (RM40,018) via bank wire and CHF10,900 (RM44,061) via PayPal or credit card.
And this is the early bird price, mind you.
Come April 1 2019, the watch will cost you CHF11,900 (RM48,103).
I know, I know. It sounds like some sick April Fool’s joke and frankly, I wish it was but alas, the early bird window will end come March 31. Aside from that, the end-2019 batch is completely sold out so placing an order now will only result in you getting your watch at the start of 2020. Can’t have everything, AMIRITE?