Off topic: Presenting the MING 19.01

MING 19.01 3

Many of you will know that I’ve recently brought my interest in watches full circle with the launch of my own watch brand earlier in the year. We were surprised and humbled by the response, but also fortunate as we had another project in the works at the same time: something at the other end of the spectrum, and our flagship: the 19.01. Whilst the 17.01 was designed to be an honest watch that brought a lot of the features valued by collectors to a more accessible price point, the reality is there were a lot of things I wanted to do that I simply couldn’t because of production cost restrictions. This is not the case with the 19.01, which was designed without compromises ad to be something very special in a world that’s already got a lot of very special watches. This is of course not a simple task, and required something special aesthetically, mechanically and stylistically consistent with previous designs so as to fit within the MING lineup.

MING 19.01 2

A quick rundown for those interested in watches: it houses a special version of a long (>100h) power reserve, manual wind movement exclusive to us, and developed by Schwarz-Etienne in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The dial is sapphire, and we developed a new finishing process for complete opacity in the centre, fading towards complete transparency at the edges (and inspired by centre ND filters). It’s a very airy watch, complete with partially skeletonized bridges, made more so by the deep box sapphire crystals front and back. In fact, both crystals act like a light guide of sorts and results in a floating appearance on the wrist as the bottom crystal catches light and glows. On top of that, there is no printing anywhere on the watch: all markings are laser etched into the crystal by means of focused laser beams creating microscopic bubbles within the crystal that appear opaque (if you touched both sides, they would be completely smooth).

MING 19.01 7

The prototype arrived just in the nick of time a few days before my departure for the Salon QP exhibition in London: that gave me a total of three days to shoot and retouch what would eventually turn out to be 35 images. This is honestly an experience I would not want to repeat as it required basically a non-stop marathon work session in the studio; I would normally take two weeks for something like this. Fortunately, having also designed the watch – it’s easy to previsualize in advance the angles you would like to photograph, and how to set up the lighting; some small tweaks would of course be required in practice, but I could work more efficiently than with a completely foreign watch. That said, the counterbalance comes in the form of a difficult client: some of the images I envisioned were not that easy to execute in practice because of stacking, lighting angles etc. and the simple reality of having to match one’s mental expectations with the time at hand.

I leave you with a set of images – this is after all, still a photography site, and I believe the watch really speaks for itself. For more information on the watch itself, please visit Pre orders open 7 November and continue with a special price to 31 December 2017. MT

MING 19.01 6

MING 19.01 5

MING 19.01 1

MING 19.01 8

MING 19.01 4

MING 19.01 9


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  1. Ming, I really enjoyed and loved all the shots in your blog. But as time goes by you gradually moved to Hasselblad company and now your own brand of watches. Nothing wrong with these. Most of the time a commercial photographer will become more business sense when more jobs are taken. The initial enthusiasm of photography will channel to businesses. With your great talent, it would be sad if your first priority be shifted from love of photography to love of business. No matter what, please keep photography as great. We loved your photography blogs.

    • You’re reading me wrong. A love of creating needs the means to support it. The starving artist concept – hell, artist, period – doesn’t work very well in the developing world. You cant create if you’re always trying to figure out how to survive. More so if people just demand you keep creating for free…I don’t think many people realize just how much work is involved in maintaining and creating content for this site. None of it is paid…

  2. John bresnen says:

    Guess I am blind. I don’t see the prices of your beautiful watches.

  3. Beh Chin Wai says:

    Really beautiful .. too bad it was out of my reach but nevertheless .. i’m proud to be a Malaysian. Really special timepiece especially the gradual skeleton front.

  4. Beautiful watch! I’m a happy owner of the 17.01, so I’ll be holding off on watch purposes for several years. Out of curiosity, are the watch bands for the 19.01 compatible with those for the 17.01?

  5. Steve Jones says:

    Beautiful images which ( like the watch ) must have taken a lot of work to get right. Love image No. 7 where the watch appears to hover like a U.F.O. can’t stop looking at it!

    • Thanks – no time for lots of time; prototypes arrived three days before I had to leave. Shot and retouched everything in that time…all 35 images 😛

  6. Michael Gent says:

    Ming, congratulations. You must be so proud. I remember as a early photog stumbling across your site, thinking here is another guy selling tutorial videos. But I was intrigued and stuck with you as a non comital subscriber. Took 3 so years before I actually purchased a tutorial. Ive come across images on flickr where ive thought i recognise that style (Ming) to find the author was a fellow Ming follower no doubt a tutorial student. I read all you writings as I find it a trustworthy reality in the word of cameras being interesting and educational. Watches hmm well something ive appreciated but avoided due to it being so personally bleeding edge. The watches you have designed are beautiful and unique. From someone who feels chuffed that he’s following the ‘real deal’ I wish you the best in your latest venture.

  7. Steve Gombosi says:

    It’s absolutely stunning, Ming. It’s the 203FE of watches 😉

  8. Rebel Girl says:

    I had no idea you made watches. It is beautiful and so are the photographs!

  9. First of all: I really like the design of your watches. The 19.01 is out of reach for me but maybe I could think about the 17.01 in some years. 😀
    But one thing I don’t get: I thought I would have understood the naming scheme with the 17.01 (first model released in the year 2017) but since the new one is called 19.01 although it is not 2019 right now I don’t know anymore what this naming means.
    Could you explain, please?

    On a side note: Glad to see new product photographs from you. I really like!

    • Thanks. Easy: many models in development, and for internal reference we keep the code names from time of inception otherwise everybody gets confused. We may also change release order (which is why 17.02 doesn’t follow 17.01). Similarly, some products require longer development times than others. Lastly, and most importantly – the first two digits are the family/ case line.

  10. This watch probably isn’t for me, but I appreciate that it shares many features with its little brother 17.01. The movement and some of the extra case work is probably what commands most of the premium over the 17.01, and that seems to be reflective of the honest watch you write about.

    • Lots, and lots and lots of extra work – especially when we’re dealing with not just bespoke components, but extremely high end bespoke components 🙂

  11. The 17.01 is a beautiful, cleanly styled watch. The 19.01 at the other hand is a bit overcooked for my taste. Less is more.

  12. Its a gorgeous watch. I just missed on the last batch of the first model by being too slow in the payment screen, and especially liked the multi strap colours. Are you expecting to produce anything at a similar price point to the earlier model any time soon?

    • Thanks – we didn’t want to be stereotyped into making only variants at that price point, otherwise it’s difficult to have people take you seriously later. All I’ll say for now is…the 17-series is a *family* of watches, as is the 19-series… 😉

      • Sounds good, liking the strategy so long as the 17 series base doesn’t have to keep that momentum going too long 😉


  1. […] good and bad – for the moment culminating in a nomination for a GPHG* prize for our flagship 19.01. We’re celebrating with a watch (of course) or more specifically two (one is good, more is […]

  2. […] I also owe a big thanks to those of you who’ve supported this venture in its first and second iterations. Our latest piece is a sportier everyday wearer, with automatic winding convenience and […]

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