Off topic: Presenting the MING 17.03

MING 17.03 1

I’m pleased to report that my horological venture has very much taken on a life of its own, and though it lives on its own site, I’m also aware that there’s quite a bit of crossover between photographers and watch enthusiasts. 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 a second timezone for travel. It’s also highly luminous in the dark.

MING 17.03 2

I actually conceived this to be the watch I wear when travelling and shooting – both because it’s convenient to grab and go, but also because I can check the time at home and the bracelet means you need not worry about water, sweat etc. Little did I know that designing a comfortable bracelet with the right tolerances and overall feel would be almost as big a challenge as the rest of the watch – some seriously tight manufacturing (10 microns, in places) tolerances are required, along with very precise assembly – yet the right number of articulation points to conform to a human wrist, which isn’t perfectly cylindrical. The result is probably the most comfortable watch I’ve ever worn due to overall balance; when properly adjusted, it literally disappears on the wrist. I’m particularly proud of the fact that it’s a quick release bracelet that requires no tools to interchange with the included additional straps – which maintain curved ends. It’s also no thicker than the original 17.01 at 9.8mm despite adding automatic winding, the second timezone and maintaining 100m water resistance as we have switched to a higher grade Sellita SW330. The watch is still made in Switzerland, regulated in five positions and sealed under nitrogen. The case, bracelet and even strap buckle remain in titanium, but this time we use grade 2. It belongs to the 17-series family, so we maintain pricing accessibility at CHF 1,650. Enjoy! MT

The MING 17.03 is available directly from our online store here in two dial colors, including a titanium bracelet, two matching straps, a tool and a handmade travel pouch. It isn’t a limited edition, but will continue to be produced in small batches.

MING 17.03 3

MING 17.03 4

MING 17.03 5

MING 17.03 6

MING 17.03 8

MING 17.03 7


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  1. The 03 is my favourite so far! Congratulations!

    May I ask why you chose Titanium 2 over 5? Is it for the purity? I have a couple of Ti5 watches and they are very scratch-resistant.

    • The materials look different. Actual hardness is amore or less the same and depends as much on the surface finishing and annealing process used as the alloy.

      • I don’t doubt that you have chosen Titanium 2 carefully, but there is no doubt that Titanium 5 (as a lesser pure, but stronger alloy) is less scratch-prone. It can also be treated to a pretty good, stainless-like, shine.

        I do appreciate that you chose to use a nearly 100% Titanium material; it echoes the purity of your design.

        I’d love to see your version of a high-end stainless (at least in look) sports watch. The Patek 5711 is just silly-money now.

        An original Genta-look sports watch of high quality would be very appealing. AP RO is over-cooked, Vacheron’s Overseas is boring, Piaget’s new offering is like a 5711 knock-off. JLC don’t do much to interest. The market needs a real gentleman’s watch that can withstand swimming and still look nice with a suit (that doesn’t cost the Patek’s absurd USD30-40K price).

        • Sorry, but that’s just not true. We have tested both materials and use grade 5 on the 17.01 and 19.01, but any mirror polish will show scratches far more readily than a brushed finish – which is why we chose grade 2 for the sportier 17.03. The actual material hardness differs by less than 20 vickers (depending on the alloy) which is not even 0.3%, i.e. identical in practice.

  2. Watch arrived this morning. Thanks to efficient DHL. The watch is up to expectations. Had it on whole day and it’s every comfortable on the wrist. I like the innovative ease of changing straps and bracelet and good legibility. Pleased with it. Credit to you Ming.

  3. Hodinkee did a nice write up on this watch. Nice to see a unique GMT design. The brushed titanium and matching band looks great too, a nice balance of sport and elegance. Well done.

  4. I noticed the watch and was admiring on one of my favorite watch websites and realized the convergence with my photography interests. Good Job! I really like what you have done.

  5. Steve Gombosi says:

    I don’t see how this could possibly be considered off-topic – Hasselblad did start out making watches and clocks, after all ;-).

  6. Like the design. Highly legible even in the dark. The second time zone is useful for traveling and the interchangeable titanium strap is great for water resistance and the tropics. Bought the burgundy and looking forward to it. Well done Ming. Well thought of design. I normally prefer 40mm but with its high legibility 38mm is versatile enough.

    • Thanks! It wears a little larger than 38 as the bezel is clean, and visually on the bracelet the head appears to extend a bit longer since the metal and finish is identical on the two parts. The difference though is 40mm won’t nicely fit under a shirt cuff most of the time 🙂

  7. Very nice Ming, especially the red-wine/burgundy dial. It’s really distinctive, I don’t recall any of the big brands have a similar dial.

  8. Not that I’m a watch expert, but I thought 17.01 was a very nice, classic design with some original twists. This one, however, seems to have a very nice design with a completely unique personality. It cannot be easy to achieve at a competitive price.

  9. Rebel Girl says:

    A beauty!

  10. A very nice update to the 17. series. Well done in particular on the bracelet and easy to change system. A handsome and versatile watch.

  11. Anatoly Loshmanov says:

    Hello Ming !
    Amazing !
    You are renaissance man!

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