‘Goodnight, My Angel’ – Svelte And Sexy, The New MING 19.05 Bids Adieu To The 19-series
Editor’s note: This is a Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) review of the new MING 19.05 watch. For our detailed reviews, please head to our dedicated review section here.
I am going to start this by heavily modifying – just like the movement – a Virginia Woolf quote – ‘Watch collecting is not just a series of watches symmetrically arranged; it’s about acquiring the right pieces. The new MING 19.05 is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent horological wonder that envelopes our wrists from the beginning of consciousness to the end’.
What is it: The new MING 19.05
Why: Because MING wanted to create a bitter-sweet moment. Sweet because they wrap up 2020 on high note. Bitter because like all good things must come to end, so is the 19-series. Over its three-year run, MING’s 19-series has provided the collector community with horological marvels, one after the other in the form of 19.01 and 19.02
When released: 20 November 2020 – 1pm GMT
Where: Available exclusively through MING’s website for 9’950 CHF in extremely limited numbers of 15-pieces only, with deliveries starting May 2021
Who is it for: For this serious watch connoisseur who would like to own the finest yet of MING’s legacy
How does it do: In the ethos of time shimmers the new MING 19.05, it is the quintessential MING, it is the one that for most will be the one that got away.
From the brand’s high-end collection, the new MING 19.05 walks the walk and talks the talk. It fits the bill of a luxury, exclusive, high-end timepiece. It’s designed to be a premium offering, and you know what, it doesn’t fail. One would think it’s hard to come up with something new yet old, but they manage to do it; while the dial is contemporary, the classical movement beating under the sleek hood enthuses with timeless horological prowess.
For the price of 9’950 CHF, one gets a truly limited production of 15-pieces, a skeletonized Schwarz-Etienne movement, a unique solid sapphire dial with inlaid ceramic Super-LumiNova X1, a lightweight grade 5 titanium case, and a design language that’s slowly becoming as distinctive as Breguet hands. As 2020 is at the thresholds of finally changing over, what more could you ask for?
The new MING 19.05 combines the best of 19.01 and 19.02, and I would say it’s a modified version of the latter but with the horological complication of the former.
Missing: In the grand scheme of things, when placed alongside a number of watches these days, the 72-hour power reserve of the new MING 19.05 is very impressive. But that said, I miss 19.01’s 4-day power-reserve. I know it was a manual rather an automatic watch, but they really set the bar up-high with that one. Also, personally I would have preferred a slightly higher water-resistance.
Everything with MING seems to be an evolution. And as charming as the 19.01 was in its own right, what I don’t miss is 19.01’s opaque-in-the-centre-to-fading-towards-transparency-at-the- edges sapphire dial as it felt somewhat ‘barren’ to me and the uniformity of the new MING 19.05’s dial is both svelte and sexy. The new solid sapphire dial with inky black undercoat is also uniquely bold yet elegantly understated.
The new MING 19.05 goes in full attack mode with the use of the new calibre ASE200.1 by Schwarz-Etienne made exclusively for MING. It is an automatic movement that has been adjusted to five positions, features a bidirectional automatic winding with high-mass tungsten micro-rotor, a manufactured in-house — Schwarz-Etienne — balance wheel with fixed inertia, and a Phillips flat spiral terminal coil manufactured by E2O.
Offering a 72-hour power reserve — 32-hours more than the recent 18.01 H41 — the 30.4mm diameter and 5.35mm thick movement comprises of 34 jewels and beats at the slow frequency of 21’600 vph (3Hz).
Schwarz-Etienne’s ASE stand for Automatic Schwarz Etienne and they are a family of self-winding mechanical movements distinguished by a patented modular main plate that is designed to accommodate a module with a micro-rotor, as seen in the new MING 19.05. These movements also feature an off-centred oscillating weight that is thicker than the ones commonly found on a traditional movement. The ASE calibers feature a construction formed of six bridges and are designed to provide for an overall better better winding efficiency and regularity of operation.
As far as I can tell MING’s calibre ASE200.1 is based on the calibre ASE200.00 that was also used recently as a base for the Schwarz Etienne Roma Synergy By Kari Voutilainen watches that retailed for a way higher 29’500 CHF. So rest assured, when you are buying the new MING 19.05, you can be certain that you are getting a timepiece backed by a quality pedigree movement.
The base ASE200.00 usually is pretty decently decorated on its own, featuring the following decorations by default: circular graining on the main plate, satin finished or polished steel components, polished screws, and a micro-rotor with Schwarz Etienne logo and snailing. Schwarz Etienne has heavily modified this for MING and added to this by decorating the modified ASE200.1 with skeletonized bridges, matte-blasted 5N rose gold coating, open-worked main bridge, barrel ratchet wheel and base plate revealing the mechanics, hand-polished anglage, and of course MING branding.
If you come to think of it, the movement finishing is very similar to that of the MING 19.02 Worldtimer. In both the timepieces the multilevel anglage on the automatic winding bridge is clearly visible and so is the dull grey state of the rotor.
In the pictures above you can see how different and more appealing the ASE200.1 looks compared to the ASE200.00. It is when you study details like these that you understand why and how the 19-series is a much more premium product than say the 17-series, and why it ends up costing a lot more. 9’950 CHF is no small sum; it puts the new MING 19.05 in a totally different category, where competition is fierce. We are in Datejust category. But details like these, added with the exclusivity of these timepieces, and a whole new world of design language that is intrinsically MING is what justifies the premium.
The movement is encased inside a 39mm diameter and 10.9mm thick case with polished bezel and lugs, and a finely brushed case-band. The case is the familiar grade 5 titanium and features a display case-back and a 50m water resistance.
MING has used a thin titanium band that holds the two deep-box sapphire crystals together and is constructed without a spacer ring for maximum rigidity. Both external sapphire crystals carry double-sided antireflective coatings. From the press pictures it appears that the new MING 19.05 retains the 19.01’s mixture of brushed and polished surfaces on the grade 5 titanium — titanium-aluminium-vanadium alloy — case. The new MING 19.05 also retains the rather sharply twisted, outwards flared, short lugs with convex tops that provide for a case-study in surface finishings with contrasting brushed and mirrored surfaces.
I would say that rather than any single aspect, the watch as a whole is the star here. The dedicated movement, the case profile and finishings, and the dial, all join forces to present a powerhouse of an offering. But like all MING watches, the dial does shine brighter.
Encased within this lightweight titanium body is their new solid sapphire dial with inky black undercoat that shares the same ‘inversion’ under various lighting conditions as their other 19-series watches. It is, however, the first 19-series watch to have indices and luminous material on the dial itself. The brand tells us that the arcs were previously lasered into the upper crystal and are now cut into the dial and filled with ceramic Super-LumiNova X1 for enhanced brightness and definition. Skeletonized hands loaded with Super-LumiNova X1, along with the luminous ring inside the bezel help display the motion of time with brightness and clear legibility.
Completing the package are the two bracelet/strap options. Wearers have a choice of a matching 5-link MING Universal Bracelet in grade 5 titanium, with curved quick release and concealed double deployant clasp, or a handmade calf leather strap by Jean Rousseau Paris, with quick release and signed pin buckle.
The watch (and two straps) come in a travel pouch handmade in Kuala Lumpur from vegetable tanned natural leather by Studio Koji Satto and a 2-year warranty against defects.
As a swan song to the 19.01 that was nominated as a finalist in the Petit Aiguille category of the Grand Prix D’Horlogerie De Genève 2018 Edition and won the Aurochronos Festival 2018 Grand Prix, the new MING 19.05 had a lot to live up-to.
It’s hard to believe that MING has only been around since 2017. In a short period of time MING has done the unthinkable. They have managed to come up with an iconic design that has become a powerhouse in itself. In the world ruled by the likes of the iconic Cartier Tank and Patek Nautilus to name a couple, the MING design architecture stands tall and distinctive. In a weird, coincidental way, they remind me of how Hublot came out of nowhere in the 1980s. MING has created a case and dial language that amongst a sea of millions of other watches can be as identifiable as a Rolex Datejust or AP Royal Oak.
For anyone who is not too familiar with MING, at first 19.05’s price of 9’950 CHF may seem a bit steep for a time-only watch from a niche, independent brand, but if you peel the layers, you realise that not only are you getting an icon in the making, you are also getting something that is truly limited and exclusive. In the industry where even 7000-pieces are tagged ‘limited edition’, the only 15-piece production of the new MING 19.05 shines like a beacon of hope that limited means limited.
As tacky as this may be, I will wrap this up with the (modified) lyrics of one of my personal favourite Billy Joel songs, “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)”.
my angel (19-series), Now it’s time (for collector’s) to dreams (to come true), And dream how wonderful your life will be (with the new MING 19.05), Someday your child (wrist) may cry, And if you sing this lullabye (wear this 19.05), Then in your heart, There will always be a part of me (MING)… ’
The brand may have decided that this is the best time to put 19-series to sleep, but this family of watches is going out on the top of its game. The new MING 19.05 is a revelation in watchmaking; it sits in a higher pedigree that’s in rarified circles. And like I said, MING may be wrapping up 2020 on high note, but I am sure Mr Thein and co. will be back with what I can only predict to be a stellar 2021.
For more information on the new MING 19.05 and their other offerings, head to their website here. All images unless stated otherwise © HOROLOGER MING 2020.