The Matrix Of Dreams For Your Wrist: Meet The New Ming 20.11 Mosaic
Editor’s note: We hadn’t even finished covering all the 53 novelties that are announced last week for the Only Watch Auction 2021, and Ming just dropped a special release, the new Ming 20.11 Mosaic. Pausing other coverage to preview it, we are happy to note that Ming’s new flagship and daily wearer is a revelation. For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Dame Silvia Cartwright once said: “We often plough so much energy into the big picture, we forget the pixels”.
For most the new Ming 20.11 Mosaic will be about the newer aesthetics and a different dial execution.
For me, it’s much more than that: it’s about the myriad of little details, the pixels — both physically present on the dial and symbolically which act as little parts making this new release a stellar timepiece — that are represented through the presence of a smashing movement treatment and architecture, the larger case size, lightweight titanium body, 3D laser mosaic on the dial, a refreshing ~86-hour power reserve, and lighting up your wrist HyCeram® (ceramic Super-LumiNova X1) thrown in for good measure.
Just like the Ingrid Trobisch quotation that “our lives are a mosaic of little things,” it is the little things in the new Ming 20.11 Mosaic that complete this horological brilliance.
There are a lot of uncertainties in life, especially these days with the virus and all, but one thing is for certain; Ming with their every release raises the high bar they keep setting for themselves. They take the status quo and flip it.
Ming have an uncanny and rare ability to not only look at the big picture, but they have also mastered the art of working with the pixels.
There is a James Hollis quote that reads: “We are not here to fit in…”
Ming’s architecture and releases are a living embodiment of this ideology. Ming’s designs for all intents and purposes are the bridge to horological ecstasy, and the new Ming 20.11 Mosaic its current vehicle.
Owning This Beauty
We will of course be diving deep into this watch’s study, but before we do so, here’s what you need to know regarding owning this special and limited timepiece.
The watch is priced at CHF14’ 500 including insured shipping but excluding local taxes, and comes with some extra paraphernalia: 2 complimentary straps, handmade travel pouch by Studio Koji Sato, and a 700-lumen Nitecore torch for charging luminous material.
The new Ming 20.11 Mosaic will begin ordering on a 50% deposit basis and deliveries are likely to commence from February 2022.
In terms of limited availability, a public batch of 50 watches will be offered, in addition to an existing customer batch that is time limited from 5 July (1pm GMT or 11pm AEST) to 9 July 2021.
The Dream Engine
I realise most watch connoisseurs might be interested in the limited numbers and the dial treatment of this watch, but for me, it is the movement treatment (and specifications) that really elevates the appeal of the new Ming 20.11 Mosaic.
The watch is powered by the automatic movement Cal.ASE200.2 that has been exclusively made for Ming by Schwarz-Etienne.
The ASE 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. 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 winding efficiency and regularity of operation.
The new Cal.ASE200.2 is a second generation movement that was first seen in last year’s 19-series swan song offering, the Ming 19.05 (reviewed here) .
The Ming 19.05 featured the calibre ASE200.1 again by Schwarz-Etienne that was adjusted to five positions, featured 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.
One of the most impressive parts about the movement was the micro-rotor, that has been retained here in the new Cal.ASE200.2 as well in the form of a bidirectional sintered tungsten rotor.
The 30.4mm diameter and 5.35mm thick calibre ASE200.1 comprised of 34 jewels, beat at the slow frequency of 21’600 vph (3Hz), and offered a 72-hour power reserve (32-hours more than their 18.01 H41).
The new Cal.ASE200.2 is different in a few welcome ways, the most impressive being the increased ~86-hour power reserve. The brand has retained the skeletonized bridges, but the the finishing has been modified to matte-blasted with a black DLC coating and diamond-cut anglage that provides for a contrasting background to the mosaics on the dial to shine.
The movement is again adjusted in five positions and the signature MING skeletonised barrel is present allowing for easy determination of the state of wind.
This partially skeletonised movement with bi-colour bridges also features a hacking function.
The MING Cal.ASE200.2 is encased inside a new and larger 41.5mm diameter and 14mm thick grade 5 titanium body with a matte blasted DLC case-band and polished bezel with the stereotypical hollow flying blade lugs. The dial is protected by double domed sapphire crystals, with multilayer double sided anti-reflective coatings.
The watch is water-resistant to only 50m though, and comes with two Barenia leather straps by Jean Rosseau Paris that feature a 22mm lug inter-horn spacing and a much welcome quick release fitting (and signed pin-buckle).
And before we go to the dial in detail, there are certain other details on the watch as a whole that stand out as well: the logo is a bit different, this time reflecting the style of their Special Projects Cave logo at 12. The hands like we said are of sapphire this time, and the inner bezel surrounding the movement is made of titanium and machined with a Clous-de-Paris pattern and is then DLC coated as well.
The extensive lume is thanks to HyCeram® , a “hybrid ceramic/polymer compound with an intense and high-quality appearance”. It is impressively UV-stable, has a hardness of 410 N/mm², is temperature resistant up to 200 °C, and offers exceptional lume.
The Mosaic of Passion
Mosaics are usually colourful, identified by the kaleidoscope of colours. Ming takes a different route. It takes the soul of mosaics, but renders the body monochromatic, allowing both the natural light and lume to reveal the mesmerisation of the mosaic crystal on which transparent sapphire hour and minute hands with ceramic Super-LumiNova X1 dance to reveal the time.
In theory, the dial of the new Ming 20.11 Mosaic is the same old skeletonised dial approach, done a million times. But the execution here is ingeniously different, only reminiscent of the very limited Ming Special Projects Cave 2020 MING 20.01 Mosaic Chronograph.
The mosaic pattern on the dial comprises of 2,650 squares or pixels of varying opacity that are presented on three different levels within the sapphire crystal dial (as compared to the 2,625 elements lasered at four levels of the 2020 MING 20.01 Mosaic Chronograph).
Individually laser etched, these essentially are a linear diffraction pattern that are a result of etchings with a high-power femtosecond laser.
Ming has developed this process in collaboration with DM SurfacesSA of St. Imier who provide ultra-customisations to watches. They provide services like beading, satin-finishing, sapphire intra-engravings, 2.5D and 3D Texturization, 3D laser for texturing on complex geometric shapes, and loads of other customisations.
The process on the Ming 20.11 dial is executed on a 1.30mm thick optical grade crystal and due to the fragile nature of the work, it is time-consuming and has its limitations.
This sapphire dial with 3D laser mosaic is treated to dollops of ceramic Super-LumiNova X1, that not ensures excellent readability under darker conditions, but also allows for amazing lume shots.
During the day, thanks to the dark movement finish that acts as a contrast to this transparent dial, depending upon ambient light, the Mosaic turns from being almost invisible to a pattern reminiscent of a chessboard.
The day and night time shots gave me two distinctive associations: the dial looks like a pixelated dream out of the Matrix movies, a sort of marriage of memory and reality that reveals itself in bits and bobs. It also looked like a galaxy, with mosaic-stars lighting up the universe. Either way, it arouses passions. And in this case, also your wrist.
Your Move, Gentlemen
“Pawns are the soul of the game,” said François-André Danican Philidor, the famed French composer and chess player.
The various details, the pixels, that make up the new Ming 20.11 Mosaic are like pawns, the soul of the new ming 20.11.
Just like a game of chess, Ming, still a newborn compared to the Holy Trinity’s of this industry, is meant to take baby steps, but instead, it’s teaching others how to run.
The dial is like a chessboard, and like all Ming watches, these are likely to sell out real quick. They have made their move. Time to make yours.
To find out more about the new Ming 20.11 Mosaic or to try to order it, please head directly to www.ming.watch. All images unless otherwise specified are © HOROLOGER MING 2021. Make sure to check out our reviews of Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.