Editor’s note: The new Ming 37.07 is first of their fifth anniversary celebratory announcements and was announced on 25th July 2022. Retailing for CHF 3’250, its allocation is now exhausted. The team at Ming was kind enough to send us one for review. This is not a sponsored post. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
We recently went hands-on with the MB&F M.A.D Edition 1 Red, and reviewed it in detail looking at it through the lens of Buddhism. This time around, holding the new Ming 37.07, it reminded me of Islamic architecture. Being an architect myself, it was only a matter of time before I discovered a timepiece that design-wise transcended the jewellery industry and managed to echo the gallant whispers of an architectural style.
Ming watches for me have always had a certain oomph to them, but behind the svelte and sexy appearance, there is a strong architecture design to them that holds this brand’s distinctive personality like a glue. I haven’t gone hands-on with the rest of their work so it is hard to speak for all of them along these terms, but when it comes to the new Ming 37.07, the central part of the dial evokes a song sense of filigree work reminiscent in a lot of architectural decorative styles, especially Islamic architecture. The dial also reminds me of Muqarnas, another design element that is a form of ornamented vaulting in some Islamic buildings.
The way the light (or lume) passes through the mosaic pattern it develops a certain rhythm to it, that distinguishes itself from other timepieces, swinging about its own fantastical beat.
Calligraphy, arabesques, and geometric patterns visually identify Islamic architecture, and the Ming 37.07’s central mosaic dial manages to shine bright reflecting the ethos of these design elements; what’s even more intuitive about the design is the use of a domed sapphire crystal, a feature that not only provides depth and play of height to the timepiece, but also bears design resemblance to the very frequent use of domes in Islamic architecture.
Flip the watch and it is hard to believe that powering the watch is a simple Sellita movement. I guess it’s not the instrument but the musician that really takes the experience to a new level.
Ming 37.07 Unboxing
Given this is the first time we are going in depth with a Ming watch, figured it also gives us the opportunity to talk about the unboxing experience. Slim watch boxes that are unlike traditional ones are becoming the norm with internet based or micro brands. From UNDONE to Christopher Ward to MB&F M.A.D Gallery Watch box, they all follow the same design ideology. Ming watch packaging is no different. It’s simple and practical.
The Ming 37.07 came inside a black and rust-coloured rectangular box that slides open, quite like the way Christopher Ward boxes do. Inside is a cloth/canvas bag that houses a handmade leather watch pouch, made exclusively for Ming watches by Studio Koji Sato. Inside Ming 37.07 is securely nestled, further protected by a transparent plastic bag. Like I said, simple and practical.
The Hands-on Experience
When the press release first dropped in my inbox, I remember calling this — and subsequently even writing about the new Ming 37.07 — the mosaic of horological dreams. You can read that shorter preview of the Ming 37.07 here. Most tangible products’ real beauty can be best appreciated when they are touched or held in one’s hands. The Ming 37.07 is one such object, that needs to be strapped on the wrist and allowed to freely bask in natural light. And there in its natural habitat it shines.
On the wrist, one of the main features one notices is the sizing and fit. The Ming 37.07 measures 38mm x 10.9mm with a 44.5mm lug-to-lug and 20mm lug interhorn spacing. This is seriously compact.
For reference, the 36mm 11600 Rolex OP measures an obviously smaller diameter but features the same lug-to-lug spacing and lug inter-horn spacing and a greater thickness of 12mm.
The primary difference here is the lack of a bezel on the Ming 37.07. If we look at the Rolex OP 36, because of the bezel, the dial sapphire crystal measures in at 30.5mm. On the Ming 37.07, this sapphire face reads a much larger 35.5mm, making the Ming 37.07 appear bigger yet sitting well on a slim wrist like my 16.25cm wrist. (For reference, most photos here are on an even slimmer 15.75cm wrist).
Compare the sizing and design, and while the Ming 37.07 will be a slim wristed gentleman’s well fitted companion, its lack of expansive lugs ensures one gets a bold face. The Rolex OP on the hand fits small for a 36, while the wrist presence of the Ming is on the larger end of the spectrum.
Another watch I wanted to compare it with considering the price point, dimensions and design language is the Longines Sector Dial Heritage Classic Black.
On paper, the Longines Sector Dial ref. L2.8126.96.36.199 features a similar 38.5mm diameter and similar 11mm thickness. It retails for a lesser 3’600 AUD, and features a “better” watch-movement-snob approved calibre L893 with a higher 72-hour power reserve. But in terms of daily-wear use for those with slim wrists, it tells another tale.
It features a rather large lug-to-lug spacing of ~48mm, even more than the Tudor BB58’s 47.2mm spacing with a larger 39mm diameter. And it has a lower 30m water-resistance. And this is where the new Ming 37.07 scores again; the attention to detail when it comes to practical wear for those with slim wrists. The Longines Sector Dial Heritage Classic iteration in black no doubt fits well and looks classy too. It’s also clean, minimalistic and nice to look at. It’s a great value proposition too. But compared to the Ming 37.07, it doesn’t feel that exclusive or different. After all, it does remind one of certain Patek and JLC timepieces.
And that difference of about 4mm in lug-to-lug makes the Ming special.
I also appreciate the use of a large crown that harks to the 100m water-resistance of the watch, and is also easy to operate. The flying blade lug design with a lug twist that extends from case flanks to the bottom of the lugs is again more impressive in person than in the media pictures, and adds a more 3D quality to the watch. There is also a certain reptilian fluidity these polished lugs bring to the wrist, which when combined with the polished & finely brushed surfaces of the case, creates a sexy appeal.
I also like the quality of the (very curved) Jean Rousseau Paris strap — I personally feel that this taupe strap suits the watch best even though it’s not actually the one that watches are made available on to the public — and the use of their 3rd generation buckle feat. micro-adjustment. The watch is very comfortable to wear and wears quite low to the skin. The quick-release strap is welcome too.
Everything about the Ming 37.07 appears tailor-made. For 5k, that’s very impressive.
Zooming into the dial, that’s where the appeal begins to get too good for the money one would pay (at retail) for this.
The hour marker peripheral ring and the hour/minute hands seem to float above the oasis that the mosaic centre composite dial is. Atop a brushed metal base that is both printed and lume filled a double surface printed and gradient fade sapphire dial ensures the magic we are now accustomed to expect from a Ming watch.
If you look closely, the dark peripheral band actually features fine concentric circles, another detail, that brings nuance to the dial.
Perhaps the only feature I am not much of a fan is the treatment on the hands. For two reasons. One, the grained matt texture feels bit underdeveloped (though I appreciate the use of lume). But perhaps that could be the case for the prototype model. Second, and this is a personal preference, but I can’t do two handers. I need to have a second’s hand to ‘feel’ the pulse of the watch, to see it ‘breathe’.
Spending about a week with the Ming 37.07, I realised that a second’s hand wouldn’t do the design language justice though. So my recommendation? The peripheral band should have a slim ring that rotates.
Not only will it bring motion to the dial, but also create a more ‘interactive’ timepiece if you may. Perhaps something the brand can consider for a future release? Heck if Watch Ya Gonna Do About It’s name could be taken in the breath as that of Hodinkee, Fratello or Monochrome, I would have proposed to do a collab with the peripheral ring or dial in the colours of our logo.
Anyway, daydreaming aside, the Ming 37.07 as it stands is a very impressive offering, one that not only looks beautiful on the outside, but also on the inside.
Ming 37.07 Caseback and That Movement
Have you ever looked at a Sellita movement and gone, wow?! No offence to Sellita, they make great reliable and workhorse movements, but like Rolex covering up all their movements with closed case-backs, they are not the prettiest to look at. Even Tudor’s attempt for display case-back was a bit lacking compared to the exception found here with the Ming 37.07; the dark aesthetics featuring anthracite skeletonized bridges with contrast rhodium circular brushing are something to be proudly shown off.
The Ming 37.07 features the SW210.M1 which is a 26 x 3.35mm movement providing 40-hours power reserve. It features 19 jewels, hacking seconds and beats at standard frequency of 28’800 vph (4Hz). It is used by other brands such as Junghans and anOrdain to name a couple.
One can always argue that the VERO 36 Series featured the same movement, and retailed for just 1’080 USD. But you cannot argue that the Manufacture Schwarz-Etienne modified Ming version SW210.M1 looks very different — in a good way — to the standard finishings and executions of a generic Sellita movement. Truth be told I am quite impressed by the execution of the movement, though wouldn’t mind seeing a COSC-certified version. This should also silence the critics who like to compare the movement of this with the Tudor’s MT6712.
Who Is The Ming 37.07 For
I like the duality of dress watch meeting everyday wear vibes. It’s not a sports watch, and given the surge in divers, that’s a definite plus. This also brings me to the price comparison with other ~5k AUD watches out there. I have read comments about how for the same money one can buy theTudor BB58. As a matter of fact, people have even compared the BB58 to MB&F M.A.D 1 due to the pricing and the fact that MB&F uses a Miyota movement. Well, if you are even thinking that, the Ming 37.07 (or the MB&F M.A.D 1) is not for you. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
From the rarified numbers to the unique design DNA to the finishings, both MB&F and Ming’s lower end offerings are not your everyday timepieces. Nothing wrong with the Tudor BB58; but it’s just like every other diver out there. Granted it is better in design execution and with great dimensions and specs and amazing value, but still like a generic diver out there.
So who is the Ming 37.07 for?
Not for the perineal whiners, that’s for sure. In my opinion, and I am not even going to add humble, it’s strictly for those who value good watchmaking. It’s for those appreciate a young brand’s efforts to go against the grain. It’s for those who understand that the brand has a sales model that works for them and for those who truly want these to add to their watch collections and not for flippers. It’s for those of us with slim wrists who like their watches to wear well and feature an air of understated elegance. And it’s definitely for those who love the subtle nuances and myriad design details that come together to make a Ming watch look as impressive in person as it does.
I haven’t been gifted this, or have been sponsored by the brand; but to call a spade a spade, the new Ming 37.07 truly is any horophile’s dream: different than the rest of the outside world but full of innate ‘Ming-ness’, packed with subtle design features, and far decorated beyond its price point would have you believe.
That’s All Folks!
There is a beautifully executed project with excellent use of modern filigree called Le Filigrane in France, designed by D’HOUNDT+BAJART architectes & associés. In the architects’ own words, their design is “defined by a mixture of regularity and fantasy: rigor in rhythm, fantasy in pattern”.
The new Ming 37.07 in the same vein brings to your wrists a design that can be defined as a combination of rhythm and patterns that interact with watchmaking fantasy, all fused together by the intrinsic Ming DNA.
When the wrist is in motion, it appears to speak out as if asking the wearer to follow the (lumed) light, allowing the Muqarnas-esque design to create a pattern so vivid that he/she finds himself/herself smack in the middle of the beauty of the Court of the Lions of Alhambra. It’s all in the lume, the myriad details and the mosaic dial.
Meet the Ming 37.07 – a delightful package that makes you wonder what next horological wizardry the brand has in store for its followers.
To find out more about the new Ming 37.07 or their other watches, please head directly to www.ming.watch. All images unless otherwise specified are Ⓒ Watch Ya Gonna Do About It.