Hello everyone! In this article, I’ll be shining a spotlight on my recent watch acquisition, the Ming 17.09.
This is essentially a series where I shine a spotlight on my personal purchases. I’ve previously done similar articles on my Kurono Tokyo Toki, IWC Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince, TAG Heuer Monaco CAW211B, Tissot PRX Powermatic 80, Bell & Ross BR 05, the Santos de Cartier, and most recently the Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue. In this article, I’ll showcase another blue watch – the Ming 17.09. Here’s why I bought it.
Ming is a brand that has been on my radar for years now. Founded in Malaysia, Ming started as a microbrand, with the inaugural 17.01 having a retail price of just US$900 back in 2017 – coincidentally around the same time that I founded Wah So Shiok and started reviewing microbrand watches. Since then, Ming has built a cult following for itself and is seen more as an independent label today.
The first Ming that caught my eye was the 17.06 Copper, which went on to win at GPHG. I loved the trademark Ming design – the mosaic dial was to die for – and its affordable price point. Since then, I’ve tried to procure 17.06 multiple times (including the later slate variant) but to no avail. So when I heard that Ming was not only doing an update, but also that said update will be the last in the entry-level 17 series, I knew I had to get one.
I actually covered the launch of the Ming 17.09 over at SJX. In the article, I wrote that “…the new 17.09 looks great, especially with the “floating” minute track previously only seen on Ming’s higher-end models”. I also stated that I found the blue dial variant to be more striking as it brings out the clous de Paris guilloché in the centre better than its burgundy counterpart, and I eventually opted for the blue 17.09 when orders opened. I cover quite a lot of watches on a regular basis, but few actually make me spend my hard-earned money on them – that’s testament to how special I thought the 17.09 was.
From the moment I laid eyes on the Ming 17.09, it was love at first sight. The dial is eminently striking, largely due to the triple threat of the guilloche centre, the floating minute track – which includes the brand’s trademark “0” marker at 12 o’clock – as well as the skeletonised hands, which is a feature typically seen only on the pricier 27 series. The shade of blue is very attractive too, and complements the blue stitching of the strap well.
With a case diameter of 38mm, the Ming 17.09 wears extremely well on my wrist. All my recent watch purchases (Kurono Tokyo Toki, IWC Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince, TAG Heuer Monaco CAW211B, Tissot PRX Powermatic 80, Bell & Ross BR 05, the Santos de Cartier, the Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue) are 37-40mm wide, so the 17.09 fits right in that sizing sweet spot. However, its signature flared lugs gives the watch added wrist presence that belies its relatively diminutive size.
Powering the Ming 17.09 is the cal. 330.M1, which is essentially a Sellita SW330-2 that has been modified by movement maker Schwarz-Etienne for the brand. Originally designed as a GMT movement, the 17.09 features an independently-adjustable hour hand that makes it travel friendly. It did suffer from some misalignment issues, but those seemed to have only affected the Massena Lab collaboration and not the standard 17.09s. There was no misalignment issues with my timepiece (see picture above), so there’s nothing to complain about from me here.
All in all, I’m really happy that I got in on the curtain call that was the 17.09. Despite Ming being a “hyped” brand at the time – the brand had won a GPHG after all – the 17.09 was still surprisingly affordable at just under S$3000 (inclusive of import fees). And despite costing relatively little, the watch offers a lot in terms of build quality and design. As a fan of microbrands, I’m proud to own a Ming. It started with an affordable offering, differentiated itself with a signature aesthetic, and grew leaps and bounds to develop more refined timepieces and win accolates along the way. It’s a case study on how a SEA-based microbrand can be wildly successful, and I hope more follow in its footsteps in the years to come.
Ming 17.09 – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the watch, do watch my Youtube review of the Ming 17.09 below:
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P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.