Having already developed a dive watch last year – the small batch of prototypes were then sold – Ming refined the original design to create its first regular-production dive watch, the 18.01 H41. Rated to 1,000 m, or 3,280 ft, the 18.01 H41 retains the look of the prototype diver, and is in the typical Ming style, with clean lines and geometric shapes.
The diver is offered in two case styles: natural-finish or DLC-coated titanium. The former is available with either a rubber strap or metal bracelet, while the DLC-coated version is only available on a rubber strap. Notably, the titanium bracelet can be retrofitted to any Ming watch to date, and is available separately.
While the 18.01 is a typical dive watch in that it has a rotating bezel, its look diverges from the pool (no pun intended), thanks to Ming’s easily identifiable and consistent styling cues. It manages to preserve the brand’s aesthetics while doing what a dive watch should do, and then some.
At 40 mm wide, the 18.01 is the same size as the prototype and the largest Ming watch to date – the average is 38 mm -, no doubt partly in response to customer demand for a larger watch. That said, the brand managed to slim down the case to 12.9 mm, unusually svelte proportions for a watch with 1,000 m water resistance.
The 18.01 is priced at about US$3,000. Competition is strong in that segment of dive watches, especially since the 18.01 is more expensive than many ETA-powered dive watches, like the highly-regarded Sinn U1. In fact, it’s priced similarly to dive watches equipped with in-house movements, most notably from Tudor and Seiko.
Forgetting the price for a moment, there are a number of other factors in its favour. Ming is widely considered an independent watchmaker, with a small production that enjoys little economies of scale. And it also boasts strong, clean, and atypical designs, factors that in themselves make the 18.01 an interesting watch.
Like the case, the dial is done in classic Ming style. It’s a multiple-part affair, made up of a sapphire disc and a luminous ceramic material (basically a composite of ceramic and Super-Luminova).
Compared with the prototype that had a pared-back dial, telling the time on the 18.01 appears easier, owing to the use of stick markers for each hour. In darkness, legibility remains strong as the hands, dial, and bezel are all luminous.
While the case is titanium, the bezel is brushed steel and coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC), while its markings are filled with Super-Luminova. And the bezel has been made disproportionately large relative to the case, so as to improve its grip as the bezel’s edge is smooth, with no knurling whatsoever.
With the case in titanium, the 18.01 is not a conventional dive watch that is heavy on the wrist. Both case options are available with a rubber strap, making the watch even more lightweight. While the bracelet does add weight, it is entirely titanium and should be as light as a bracelet can possibly be.
And like Ming’s other watches in this price range, the 18.01 is powered by an no-nonsense ETA movement, specifically an ETA 2824 that’s modified to remove the date display and intermediate position of the crown (to set the date).
The universal bracelet
Though the bracelet is being launched with the 18.01, it is a “universal” bracelet that can be used for any Ming watch. It has a five-link construction and a folding clasp, but no diver’s extension to fit over a wetsuit.
And like Ming’s leather straps, the curved end links of the bracelet accommodate a quick-release spring bar.
Key Facts and Price
Ming 18.01 H41
Diameter: 40 mm
Thickness: 12.9 mm
Water resistance: 1000 m
Movement: ETA 2824
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours
Strap: Rubber strap or titanium bracelet
Availability: 150 watches on August 7 at 1:00 pm GMT; 130 watches on August 22 at 2:00 am GMT
CHF2,950 (two tone on rubber strap)
CHF3,250 (two tone on titanium bracelet, or all-black on strap)
For more, visit Ming.watch.
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