When Ming made its debut, it started with the 17-series, which embodies the raison d’etre of Ming in many ways, offering interesting, thoughtful design that represents good value.
After four eventful years – which included the 17.03 GMT and the 17.06 – Ming is closing the 17-series with one final model, the 17.09, a time-only wristwatch in blue or burgundy with an independently-adjustable hour hand.
I’ve always loved the 17-series, which always represented great bang-for-the-buck. Despite each model looking slightly different, the watches in the series all share the brand’s trademark aesthetic, despite being affordably priced. Between the two, my pick is the blue 17.09. It’s more striking, with the colour bringing out the guilloché better.
I think the new 17.09 looks great, especially with the “floating” minute track previously only seen on Ming’s higher-end models. The dual-layer dial is attractive, though the clous de Paris guilloché in the center is less unique than the spiral motif found on the dials of the 17.06.
All good things must come to an end, and Ming is closing its 17-series with a bang. At 1,950 Swiss francs, or about US$2,100, the 17.09 remains a value proposition and I’ll definitely be getting in line for one.
A fitting farewell
The 17.09 retains several aesthetic elements of the earlier 17-series models, namely the “0” marker at 12 o’clock, flared lugs, and a 38 mm case that’s polished on the front and brushed on the sides. Interestingly, the hands on the 17.09 are skeletonised, making them similar to those found on the higher-priced 27 series.
Though similar in form, slight improvements have been made to the case. According to Ming, the lugs have been redesigned for more seamless flanks, while the case itself benefits from “proportional revisions for greater wrist presence”.
Beneath the 17.09’s solid case back is the cal. 330.M1, which is actually a Sellita SW330-2. Originally a dual time zone movement with an additional GMT hand, the SW330-2 was modified by movement maker Schwarz-Etienne for Ming.
By removing the hour hand and replacing the gears of the GMT hand, the Ming movement now boasts an independently-adjustable hour hand, a handy feature while travelling as it allows for changing time zones without losing the time setting.
Due to their affordability, the 17-series has always been high in demand, but low in supply because of Ming’s small production. Earlier 17-series models sold out within minutes of launch, leaving many would-be buyers frustrated.
For the final model, Ming is improving access in several ways, namely by offering the watches in batches, first to existing clients, and finally to the public with a “time limited batch” where all orders received within a 10-minute window are guaranteed.
A 50% deposit is necessary for orders placed during the “time limited batch”, and buyers will have to wait almost a year for delivery (or longer, depending on how many orders Ming receives during the 10-minute period).
Key facts and price
Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 10 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 100 m
Movement: Cal. 330.M1
Functions: Hours and minutes, with independently-adjustable hour
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Strap: Leather with pin buckle
Accessories: Leather travel pouch
Availability: Direct from Ming starting April 15, with first deliveries in October 2021
Price: 1,950 Swiss francs
For more, visit Ming.watch.
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