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Ming 17.03 GMT Watch

Ming 17.03 GMT Watch Watch Releases

After the success of their 17.01 and 19.01 models that debuted in 2017, Kuala Lumpur-based Ming watches has just released the next watch in the 17 series, the Ming 17.03 GMT. Founded as a sort of horological collective lead by designer and commercial photographer Ming Thein, the eponymous Ming watch brand garnered a fair bit of attention thanks to the distinguishing design traits found in their first two watches, which were both released at vastly different price points. With a desire to retain the essential characteristics of the 17.01, Ming aimed to create a comfortable and practical travel companion that could also stand as a worthy successor to the original. As a result, several improvements have been made to the case, handset, and dial markings. However, what really makes this watch stand out is the independently adjustable 24-hour dial ring, grade 2 titanium case construction, and a convenient quick release mechanism for the matching grade 2 titanium bracelet.

Ming 17.03 GMT Watch Watch Releases

Before even dissecting the specifics of the watch, we can already find that everything which made the original 17.01 a success is retained in the new Ming 17.03 GMT. The flared lugs, floating Arabic numerals, and the absence of a seconds hand have all been carried over to the new GMT model and it's nice to see that Ming was able to craft an aesthetic unique to the brand right out of the gate. That's no easy task, especially if you're brave enough to debut your brand with a product that isn't a vintage-inspired dive watch. But, while the watch certainly feels like another Ming product, it serves as a logical evolution for 17 series and offers potential buyers something a little more sporty and versatile thanks to some of the new features.

Ming 17.03 GMT Watch Watch Releases

The Ming 17.03 GMT case has been kept at a very conservative 38mm in diameter with a thickness of 9.8mm and a lug-to-lug measurement of 43.9mm. The entire grade 2 titanium case is brushed for a clean, sporty look that carries on into the matching bracelet. Available in black and burgundy, the multi-layer, three-part sapphire dial provides a bit of visual flare and depth thanks to the vibrant coloring and textures available throughout the different configurations.

Since it would be a shame hinder legibility here, Ming has also fitted the watch with a sapphire crystal treated with five layers of anti-reflective coating on both sides. Water resistance is ample at 100m and Ming has opted to redesign the hands and dial markings with a thicker application of C1 Super-LumiNova – a sight to behold in low light environments.

Ming 17.03 GMT Watch Watch Releases

Looking at the familiar Ming dial, we find a new layer housing a subtle, yet visible 24-hour ring that allows the wearer to track a second time zone. This is indicated by an independently adjustable rotating disc with a single luminous star that points to the second hour. While it could just be a matter of design balance, I can't help but wonder what the overall display would look like if the numerals on the 24-hour scale were also lumed – but I doubt this will be an issue for anyone choosing to pull the trigger on the Ming 17.03 GMT. These functions are all made possible by the top grade Sellita SW330-1 automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve and a 28,800 bph operational frequency. It's also worth noting that the movements are tested for a total of 250 hours in five positions.

Ming 17.03 GMT Watch Watch Releases

Ming 17.03 GMT Watch Watch Releases

Since a travel watch wouldn't mean much if it wasn't comfortable, Ming makes sure that wearers have plenty of options when it comes to straps and the titanium bracelet. The lugs themselves have been elongated and re-profiled in this case to accommodate the new quick release mechanism for the titanium bracelet. It features screw-in links and a concealed double deployant stainless steel clasp for a sleek look and fit. Also included with the Ming 17.03 GMT is a set of quick release nubuck straps in anthracite and dark chocolate finishes with curved quick release pins for a snug and integrated fit with the case. And if you want even more variety, Ming has also launched a new collection of strap packs with options ranging from red and green calf leather variants to more subdued and neutral grey and brown distressed finishes.

Ming 17.03 GMT Watch Watch Releases

Ming 17.03 GMT Watch Watch Releases

Overall, I think most watch enthusiasts that have been following the Ming watch brand since the beginning will find the Ming 17.03 GMT to be a very successful, and above all, tempting release. Personally, while I found the original designs alluring, it was difficult for me to visualize myself voting with my dollar, but I have a very different feeling about this new GMT. Maybe it's the fluid design, added practicality, easier price point, or the convenience of the new quick release titanium bracelet. Whatever it is, anyone perched on the fence and considering the 17.03 should probably get a move on, because if it's anything like Ming's previous watches, stock probably won't last very long. Price for the new Ming 17.03 GMT is 1,650 CHF and deliveries are set to begin late February 2018. ming.watch

About the Author

Michael is a Seattle-based writer who first became interested in watches during his grade school years. He has a penchant for design, aviation, music, and anything sci-fi or gear related. When he’s not writing about watches or contributing to a number of other projects, he enjoys catching up on his favorite books, tinkering with guitars, and exploring the trails of Washington—with a watch on his wrist, of course.
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  • SuperStrapper

    Grade 2 Ti was a strange choice. It’s just always looks so flat and lifeless.

    • Dakota Dennison

      What is the differences between T2 and T5? I assume there is a production cost difference or material difference, however I don’t know or understand what that might be. Other than weight, why would someone go with T2 or T5 versus stainless steel.

      • Tempvs Mortvvs

        T5 is much harder than T2. It is also cleaner looking. I understand it is harder to work with as well.

      • SuperStrapper

        The lowest common denominator for choosing Ti over steel is weight. There’s no other great reason to choose it.

        Grade 2 Ti is essentially just pure titanium. It naturally flat and cold in appearance and can’t really be polished. A depressing appearance as far as metal goes.

        Grade 5 Ti is an alloy with about 10% of the makeup going to aluminum and vanadium. This helps to give It brightness and is a far more attractive metal. It can be polished, although I wouldn’t recommend.

        Ti has a nice strength/weight balance but it scratches if you look at it too hard. There isnt even much of a personality tradeoff with it. I’m not a fan of it as a watch material.

  • That metal bracelet looks horrible, so dated. Brushed Ti? Stainless S looks much better. The original looks better imo.

  • DanW94

    As a newer brand I give Ming credit for crafting their own unique look and not copying an existing design language or taking a parts bin approach. I just don’t find the design very appealing.

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      +1 Yup

  • BNABOD

    You know what midnight is… ‘Ming time’ . Put Ming on the back.

    I think the original first model they made was alright the second one was way out there price wise although with an interesting movement and the third edition is just ugly. Props for trying but noway I am getting close to getting one

  • R Ramki

    Everything has been improved? They switched to grade 2 and made it brushed to cover up the fact. Polished grade 5 was one of the major attractive features of the 17.01. I hate marketing BS like this. Just come out and say to keep production costs low and add a bracelet we decided to switch to grade 2.

    Otherwise it’s a pretty good looking GMT, I like the implementation with the original design

  • Playboy Johnny

    Garbage.

  • IanE

    Ugly case and lugs; ugly handset; ugly, melodramatic mini-Moser dial; no seconds hand; cheap movement – well, Ok, at the price-point, perhaps, inevitable. Fail!

    • gw01

      Yeah, those lugs remind me of Oakley in the 90s. Bracelet-wise, I’m to see somebody’s trying something other than an Oyster bracelet look alike.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    It does nothing for me. Not so keen on the stenciled look of the numbers. I’ve tried hard but i can’t think of anything positive to say about it.

    • IG

      Try harder!

      • Raymond Wilkie

        It’s very legible.

        • IG

          Good job!

    • IanE

      Well, at least there is no date!

      • IG

        And this is good for a GMT watch supposed to be used for travelling?

        • IanE

          Well, certainly debatable, but I was struggling to find something nice to say!

    • Daniel Katz

      Thanks Raymond , from Panarei thread …cheers

      • Raymond Wilkie

        You’re very welcome.

  • Chaz

    Sorry but a successful “travel watch” just isn’t successful, IMO, unless it has an INDEPENDENTLY ADJUSTABLE main hour hand to quickly and intuitively set to local time once landed with that disc or arrow hand referencing home or GMT.

    Like Rolex GMT2/Explorer2, Omega GMTs, (sadly discontinued) IWC TZC, well…you get the idea…

    So this one FAILS. Nice try, though.

    • IG

      …and 24hr rotating bezel, so you can keep the GMT hand always on GMT time.

      • Chaz

        Most people don’t need GMT. They keep both times at home the same and when they travel to a new destination, they want a record of local time and home time. At least in my experience and conversing with others…

        • IG

          a.) Most people are plonkers.
          b.) If you keep the GMT hand on GMT and the rotating bezel on home time, you just turn the bezel at standard time – daylight saving time switches, no movement reset.

          • Chaz

            What rotating bezel? This watch has none.

            This watch has a rotating second time zone but no independent hour hand. Back to my original statement.

  • PollyO

    Avert your eyes children.

    • IG

      …and pregnant women.

    • PollyO

      Ok, ok, I’m going to try and say something positive. The dial is actually interesting in a way. Ugly. But atleast it has an originality to it. I appreciate that.

      But why then case the dial in such a horribly bland and generic case/bracelet option? So overall it just looks shit.

      I tried.

  • Marius

    What I find very interesting about this brand is the amount of positive coverage that it gets from most major watch blogs.

    Considering that Ming is a no-name brand that doesn’t really offer anything of interest, I’m quite surprised to see it featured on most major watch blogs. For instance, if you take a look at sites such as ABTW, Hodinkee, Monochrome, etc., you will notice that all of them feature this watch. What I find even more surprising is the positive and laudative reviews that this brand receives despite the fact that the reviewers haven’t actually handled these watches in person, and all of these articles are solely based on marketing pictures provided by Ming. Apart from the usual “Ming-is-a-world-renowned-photographer” argument, Hodinkee`s Jack Forster argues that this is a “high-value” watch, and that “…you are still getting quite a lot of quality; much more so than is generally found at this price.” I find this statement rather strange considering that a watch costing almost $2,000, produced by a no-name brand, and featuring a cheap Sellita caliber can’t be really described as “high-value”, especially when looking at brands such as Oris, Longines, or Hamilton which also operate at this price point.

    As for the watches themselves, I have to say that I find their designs decent, and somewhat attractive. Granted, Ming managed to create a design language that is immediately identifiable to his brand. However, the problem is that his watches are a bit cheap looking. Sure, the first watch costing around $900 was quite decent, and the price was also very acceptable. Nevertheless, the following timepiece was priced at over $7,000, whereas this one costs around $2,000. Besides the fact that such price disparity creates a very dissonant brand image (is Ming positioning itself as an entry-level brand, or as a higher-end one), I also find that Ming`s prices are quite unrealistic. Ming watches might have a slightly different and idiosyncratic design, but at the end of the day, it’s still an unknown brand with a very limited track record and no history, producing Sellita-equipped watches at Oris/Longines prices.

    • Gunnar Guggs

      Well stated, on all points.
      For me, this has a “fun watch” look at a very serious watch price. Meh.

    • Michael Peñate

      All great points. I was really caught off guard by the price disparity between the first too models and even at 1,650 CHF, this watch has a lot to compete with – you’re totally right. If I sound overly-enthusiastic in this piece, it’s simply because I enjoy coming across brands that have the balls to enter the market with something that isn’t a vintage-y diver or a racing-style ‘meca quartz’ chronograph. Also, I don’t really care about history, heritage, provenance, and all those other concepts that have been so shoehorned and diluted in today’s watch marketing. It’s noise to me at this point and that might be why I didn’t really consider it as a factor when introducing this watch to our audience. All things considered, it just looks like a fun watch and I’m a fun-loving kinda guy.

      • DanW94

        We obviously have very different definitions of the words “fun watch” A fun watch to me is one with an unusual complication or method of telling time, like the Moinet Oil Derrick watch or the UN Hourstriker Erotica or even the Tag Mikrograph 1/100th second which lets you test how fast your reaction time is. This Ming is well, boring by comparison.

        • Michael Peñate

          Different tastes? Different opinions? Discussion? Isn’t this hobby fun?

          • DanW94

            Yes, yes, yes and yes! 🙂

        • Lash LaRue de Bayou

          It’s like what Butch said to Esmeralda

          • Chaz

            Or Ferdinand to Imelda

          • Lash LaRue de Bayou

            As he picked up her shoe
            He thought
            ‘They will bury you’

        • egznyc

          I can see how anything with erotica in the name ought to be at least a little fun ;-).

        • Daniel Harper

          Sweet jesus, I’ll never be able to afford a single fun watch by your standards. This absurd

      • egznyc

        I for one do appreciate your enthusiasm and share your mellow attitude toward “provenance, heritage, etc.”. Sometimes that stuff can influence me but lack of it isn’t a problem if they deliver the goods!

        This piece looks really cool – I’ve been looking at quite a few GMTs lately and this one – with 100m WR (so it can get wet) would be fantastic (especially the unusual burgundy color), except the price is about double or triple my personal comfort zone.

      • Gin Tub

        I Totally agree with you and your great response I just ordered one ……F**k the heritage brand crap… they sell out in minutes so they must be doing something right I’m sick to death of all the vintage retro shit give me something that does not look like something else and maybe younger watch lovers might stop buying Hublots that said I like Hublots ….Go on hate me ….Like I give a F**k
        Steve (having a bad day)

    • Tempvs Mortvvs

      I was wondering the exact same thing. Why so much coverage on this watch? Maybe they have an ample marketing budget?

    • Chaz

      ditto

    • IG

      So you read the H-site… Busted!

    • gw01

      Design-wise the guy has the audacity to cook up something original (not vintagey, inspired in, etc). It speaks a design language of it’s own… I mean, that is one stealthy GMT. Price seems arguably competitive, specially when compared to offerings by recent micro brands (i.e Monta’s current offerings, not to mention their initial ask).
      Not my cup of tea, but I can see why it could be interesting to some.

  • Mikita

    Having seen all three of their watches already, I must admit that Ming have something that other 99.9% of small brands don’t: their own design language. Anyway, this watch is overpried by >25% at least.

  • Ian john horwood

    Minging

  • Daniel Harper

    I’m super impressed by Ming and I’m quite fond of this watch, as well as the 17.01, although the 19.01 is out of my price range, especially for an unknown brand, but hey maybe they’ll get bigger and the originals will be worth something someday